Over the past six months, KIPP Through College New Jersey has used Signal Vine to provide their alumni with tools and resources for a successful postsecondary education. Jessica Gersh, the Director of College Persistence, shared the program’s successes with us this week. Read her Q&A to learn more about KIPP’s texting program.
How do you use text messaging with your KIPP students?
We have been using Signal Vine for mass communication. We use it most to communicate deadlines, send reminders, and collect data on FAFSA completion. We have also used the platform to re-engage alumni who had fallen out of touch.
What’s been your greatest communication challenge?
The greatest challenge with communication prior to using Signal Vine was that email was the most efficient way for us to communicate with a large group of students, but our students text much more than they email. If we were soliciting information (i.e. FAFSA completion), we didn’t have an efficient way to collect and input the information. Another large challenge was students falling out of touch.
How have students reacted to text messages from staff?
The students really like getting reminders during key times, and the students we’ve gotten direct feedback from, all really liked it.
How has texting impacted the student-staff relationship?
Texting has increased the communication between students and staff and has thus strengthened the relationships.
What are your goals for using text messaging moving forward?
We hope to collect even more information as we do FAFSA completion. We also hope that (now that we have the hang of it) we will do a little better job in terms of properly coding triggered responses.
Can you share any memorable interactions with students on the platform?
Some of the most exciting moments for us have been when we get a text back from a student we have been trying to reach for year(s) and who doesn’t respond to emails, texts or calls but then respond to a text message. We have re-engaged a few alumni this way and they are so excited each time!
What advice do you have for other charter schools or access programs looking to use text messaging with students?
Start texting (using Signal Vine) sooner rather than later! It will absolutely be worth the investment both financially and in terms of the time it takes to set up. Use as much data as you can on students so that your texts can be super targeted, which makes them even more impactful.