An exploration of Using Text Messages to support parental involvement in a diverse middle school
While many educators are aware that parental involvement is an important indicator of student success, schools often struggle with the challenge of how to best engage families in meaningful ways. Research focusing on middle school indicates that parental involvement reflecting academic socialization, which can be summarized as a parent speaking with their child about the importance of education, has the strongest positive association with student achievement. This action research project explored how middle school teachers might use two-way, multilingual text messages to support this type of parental involvement across a diverse population. Thirty-three 7th grade parents at a charter middle school in Southern California elected to receive two to three text messages per week from their child’s teachers. The messages aimed to inform the parent about their child’s school experience, give them “talking points” to start a conversation with their child, and provide an opportunity for parents to give feedback to the teachers about those conversations. Data collected from text message responses, parent and student surveys, and teacher focus groups indicated that text messages helped parents stay informed about school and facilitated parent-child conversations. In addition, parents and teachers appreciated the two-way, multilingual communication feature tested in this study. These findings led to recommendations teachers can use to incorporate text messaging into a parental involvement initiative that reflects academic socialization.
Blog Post (PRODUCT)
How can educators utilize two-way text messaging to involve parents in a way that respects and supports diverse families and is developmentally appropriate during early adolescence?
Links to written report sections