Baltimore City Public Schools values hearing from, and partnering with families. The role of families as partners and contributors to the learning environment was highlighted more than ever during the 2020-2021 school year.
Tina Hike-Hubbard, City Schools’ Chief of Communications, Engagement and Enrollment, says Possip’s multilingual survey texting platform for schools has revolutionized engagement with families.
We talked to Tina, also a mom of two City Schools students, about what it’s like to parent right now, and how she thinks about communication with families. Baltimore City Public Schools and Possip partnered together to get quick feedback from families on important decisions and projections for enrollment and other programs, increasing family engagement through SMS texting.
Tina shares more in our conversation about the impact of reaching people equitably and quickly, and the future of communicating with families.
How much engagement did you get from families before Possip?
We partnered with Possip to send our first set of Pulse Checks. We had over 18,000 responses in a week, and now that we’ve sent several surveys we’ve heard from 30,000 people. It has revolutionized the way I think about how we engage with our families. That has been the biggest response we’ve ever had.
The real-time immediate feedback and easy to use platform benefits our district and, most importantly, our families. While surveys are good tools, the use of SMS surveys removes barriers for families that have traditionally been underrepresented. We wanted to also make sure that families had multiple ways to share feedback. So Possip was a game changer.
You mentioned that with Possip’s texting platform for schools you get results faster than ever before. How has this been impactful?
Possip gave us a new tool to get info to and from families. We knew using a texting platform for schools in multiple languages was a way to reach out to families. We want to continue to get their feedback about summer school metrics, safety, etc. These are really key questions we need to make decisions for… as a district, Possip’s Pulse Checks allowed us to make real decisions in real time.
We are taking parent input into consideration. Not only are we getting information from them really quickly, Possip data helped us frame strategy, decision making, and more. It also allowed us to share back with the public what we heard from them, which is important to stakeholders.
As you move into next year, how will Possip help?
A City Schools parent said, ‘You guys have done so well communicating with us. Asking our opinion, and keeping us informed this entire pandemic… you can’t stop doing that!’ To me, her comment was a compliment– she felt more informed than ever before and her opinion had been taken into consideration. As parents and stakeholders, we’ve gotten used to a new way of engagement, communication, transparency, and investment in us. Building on this sentiment is a part of the new comms plan for the year.
Because of the pandemic and virtual learning, parents have gotten their first birds eye view into what districts across the country are teaching. Parents might experience a sense of loss as schools reopen, and we’ve got to be responsive to that. We want to keep parents informed on progress monitoring as well as district initiatives, opportunities, and resources. We must examine lessons learned during the pandemic, and what has changed. I think the way we communicate with families has been monumentally changed forever.