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San Leandro Unified takes a stand against truancy with messageyou™ solution

June 28, 2007 
San Leandro Unified School District is the first district in California to adopt messageyou™Schools, an automated solution that combines text messaging, email and voice mail letting parents know in the shortest time possible that their child is absent from class.
The solution, provided by School Attendance Management pioneer Messageyou, LLC, of Sunnyvale, will be used by San Leandro’s two middle schools (grades 6-8) and one high school (grades 9-12).
Superintendent Christine Lim said that good communication with parents was a strategic goal for the schools.  “We know that the faster a parent or guardian learns of a student’s unexcused absence, the more likely that they can take immediate action and stop it from happening again. 
“Truancy has an impact on our students’ academic success and on their long-term career goals,” Superintendent Lim said.
San Leandro has previously used an autodialer system to inform parents of a student’s unexplained absence.  For a variety of reasons, parents may never hear the message. The new system is much more direct and private – a predefined message goes straight to a parent’s cell phone if a student is absent in any given period. Most people now carry cell phones and they can respond directly to the message by text when it is convenient for them, rather than being interrupted with a phone call from school.
“Student safety is also a big concern for us,” said David Lorden, Director of Student Support Services. “Now parents will know immediately if their child has not arrived safely at school.”
The messageyou™ notification, provided in both English and Spanish, is one strategy the District is using to develop better communication with the whole school community.  Families will receive a guide so they know what to expect and how to respond if they receive a text message, email or voicenote. 
Superintendent Lim said that the District’s focus is on narrowing the achievement gap. “We know that attendance is a critical factor if we want our students to be academically successful.”
Parents without cell phones will continue to be informed via autodialer and letter.


Back to school - safely

As our children wend their way back to school, their safety has become a major concern, even greater than our desire to ensure they are well educated and well adjusted.

Last term we were all dismayed to see another college massacre, but many other less newsworthy incidents were equally horrifying for the parents, friends and teachers of those involved.

Child abductions, internet nasties, bullying, and even severe storms threaten the safety of children in communities all over the country.

There is no surefire way to guarantee our kids’ safety all the time, but technology companies are coming up with solutions to allay parents’ fears.

One of these is software that helps parents monitor and control the use of internet chat lines. Another is an add-on that transforms a cell phone into a homing device so we always know where our kids are – or at least where their phones are.  Another technology that is beginning to win the support of our educators and our parents is text messaging as a way to ensure our children are safely where they should be – in their classrooms.

Schools in California, Arizona and texts are now using the messageyou™Schools solution to keep parents informed of unexcused absences. 

The solution, designed by California school communications specialist Messageyou, combines text messaging, email and voice mail for optimal results.

"Over the past two years, we have seen a fundamental change in schools' attitudes towards the importance of text-messaging, particularly in crisis events and for attendance communication," says Messageyou executive chairman Mark Fortunatow.

“Schools want to know what the best way is to inform hundreds of parents simultaneously, in the language of their choice.

“Schools and colleges need to practice text messaging communication just as they would practice a fire drill, it needs to part of the culture of the school.”

Like to find out more?  Call Mark Kiene at Messageyou for an appointment at your school on (408) 524 1469 or email mkiene@messageyou.com

About Messageyou Student Attendance Management solutions

messageyou™ delivers dramatic reductions in unexplained absence; improves student attendance, safety and welfare; improves communication with parents and the school community; and delivers significant savings and efficiencies.

The solution provides end-to-end automation of roll marking, student database reconciliation, parental absence notification, alerts for school administrators, and reporting and analysis tools.
messageyou™Schools integrates seamlessly with student management databases and automatically sends SMS text messages to the parents of students who are late or absent without explanation. It also receives incoming texts from parents.

messageyou™ERM offers automated bar code scanning of rolls and seamless integration with student management databases.

messageyou™WatchLists monitors incoming and outgoing texts to provide timely alerts if a student appears to be at risk.