Signal Vine Blog: Text Me Back

KIPP Through College New Jersey & Texting Students

Posted by Paige Altieri on May 18, 2016

This week we talked to Jessica Gersh, Director of College Persistence at KIPP Through College New Jersey.

Over the past six months, KTC NJ has been using Signal Vine to provide their alumni with tools and resources to ensure a successful postsecondary experience. Jessica shared with us successes of their program with Signal Vine - read about her experiences below!


Signal Vine: How have you been using text messaging with your KIPP students?

KIPP Through College New Jersey: 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.

SV: What has been the greatest challenge with student communication? 

KTC NJ: 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.

SV: What has been students' reaction to text messaging with your staff?
KTP NJ: The students really like getting reminders during key times, and the students we've gotten direct feedback from, all really liked it. 
SV: How has texting impacted the student/staff relationship?
KTC NJ: Texting has increased the communication between students and staff and has thus stregthened the relationships.
SV: What are your goals for using text messaging moving forward? 
KTC NJ: 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.
SV: Can you share any memorable interactions with students on the platform?

KTC NJ: 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!

SV: What advice do you have for other charter schools or access programs looking to use text messaging with students?

KTC NJ: 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.

Thanks, Jessica!  

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Topics: Alumni, Q&A, Texting