Teacher Communication with Parents: Protected
We’re all stuck at home, and many schools are bravely forging ahead with distance learning. Teacher communication with parents and students is vital for educational success in our new paradigm.
Not everyone is ready with a contingency plan for how teachers will continue educating thousands of students from home.
How does a school or district convince teachers to reach out to parents and students from home? No teacher wants to give out their personal cell phone number to parents, let alone students!
There’s an easy and affordable solution: give every teacher a second phone number — no app required.
A few weeks ago a school came to us with a challenge: how do we get our teachers to contact parents and students about our distance learning plan while not forcing the teachers to give out their personal phone number?
Within 2 days, the school signed with Tossable Digits and we had 57 local Virtual Phone Numbers active and configured, ready for use. Teachers have made and received hundreds of calls and SMS messages so far with parents! All while the teacher’s real phone number remains private.
The school is seeing great results and receiving positive feedback! Read on to learn why the school chose Tossable Digits.
The Best Way for Teachers to Communicate with Parents
Teacher communication is key! Some people have Android phones, others have iPhones, and sometimes people have feature phones that aren’t so smart. The universal truth: everyone has a phone.
Teachers already know the value of communication with parents. It comes as no surprise then that Harvard education researchers Matthew Kraft and Shaun Dougherty discovered numerous benefits of teachers calling students at home:
“Frequent teacher-family communication immediately increased student engagement…. On average, teacher-family communication increased the odds that students completed their homework by 40 percent, decreased instances in which teachers had to redirect students’ attention to the task at hand by 25 percent, and increased class participation rates by 15 percent.”The Effect of Teacher-Family Communication on Student Engagement. Harvard, October 2012
Apps can be great, but they also limit who and how communication occurs. Technical support can be a nightmare. Everyone already knows how to make phone calls and send text messages. Phone calls and SMS messaging remains a common standard across all phones. This is where Virtual Phone Numbers shine on parent communication.
What is a Virtual Phone Number?
A Virtual Phone Number lives in the Cloud. The number is free of any connection to a physical phone or SIM card. When someone calls a Virtual Phone Number, virtual call switches determine how to handle the call and what features apply, based on teacher or school configuration:
- Before 9 am and after 5 pm, send the call to Voicemail
- Forward all calls from the principal or the school to the teacher’s real phone number
- Accept or decline calls in real-time, optionally recording the call
Teachers can receive calls on another phone when someone calls the Virtual Phone Number.
And when someone texts a Virtual Phone Number, the SMS messages forward to teacher’s mobile phones and email. Teachers simply reply to the SMS messages from the teacher’s phone or on our website. Our service masks the teacher’s real phone number.
Teachers can also make calls using their Virtual Phone Number as CallerID, from any phone, keeping real phone numbers private without needing a 2nd phone or another cell service plan. Parents and Students interact solely with the Virtual Phone Number, and never know that the teacher is using a Virtual Phone Number.
Why are Virtual Phone Numbers vital for schools?
The top 3 reasons why schools need Virtual Phone Numbers:
- Control of Communications
- Teacher Privacy
- School Oversight
Control of Communications
With a Virtual Phone Number, teachers can block problematic numbers, send specific numbers to Voicemail, or override settings to allow important callers directly through to their phone. For example, if a specific phone number becomes problematic, it can be quickly and easily replaced. Virtual Phone Numbers are re-assignable. If a teacher is on temporary or long-term leave, calls and messages route to the substitute teacher, keeping teacher communication up without a hitch.
Teachers are reasonably hesitant to give out their personal phone number to parents and students, but the high value of parent-teacher communication and teacher’s desire for learning success can override their desire for personal privacy.
Putting a Virtual Phone Number between the teacher’s phone and parents protects the teacher’s privacy. The controls empower teachers to manage communications while maximizing voice and SMS contact.
Communication policies are vital. Consistent enforcement is a challenge. A school or district can manage multiple Virtual Phone Numbers, assigning one to each teacher. At the same time, the school or district can access and review all Voicemails, SMS text messages, and optional Call Recordings. The monitoring of communications becomes easy and centralized.
Schools can choose to protect everyone in the communication chain with call recording on every call. Review Call Recordings immediately after the call or keep on file for as long as required.
This can help to enforce and improve consistent and positive communication across the entire teaching staff, provide reports on the amount of teacher communication occurring, and protect both schools and teachers from issues where communication goes south.
Why Tossable Digits?
Tossable Digits has been in business for 15 years. We have a great track record of reliability, amazing customer service, and affordable pricing.
There are over 5 million phone numbers available for immediate activation and Tossable Digits can activate a small school of 10 teachers or a large district of 10,000 teachers in one day.
Tossable Digits provides webinar-based training and documentation, making Day One successful. Our Customer Service team is available for Live Chat on our website from 9 am to 1 am US Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, as well as email support.
Tossable Digits is PCI-compliant, regularly performs security audits, uses end-to-end encryption for both customer website access and internally in our backend systems. As a result, we have never had unauthorized access to our systems or data in our 15 years of service.
Have a phone! There’s no app to install, just simple training on how to use the service. If teachers have a phone, they can benefit from a Virtual Phone Number.
We use the same phone lines and SMS messaging as mobile carriers do. Our systems are geo-redundant to maximize service reliability.
While not required, Tossable Digits has a mobile app in beta testing. Ask us for early access to take it for a test run. Call history, voicemail, call recordings and SMS messaging are accessible from within the app.
What does it cost?
A single Virtual Phone Number starts at $3.49/month, and our plans expand to thousands of numbers and forwarding minutes. Cost varies with minute usage. A good estimate is between $2 and $10 per month per teacher.
Annual and month-to-month plans are available, and there’s no issue ramping up or down. For example, slowed usage in the summer and winter breaks will lower costs.
You can pay for what you use or buy a package that covers you at a fixed rate each month or year.
Special Offer for Individual Teachers
If your school or district is hesitant to use our service, try it out yourself! Contact our Support Staff to verify that you are a teacher and get 1 Virtual Number and 30 Forwarding Minutes, plus all of our free included features, for $3 per month or $30 per year!
Where do I sign up?
If you are a teacher looking to sign up simply, CLICK HERE
If you are looking to get a plan for your entire School or School District, please CHAT or CONTACT US HERE and we will get right back to you to build you a custom plan.