Attendance Text Messaging Pilot Project

Joe Welsh in with United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania wanted to share this summary of a pilot project that one of our partners has been engaged in.

The Office of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh has been a long time partner in the Pittsburgh GLR Campaign's work with kindergarten readiness and attendance. Connect-Text is a little different than other school texting initiatives and involved extensive design research and multiple focus groups with the recipients to help craft the messaging. They also had some pretty amazing results – 17% reduction in average absentee rates and 25% reduction in chronic absenteeism. It looks like a relatively low cost, high impact piece of the puzzle.

They are looking to grow the program and there is some interest from national funders to replicate it in a number of cities across the US to test the design in different environments. Joe thinks there might be possibilities for CGLR communities to partner as part of the expansion or at least to learn from the project.

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  • Are they looking for school districts in other cities to test the design now? Broward County, FL would be very interested. You can contact the Broward CGLR lead Sharon Cohen at with any information and she will follow up. Thank you!
    • Hi Sharon! Thanks for commenting. Check out this summary of the pilot project and contact the folks listed there to connect further:*87KZKmj1UxPByD9-vF2XbImbNLDbmvxaO/AttendanceTexting_OverviewUpdated725.pdf
      • Thanks so much, Susanne. We're doing that, too. Just thought I'd cover all the bases :)
        • Gotcha! Please let us know how it turns out. Sounds like a strategy with relatively low cost/effort and significant payoff.
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