Looking for feedback on parent communication tool

My wife is a 7th grade science teacher, and I'm a product designer/engineer. She was having a lot of trouble reaching parents in her classroom, and apps like Remind, Bloomz, etc., weren't working.

She found that texting parents directly with her own phone was the best (and sometimes only) way to really get them to engage, but it was a big pain. We built a tool we call Pigeon that she has been using to great success, and we're looking for more feedback about it.

Essentially, Pigeon assigns the Teacher a separate phone number that behaves normally for parents but gives Teachers a nice web app for managing all that communication at once. The parents don't even know Pigeon is involved—Teachers just give out that number as their own "cell" and start texting.

When we have time to explain the approach and how it's different from other tools, the Teachers we have gotten set up to pilot Pigeon have loved it. But we're having trouble telling the story concisely.

I'd love to get feedback (positive or negative) about this approach to understand how we can tell the story better and whether or not we're on to something.

A longer post describing the problem and our approach: https://medium.com/pigeon-compass/closing-the-communication-gap-with-real-texting-dd8b7727ea80

The website: https://pigeonforteachers.com

I realize this can come across as self-promotion, but I am really here for feedback and discussion, not to try to juice sign-ups!

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1 comment

  1. DwayneAlton


    Hi Alex. From the website the app and use case seem well thought out. I wholeheartedly agree that SMS is the lowest common denominator for communication. Some questions.

    1. Do you provide a downloadable (and easily viewable/searchable) copy of message history for states that require it for compliance purposes? Or for investigative purposes?

    2. It looks like teachers can buy the service individually. How can the teacher’s employer (school/district) get the message history?

    3. How does it handle MMS messages that contain attachments?

    4. Are there discounts for a school / district that buys it for whole schools?

    5. If there is a school/district plan, do you support the IMS Global One Roster standard to automate rostering? Do you support any single sign-on standards (ADFS/SAML/OAuth/LTI) or common Edu SSO gateways like ClassLink?

    6. How do you deal with Parent opt-in for texting to satisfy FCC requirements for non-emergency mass communication?

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