Texts4Teens: A Middle School Parent Engagement Text Messaging Study
with Kalena Cortes, Macarena Santana, & Susanna Loeb
In this study, we are fielding a text messaging experiment in a South Texas school district in which parents in the treatment group receive three text messages per week on how to engage their child’s academic and socioemotional trajectory as they transition from middle school to high school. The study site is a majority Latino school district in which most students are socioeconomically disadvantaged and English learners. We conducted a pilot study in spring 2019, and received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to implement a randomized controlled trial during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. In fall 2020, we will add two additional school districts to the study. After the pilot, we surveyed parents and learned they found the text messaging curriculum useful. Beyond that utility, we hope our low-touch intervention can help close gaps in academic achievement and college preparation by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and EL status.