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A DOE staffer offers a guide to getting past the text-ban

A Department of Education staffer is making the case for principals to get their texting privileges back by proving that texts can help them communicate with teachers and parents.

Over the summer, the DOE discontinued texting service for the thousands of principals, assistant principals, and members of the central administration who have department-issued cell phones. The idea, DOE officials said at the time, was to prevent people from sending personal texts during school hours. But there was a caveat: teachers who could demonstrate that they needed to send text messages for professional reasons could apply to the DOE and, if approved, pay the $240 yearly cost out of their school’s budget.

Lisa Nielsen, who works in the DOE’s instructional technology office, has a post on her blog The Innovative Educator, listing some reasons school administrators and principals have benefited from being able to text.

Because most teachers and many administrators do not have access to a school phone and talking on the phone is not conducive to the work they do, texting has become the most efficient means of communicating, Nielsen writes.

She adds that texts are also a great way to reach parents quickly, and can be used to search the Internet for information one would otherwise need an internet connection to find.

A spokeswoman for the DOE, Ann Forte, said that since texting was discontinued, 13 principals have asked to have it  restored. “Of the 13, only six have provided us with the necessary budget information so that we could restore the service,” she wrote in email.