Joint partnership between the Pohnpei DOE and Raise Your Text aims to help students through increased teacher attendance

Raise Your Text LogoJuly 13, 2018

Pohnpei, FSM - According to Pohnpei Government reports, between 5 - 7% of Pohnpeian public school teachers don’t show up to work on any given school day--but if you’re a Pohnpeian student who has had to frequently wait hours for a teacher who will never come, this percentage probably seems a bit low. In Pohnpei, it is not uncommon for one absent teacher’s students to be crammed into another classroom, creating havoc and an unmanageable classroom with 60+ students for the teacher who is at work. It is a no-brainer; no teacher means no teaching, and no teaching means worse educational opportunities and an environment where student success isn’t prioritized. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, one company coming to Pohnpei, in partnership with Pohnpei DOE, plans to completely change this problem with text messages.

Raise Your Text (RYT) is a newly founded company, funded by the D-Prize organization that believes one text can get students better access to education. The company aims to get Pohnpeian students better access to education by incentivizing teachers to show up to work more through their service. From this July to November, RYT will be working jointly with the Pohnpei Department of Education (PDOE) to pilot test a public accountability model where students, parents, teachers, and community members can send text messages to: 1) report when teachers do not show up to work and: 2) communicate classroom information like upcoming school events and homework help. For students and parents, this means increased educational access through present teachers. For the PDOE, it means better data to incentivize teachers, enforce the terms of the teachers’ contracts, and create a more effective workforce. For teachers, it provides a way to connect more directly with students’ parents and hold their fellow school teachers accountable to show up to work.

“We don’t want to hurt teachers,” said Nick Canfield, Co-founder and Team Lead of RYT. “We want to create an environment where everyone is accountable for only one thing: the educational success of all Pohnpeian students.”

The team at RYT understands this problem well and is passionate about student success around the world. Along with Nick Canfield, the team is comprised of co-founders Richard Clark, Joyceleen Panuel, and Prathima Appaji.

"We all know attendance is a major issue, and we've been trying to improve on attendance," said Director of Education Churchill Edward. "So anything that will help us have a better handle on attendance, especially improvement of attendance with our students and teachers is a must--we must do it."

Only a sampling of public elementary and secondary schools and classrooms will be chosen to participate in the pilot test. Students, parents, teachers, and community members associated with these classrooms will be able to sign-up with the service with their cell phones in early August. For more information on RYT and how to sign-up, please send an email to info@raiseyourtext. com or visit www.raiseyourtext.com.