Tips for Outreach Phone Calls and Letters

Phone Calls

Testing found that three phone attempts to reach the family were the optimum number. This link provides a script for the phone call, including both what to say when someone answers and what message to leave on an answering machine. Please note that you must confirm you are speaking to a legal parent/guardian as the student's health insurance status is confidential information.

Be creative about finding the "right" number that reaches the parent. What is in the school data base is frequently not the most current phone number. If the number is not connected, here are some tips to find an alternative or a more current phone number for the parent/guardian.

  • Call the school office and find out who they would call if the student needed to go home ill.
  • Make sure that your phone number is visible to the person you are calling, many people will not pick up calls from "private" or "unidentified" numbers, which frequently happens when you are calling from within large agencies.
  • If you have the capacity to text the number, do so. This works especially well when you are calling non-English speaking parents, who can seek someone to help with the translation of the text message, and arrange for a translator before returning the call.


Field testing has shown that many families may not respond to the phone calls, but will call back if approached by mail. After two to three unsuccessful attempts to reach the family by phone, a letter to the home has yielded results that warrant the extra effort. An example of an appropriate letter in English and Spanish is located at this link. Please modify them to suit your school's needs.