Celly is a free service that offers group text messaging and polling. You can have open group chats, one-way alerts or even moderated chats. It is set up as a "cell" with a unique name so that you can invite the people you want to join. It is free to use (standard text messaging rates apply though) and anyone with a mobile phone or access to the web can use it. There is a full web console to control and monitor things and you can either create a Celly login or login with Facebook or Twitter.
It is secure and private, there are no limits to the number of people on a cell, and you can use it for polls.
There are also many more features such as media links, notes and more.
Celly would be a great way for schools and teachers to communicate with each other, parents and students.