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Spotlight: Meriden Public Schools

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“Family engagement remains our top priority. Even though we had a huge jump in attendance, we still need to focus on engaging and supporting our families. We improved a school that has many challenges, and to keep building on that momentum we need to continue focusing on strong teacher parent engagement and a climate and culture that puts students and parents first.”

—Dave Cardona, Family-School Liaison, Meriden Public Schools

Meriden Public Schools

When it came to attendance, Roger Sherman Elementary—a school in Connecticut’s Meriden district—was among the lowest performing schools in the district. Free and reduced lunch rates hover at 90 percent, and the school has a higher than-average special education population.

Despite these factors, along with severe weather conditions and a changing student demographic, between the 2016–2017 and 2017–2018 academic years the school decreased chronic absenteeism rates by over 10 percent, emerging as a district leader in student and family reengagement.

How did they do it?

Read how the Kinvolved team helped set and achieve positive family engagement goals

Spotlight: Sioux Falls School District

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“It’s important to make parents feel special, and KiNVO makes it easy to do that. As a result, parents who were once disengaged now feel like our school is home. These relationships support us when we need to have difficult conversations—we are a true partner to our families in these circumstances, not a consequence.”

—Jayne Zeilinsk, Principal, Sioux Falls School District

In Fall 2017, Kinvolved launched a four-school partnership with Sioux Falls School District, a South Dakota school system serving twenty-five thousand students.

The pilot unrolled in four stages:

  1. Engage with Kinvolved’s professional services team through strategy and information sessions to identify attendance needs and pain points; set up KiNVO to address the district’s primary objectives.
  2. Conduct a needs assessment to understand the barriers to student attendance.
  3. Launch KiNVO’s two-way, translated messaging tool to engage families.
  4. Roll out KiNVO’s attendance focused features; send attendance digests to families; conduct strategic interventions with target students.

As a result of careful planning and a staged rollout, every pilot school increased attendance rates and experienced positive shifts in their relationships with families.

Read more about the impact and results in Sioux Falls School District

Kinvolved Talks Social Impact at Twilio Engage

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We at Kinvolved were honored that co-founder and CEO Miriam Altman was invited to speak at the recent Twilio Engage conference in New York. Twilio.org is committed to the social impact of communications software, so we feel like they’re a kindred spirit. After all, our KiNVO software is all about using powerful, user-friendly technology to increase student achievement by eradicating chronic absenteeism.

Miriam presented before a group of four hundred attendees as part of Twilio Engage’s fireside chat program, sharing with attendees Kinvolved’s three-fold approach that blends attendance and engagement software with extensive coaching and community-wide learning events. Even better, following our presentation we connected with many inspiring organizations that, like Kinvolved, use communications software to drive social impact. One such organization was City Harvest, who is leveraging SMS to better achieve their goal of feeding hungry New Yorkers.

 

 

As a social enterprise, we are driven by the conviction that our KiNVO software, by helping communities unite to improve attendance, will ultimately drive student success. And we’re not alone—at events like this, we’re reminded that we’re just one of many organizations are leveraging communications technology to make a difference.

Kinvolved Announces Winners of the First Leadership Spotlight Awards

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May 6, 2019—New York, NY: Kinvolved, the leader in software and services proven to reduce chronic absenteeism and boost daily attendance, today announced the winners of the first Kinvolved Leadership Spotlight Awards. This prestigious honor celebrates NYCDOE users who leverage the company’s KiNVO attendance management and family communications software to bring about positive changes in their communities.

“I want to extend a huge congratulations to the Kinvolved Leadership Spotlight awardees,” says Miriam Altman, co-founder and CEO of Kinvolved. “We’re so impressed and empowered by the work that you do for our students and families every single day.”

Nineteen individuals across twelve schools in the New York City Department of Education, covering Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan, have been singled out for their passionate dedication to enhancing family engagement as a pathway toward student success.

Awardees in their own words

“I’m always thinking about ways to reach out to my students and their parents,” says Esther Nyako of Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Diploma Plus High School. “Students are my key focus. What can I do to get them to the classroom?” For her and her fellow awardees, Kinvolved’s KiNVO web and mobile app has been invaluable, allowing her to more easily connect with parents who are hard to reach due to irregular schedules, work commitments, or language barriers.

Another awardee, Augustus Grissett, Jr., from Brooklyn’s Research and Service High School, says of KiNVO, “We found another angle to show parents that you actually care: giving wake-up calls, texting them directly, letting them have that ongoing, back-and-forth conversation.” In addition to using the KiNVO smartphone app as a single interface for managing attendance data and delivering push notifications to parents about attendance and communications activity, Mr. Grissett is also able to use the platform to communicate with his diverse parent community: messages sent through the platform can be translated into more than eighty languages and require no parent or student login for two-way communications.

The engaged administrators and educators Kinvolved has honored this year see the school–home connection as a key part of removing obstacles to student success. “If you are aware and you communicate, you can get through any situation out there,” says Venus Herrera of Manhattan’s Urban Assembly Maker Academy. “If you’re not aware, you will have literally no idea what to do. And if you don’t communicate, then other people won’t know what to do. So definitely that’s a guiding philosophy.”

Awardees share with the company a recognition that getting students to class is the key determinant of future success. Kinvolved built its KiNVO app to empower teachers like awardee Jaron Serven of Manhattan’s High School for Environmental Studies to communicate early and often with students’ families, especially in cases where students may be struggling due to any number of linguistic, socioeconomic, or environmental factors. “They’re good kids, all of them, even the ones who struggle,” says Mr. Serven. “That’s the thing that hurts me the most. They’re all good, they’re all wonderful, in their own way. It just takes one person to see that.”

Winners of Leadership Spotlight Awards are those very individual educators and administrators who see the potential of every student; the way they use KiNVO inspires Kinvolved to continue its work of building software and services that facilitate the promotion of family engagement and, hence, student achievement.

Case Studies

How Providence Public Schools achieved early success and scaled it district-wide

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Chris Maher

“I’ve spoken with a number of school principals about Kinvolved, and they are universally excited about the way it breaks down barriers and allows for direct interaction with parents. . . . We feel that by increasing family-to-school interactions and breaking down the traditional walls that have existed, we will be able to improve outcomes for our students.”

—Christopher Maher, Superintendent, Providence Public School District

In Spring 2018, we launched a seven-school pilot with Providence Public Schools. The pilot objectives were to train school leaders on KiNVO functionality, collaborate on the following school year’s rollout plan, and measure the pilot term’s impact.

Here’s what we found:

  • School leaders and families had exchanged more than fourteen thousand messages via KiNVO
  • Four pilot schools reduced chronic absence rates
  • All forty Providence schools adopted KiNVO for the 2018–2019 school year
Find out how the Providence team achieved early success and scaled it district-wide

Read Miriam Altman’s interview with The Native Influence

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“This industry is a tough one to change, but it is worth the effort. Stay focused on the end goal: positive impact on students and families. Be persistent, focused, and humble. Keep your nose to the grindstone, but take a moment to look up every once in a while to see the progress you’ve made. And, collaborate. There is so much work to do as an industry, and so many smart, committed people trying to do their part. If we partnered more often, we could really amplify our impact in ways we may not yet even realize.”

Kinvolved CEO and co-founder Miriam Altman recently sat down with The Native Influence for a conversation about her career in education and the role that Kinvolved plays in supporting positive family engagement that builds healthy school communities.

In this interview you’ll learn:

  • What inspired the need for Kinvolved and the vision for changing student success trajectories
  • How and why the education technology landscape has changed in the last ten years and emerging industry trends she sees on the horizon
  • How strong, collaborative partnerships in Providence, RI reduced the chronic absenteeism rate
  • Career advice for those in the education technology field
Read the full conversation

Kinvolved and Providence Public Schools Host Community Summit

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In 2018, Kinvolved partnered with Providence Public Schools to host a Community Summit—check out the highlights in our recap video!

Summits rally attendance experts, educators, students, families, and community stakeholders around a shared vision of improved attendance. Special thanks to Providence district leaders and keynote speaker Hedy Chang from Attendance Works.

More resources:

Webinar: How to Build Your Roadmap for Improving Attendance

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On February 13, 2019, Kinvolved hosted a webinar featuring nationally recognized attendance experts from Attendance Works and Providence Public Schools to discuss successful strategies for reducing chronic absenteeism, strengthening the school-family bond, and preventing student disengagement.

 

Conversation was lively, and our audience Q&A delved deeper into topics like turning around chronic absenteeism late in the school year and whether it’s ever too late to start engaging families (spoiler alert: it isn’t).

Special thanks to all our featured speakers:

  • Miriam Altman and Alexandra Meis, Co-founders of Kinvolved
  • Hedy Chang, Executive Director of Attendance Works
  • Superintendent Christopher Maher, along with Nkoli Onye, Dulari Tahbildar, and Michael Templeton from Providence Public Schools—read more about their work here

Press Release: Kinvolved 2018 Impact Report

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Kinvolved Impact Report Highlights Impressive Results in Reducing Chronic Absenteeism and Details Roadmap for Improving Attendance in K–12 Districts

January 16, 2019 – New York, NY: As school districts prepare for the increased accountability around absenteeism and family engagement detailed in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Kinvolved, the leading social enterprise reducing chronic absence, today released its 2018 Impact Report, which shares a roadmap for improving attendance validated by its successful work with partner districts.

The roadmap was designed as a resource all districts can use to support change management, strengthen school-home relationships, establish accountability, and evaluate the effectiveness of their initiatives.

“These learnings come directly from our time on the ground with educators,” shares CEO Miriam Altman. “We’ve learned how schools and districts can increase funding, improve graduation rates, and create more economically viable communities by focusing on student attendance. It’s not easy work—it takes shared commitment, intention, heart, and mutual engagement, especially with families, to achieve positive, quantifiable results. We’re proud of the way KiNVO and its wraparound services amplify their efforts, and we’re excited to share a roadmap for success that’s grounded in the reality of school systems and communities.”

Additional highlights from the 2017–2018 impact report include:

  • 66% of schools using KiNVO, Kinvolved’s attendance and communications management app, reduced absenteeism; 52% reduced lateness
  • Teachers in KiNVO districts saved an average of 50 minutes/week; administrators saved an average of 75 minutes/week
  • Educators and families exchanged 9 million messages through KiNVO

The report also contains abridged case studies from its implementations in Sioux Falls School District (South Dakota), Meriden Public School District (Connecticut), and Providence Public Schools (Rhode Island), all of which reduced chronic absence after adopted KiNVO.

For the past three years, Kinvolved has conducted an annual study to gauge the impact of its solutions on chronic absenteeism, family engagement, and mindset shifts. The study comprises surveys and interviews with KiNVO users, analyses of publicly available attendance data and School Quality Reports, and reviews of internal KiNVO metrics.

Impact metrics from prior years show the effect of Kinvolved software and services on school systems:

  • Attendance rates increase: Kinvolved partner high schools saw a 13x increase in average daily attendance.
  • Chronic absenteeism drops: Schools using KiNVO—Kinvolved’s attendance and communications platform—saw a –3% change in chronic absence rates.

“Kinvolved is the original education technology solution to absenteeism,” says Altman. “We’re five years deep into our mission to get all students to school every day, and we’re committed to that mission because it’s the right thing to do. With the new ESSA attendance requirements, it feels like federal policy is catching up with what we and our districts already know. Our work has become more important than ever.”

Kinvolved recently raised $1.54M in Seed II investments from notable organizations and angel investors, including the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, the Twilio.org Impact Fund, New York Ventures, Excell Technology Ventures, GingerBread Capital, and u2i. The organization is using the funds to support national growth, product research and development, and client services.

About Kinvolved

Kinvolved is a social enterprise on a mission to increase student achievement by minimizing absenteeism. Our holistic approach combines technology tools and human interventions to change the deeply ingrained behaviors and external factors affecting student attendance and chronic absence, including poverty, racism, and socio-economic exclusion. Learn more at www.kinvolved.com.

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Media Contact:

Jillian Lubow, Strategic Communications, jill@kinvolved.com

Kinvolved Closes $1.5M Seed Round to Expand Its Efforts to Engage Families and Communities in Eradicating Chronic Absenteeism

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November 1, 2018 – New York, NY: Amidst a wave of new research underlining the connections between school attendance and student success, Kinvolved, the leader in software and services proven to reduce chronic absenteeism and boost daily attendance, today announced it has secured $1.54M in funding through a Seed II investment round.

Kinvolved raised funds from notable organizations and angel investors, and their investments will help Kinvolved build on its success supporting school districts in their efforts to get all children to school each day.

The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK)—a global venture philanthropy firm supporting early-stage, high-impact social enterprises—led the fundraising round, and its managing director, Stephanie Khurana, sits on Kinvolved’s board of directors.

“DRK invests in high impact social enterprises that solve real-life problems in targeted, innovative ways,” says Khurana. “The Kinvolved team has demonstrated a commitment to eradicating chronic absenteeism through a systems level approach and meaningful engagement to support students. We’re excited to support their efforts to expand into new communities.”

Also included in the round is the Twilio.org Impact Fund, which invests in social enterprises that use innovative communications strategies and demonstrate the potential to scale. The organization recently announced it had met its goal of powering one billion messages for good five years early, and referenced its impact investment in Kinvolved as part of its efforts to help reach one billion people each year.

Erin Reilly, VP of Social Impact and GM of Twilio.org, shares that, “when it comes to education, it can be hard to bridge communication gaps among school staff, students, and families; these missed connections can sometimes have dire consequences for kids. By leveraging communications technologies, Kinvolved offers simple, intuitive tools that break down barriers. We are excited to welcome Kinvolved into the Impact Fund family.”

Other investors include:

  • New York Ventures, the venture capital investment arm of Empire State Development, which will also serve as a board observer.
  • Excell Technology Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in seed and early-stage technology startups in New York State. Excell also holds a seat on Kinvolved’s board of directors.
  • GingerBread Capital, a venture capital fund founded by Linnea Roberts that invests in women founders and entrepreneurs, and helps women-led business access the resources they need to scale successful enterprises.
  • u2i, a software development firm that builds tight, passionate, agile software development teams to help startups and growing businesses achieve success. u2i has been Kinvolved’s technology partner since 2015.

“These investments represent an alignment between these organizations’ missions and Kinvolved’s commitment to achieving educational equity by engaging educators, families, and communities in the effort to get every child to every class, every day,” says Miriam Altman, co-founder and CEO of Kinvolved.

Kinvolved will use the funds to support sales growth, deepen product research and development, and expand its client services offerings. The organization’s 2016–17 Impact Report quantified the effects of the organization’s software and services on school systems:

Data from its 2017–2018 impact study show impressive first-year gains, and Kinvolved will release those findings in its forthcoming impact report.

“We develop software and services that strengthen the bonds between and among students’ support systems, and that raise awareness of attendance issues before they become unmanageable,” says Kinvolved co-founder and Chief Product Officer Alexandra Meis. “Those are the most powerful levers we can pull to improve student achievement and offer all students an equitable chance at a high-quality education.”

About Kinvolved

Kinvolved is a social enterprise on a mission to increase student achievement by minimizing absenteeism. Our holistic approach combines technology tools and human interventions to change the deeply ingrained behaviors and external factors affecting student attendance and chronic absence, including poverty, racism, and socio-economic exclusion. Learn more at www.kinvolved.com.

# # #

Media Contact:

Jillian Lubow, Strategic Communications

jill@kinvolved.com

© 2019 Kinvolved™. All Rights Reserved, Kinvolved Inc.

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