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Kinvolved Technology

Building Kinvolved’s Technology with Empathy

By ThoughtsNo Comments

September marks not only the beginning of the school year, but also a time when we share new features with our Kinvolved community.

We’ve listened to every sentiment that you’ve shared–both words of delight and suggestions for improvement.

A 2015 survey of over 100 Kinvolved teachers in NYC showed that use of Kinvolved’s app had a significant positive impact on family engagement, both in terms of quality of communication and frequency of communication. Specifically:

  • 88% of teachers agreed that Kinvolved improved their communication with parents
  • 69% stated that using Kinvolved increased the frequency of parent communication
  • 66% noted that parents were easier to reach using Kinvolved’s text function

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Teachers also reported that they’re seeking:   

  • A better way to track communication efforts within Kinvolved’s app
  • Translated messages to break down language barriers that persist in high needs communities
  • More granular details about attendance data and messaging related to attendance

Kinvolved has listened, and new features include:

  • Pre-translated message templates
  • Improved attendance data page with views of subgroups of students based on attendance trends, and ability to send messages to each subgroup
  • More robust communication tracking system that conveys pulse checks regarding positive and negative messaging

We’re eager to hear what you think of these new features, and what additional features you’d like to see.

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We’re all in this together, with the shared belief that technology tools can be part of a systemic change for our children. We’re starting by messaging families, but we know that each day, with each message, we make a significant impact in the lives of teachers, students, and parents across the nation.

How can we do this better? Email me directly with your feedback or ideas at Alexandra@Kinvolved.com.

Alex is a co-founder of Kinvovled, and serves as Chief Product Officer. Previously, Alex worked in the South Bronx, advocating for and educating families of children with special needs. Alex is a 2012 Education Pioneers Fellow, where she worked with Teach For America and Leadership for Educational Equity developing scalable eLearning platforms. She holds an MPA in Health Policy and Analysis from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, and a BA in Psychology and minor in Anthropology and Sociology from Lafayette College.

The Longest Sunday Night of Our Lives

By Tips and Resources

I suggest putting family engagement at the top of your list–I promise life will be easier!

Last week, I logged into Facebook and read a status update that said, “August for teachers = the longest Sunday night of our lives.” It follows the perfect equation for a successful post: kind of cynical, of course humorous, but most of all true.   


For teachers, preparation for the school year begins many weeks in advance of the first day of school. From setting up classrooms and purchasing materials to going on home visits and drafting lesson plans, teachers are already moving at a high-octane pace far before September. Once classes start, teachers’ responsibilities continue to mount while their free time diminishes in some sort of cruel inverse correlation.

It wasn’t until my third year of teaching that I trusted all of this hard work would yield some kind of benefit. And that’s only because I had seen it happen. IMG_0844

I found that banking positive interactions with students’ families paid off.

Whether through texting, calling, or emailing, I shared positive praise, individual anecdotes, and asked intentional questions of families. I’m not going to lie, this was extremely time consuming! Especially for students with many stakeholders, for whom I was trying to cultivate a strong relationship with each one. But, without fail, this work early in the year made all the inevitables that came after easier. We could discuss difficult topics, including retention, behavior, and attendance on a foundation of trust and partnership, which led to faster and more effective interventions.

What is my advice to all you teachers out there? When you’re organizing your chaotic and overflowing to-do list–if I know you like I think I do, you’re probably color coding–keep family engagement at the top. Start connecting now. It will save you time and stress later.

Charlotte Lysohir is a Community Specialist for Kinvolved. She works with partner schools and afterschool programs in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx to increase student attendance rates and emphasize family engagement. She also works with community initiatives such as, South Bronx Rising Together, to help improve education, workforce and economic outcomes by dismantling chronic absenteeism. Charlotte is a Teach For America alumni, and former PreK-4 teacher at KIPP DC LEAP Academy.

Email Charlotte at: Charlotte@kinvolved.com


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