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New App Keeps Parents and Teachers In Touch

New App Keeps Parents and Teachers In Touch

A new app is making it easier than ever for parents and teachers to communicate about students, according to

Kinvolved ( launched in beta in 2012—allows teachers to track daily attendance and lateness and send parents real-time text messages or emails letting them know what is going on with their children. The idea of the app was born over the issue of attendance at schools and the overall affect it had on students’ education.

“We are helping with the foundational piece, which is seeing that kids show up,” said co-founder Miriam Altman. “Our goal is for students to show up so the teachers have the opportunity to teach the kids.”

Altman, who was a teacher in the New York City public school system until 2011, and Alexandra Meis, a parent advocate, worked together to add different perspectives to the ongoing attendance issue affecting many New York City schools.

Through Kinvolved, teachers track attendance and can send automated notification to parents in six different languages. Parents are then able to respond directly to the message, either through the app or their computers. The notifications can also address other topics such as upcoming tests, dates for parent/teacher conferences and information on specific students.

Approximately 100 schools — most of which are city public schools serving students in high need communities — are using the app. Karoline Alexander, a community school director at P.S. 154 in Harlem, has been using Kinvolved for about a year and has seen the positive effects it has for teachers, parents, and students.

“I love it. It’s a really great tool to not only track attendance but also contact our parents,” Alexander said. “This year it has been a huge boost for our family engagement.”

New features are being added as Altman and Weis receive feedback from educators and parents. The duo hopes Kinvolved will be able to have an impact on reducing both chronic lateness and absences. Eventually, they would like to coordinate the data that comes through the app and correlate it with graduation rates at the schools.

“Our end goal is to improve the graduation rate,” Altman said. “We are very proud to be doing this work—and there is a lot of proof in the value of this.”

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