Kinvolved: Using Mobile Technology to Combat School Truancy
We recently met with a team of students from NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service who are solving very important problems through digital technology. This post was written by them about Kinvolved, their startup team that recently won $15,000 for placing first in the inaugural National Invitational Public Policy Challenge hosted by the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.
Miriam Altman, Barrie Charney Golden, and Alexandra Meis, three NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service students comprise the Kinvolved team. Our mission is to create strategic solutions to minimize academic truancy by engaging parents and families in students’ education, particularly in underprivileged communities.
Kinvolved’s first tool is a mobile app that aims to increase school attendance by both minimizing the time required of teachers to record attendance and engaging family members if students are not in class immediately. Teachers use the app to rapidly take attendance, and then parents and family members are immediately notified via SMS (text message) if a child is absent from class. Once families have access to truancy information, Kinvolved consults with the schools and families to develop tailored plans to reverse the truancy issue through positive reinforcement of timely school attendance.
How does this project make the world a better place?
In the New York City Department of Education, the world’s largest public school system, nearly 25 percent of students, or almost 250,000 kids, miss a month of school each year. Across the entire country, students miss more than 5 million school days collectively per year. Numerous research studies directly link school attendance and graduation rates. In Chicago, a study of freshmen indicated that of students who missed five or fewer days of school per semester, 90 percent would graduate on time, but of those who missed 6 to 9 days, only 63 percent would graduate.
The good news is that numerous studies also show a strong, positive link between parent and family engagement in education and higher attendance rates, academic performance, and graduation rates. In short, if we can engage parents and families in students’ education, and make them aware of truancy behaviors immediately, we can curb this truancy epidemic in the American public schools. This is the premise upon which the Kinvolved team works.
Building on existing human capital, the Kinvolved team aims to support schools and families in the fight against truancy using a three-pronged approach: minimize teachers’ attendance recording time, inform parents and families of truancy in real time, and help schools and families create truancy reversal plans to reverse truancy behaviors before they have a detrimental effect on student achievement.
In short, Kinvolved aims to empower schools and families to maximize the number of students in the classroom all time everyday, all day so that all students have the opportunity to access education.
Who is the intended audience?
Policy makers, families, students, schools and school districts.
How can our readers extend the impact of this project?
Kinvolved hopes to bring awareness of the truancy epidemic in America’s public schools to the attention of BYO Projects’ audience, and encourages your deeper involvement. A collaboration of policy makers, families, students, schools, the private sector, and the public is needed to fight this problem. For more information on Kinvolved’s solution, contact Miriam@kinvolved.com or get in touch through facebook.
submitted by: kinvolved