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Kinvolved: An App the Helps Teachers With Student Attendance, Texting Parents When Students are Absent or Tardy

( [email protected] ) Jan 25, 2016 11:39 AM EST
Whether you are a student or a teacher, you know what happens if a student misses a day of school or is tardy.  That is, the student's name is marked on an attendance record, but sometimes the student's parent doesn't even hear about the information on that chart.  The problem with student attendance is massive, but fortunately, the app known as Kinvolved has changed the student attendance process, putting the power to communicate student attendance into the hands of the teacher, so parents know right away.
Kinvolved, the Student Attendance App, at work. The New York Times

Whether you are a student or a teacher, you know what happens if a student misses a day of school or is tardy.  That is, the student's name is marked on an attendance record, but sometimes the student's parent doesn't even hear about the information on that chart.  The problem with student attendance is massive, but fortunately, the app known as Kinvolved has changed the student attendance process, putting the power to communicate student attendance into the hands of the teacher, so parents know right away.

The New York Times tells of science teacher Etta Covington, a science teacher at Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Harlem, who had a problem with students who show up late, cut classes, or just skip school altogether.  Her average of students who come in on time is seven students out of 30, but as of last November, that has changed thanks to Kinvolved.  This application for iOS and Android allows teachers to take each student's attendance with a finger swipe, and then send a text message to parents if a child is absent or tardy.  It can be even customized to include the number of class minutes missed. 

Ms. Covington can see some definite results, and the application eliminates the middle man of a teacher noticing a student is absent, then telling his or her administrators, who may or may not inform the parent.  With Kinvolved, the parent is immediately informed when there is an issue with their child at the school.

Kinvolved was created by Kinvolved Inc., a three-year-old startup company that was founded by two entrepreneurs, Miriam Altman and Alexandra Meis.  The Kinvolved application website states that not only does Kinvolved "communicate with families in seconds about attendance", but informs these families of "positive accomplishments" as well.  

This application includes pie charts made for administrators and teachers to show pie charts and attendance trends.  The application does cost the schools, as The Teachers College partnership program pays $2,600-$10,000 per school year, for five schools in Harlem. Overall, users report a 90 percent success rate saying that Kinvolved has improved parent communication in their classroom. 

Kinvolved is evidence that we are living in a "there's an app for that" culture.  That is, the technology on smartphones and tablets allows teachers accomplish daily tasks a lot easier than they did before, at a faster rate.  Of course, technology alone isn't enough to solve the problem of student attendance, as some parents can simply choose not to have messages sent to them.  However, in Ms. Covington's class, it has made a definite difference in a positive way, and that is worth celebrating.