Alumni

SOTW: Fighting Chronic Absenteeism with Kinvolved

Every week, the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute elects a Startup of the Week. We then invite the founders of these startups to share a blog post with our community. These posts can be inspirational, educational, or entertaining. Founders can share founding stories, resources, lessons, or anything else they want.

This blog post was written by Miriam Altman (Wagner '13), co-founder of Kinvolved


 

According to data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, over 8 million students missed 15 or more days of school in 2015–16. These students are chronically absent—a term defined by missing 15+ days of school in a year.

 

This is an important factor to track because there are all kinds of repercussions associated with being chronically absent. Chronic absenteeism in kindergarten is associated with lower achievement in reading and math in later grades. By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school. Chronic absenteeism has also been linked to poor socioemotional outcomes.

 

Luckily, there are two sides to this story and for all of the research linking chronic absenteeism to negative outcomes, there is also research linking strong attendance rates to strong student outcomes. So the question my Co-Founder, Alexandra Meis (also Wagner '13), and I wanted to crack was—how do we get every student, to every class, every day?

 

When we launched Kinvolved, we envisioned our attendance management tool to address this problem head-on. What we’ve learned after seven years engrained in this work is that student and family engagement—getting parents and guardians involved in their students’ life at school—is what makes the most significant difference in addressing chronic absenteeism. As a result of these learnings, we’ve developed a holistic approach to student and family engagement, combining technology tools and human interventions to change the deeply ingrained behaviors and external factors affecting attendance and achievement.

 

Our framework starts with our partnership. When a school system decides to work with us, we strive to support them in every way we can—from professional learning to strategic planning—to ensure they have the information, research-based practices, and support needed to achieve their goals.

 

Within our partnership, we implement KiNVO™, our all-in-one attendance and communications software that enables school systems to increase the efficiency, security, and equity of all communications and family engagement efforts.

 

The best part?

 

Implementing this holistic approach generates positive, life-changing impacts. Here are just a few outcomes our district partners have achieved:

 

  • 22% reduction in chronic absenteeism for English learners
  • 2 pre-kindergarten classes saved with funding they retained by using KiNVO
  • 30x increase in family attendance at an annual Title 1 meeting
  • 11% increase in graduation rates
  • 25% increase in college readiness

 

These student outcomes are extraordinary, and while we still have a long way to go in our work, we’re proud to have created a social enterprise that supports students, schools, and communities across the country at scale. 

 

If you’d like to learn more about the work we’re doing, and the impact it’s making, please download our annual impact report.