Startup of the Week

Using Data-Driven SMS to Reengage Millions of Youth in School with Kinvolved

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Every week, the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute elects a Startup of the Week. We invite the founders of these startups to share a blog post with our community. These posts can be inspirational, educational, or entertaining. 

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

Research proves that attendance is the most critical leading indicator of student success and high school graduation. If we could simply get students to attend class, without making any other changes to the US education system, we would dramatically improve academic success, high school graduation, and college attainment, according to leading researchers from the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Yet, pre-pandemic, nearly 15 percent of all US K-12 students were chronically absent, missing a month or more of school per year. Now, estimates show that one in four, or 13M students, nationally are chronically absent. And in many of our large urban communities, like Oakland, California, chronic absenteeism has already jumped to one-third of students within the first week of the school year.

If we fail to reverse these trends, as a nation, we’re literally losing track of millions of youth. And, without intervention, these youth will become high school dropouts, each of whom will earn $260K less over their lifetimes. Collectively, they will miss out on nearly $3.4 trillion dollars in lifetime earnings to invest in their own families, communities, and the nation as a whole. 

Kinvolved is a K-12 edtech company that is reengaging students and families in school. It's KiNVO software is a data-driven reporting and communication platform, embedded at every level throughout a district’s operations, using predictive analytics to provide key insights into student engagement that drive results in attendance, enrollment, funding, technology adoption, resource allocation, and more. 

To date, school staff, students, and families have exchanged more than 110M text messages via KiNVO. And, third party research shows that KiNVO is making a huge impact on students and families nationwide. KiNVO’s translated, attendance-based text messaging nudge communications were more effective at reducing absenteeism than other common interventions such as mentoring and personalized phone calls in Providence Public Schools. Its automated Digital Attendance Postcard intervention reduced absenteeism by eight percent in DC Public Schools, and in the NYC DOE, schools using KiNVO experienced 13X better improvements in attendance than peer schools.

The company currently reaches nearly 1M users in 50 communities across 18 states. Its client list includes the NYC Department of Education, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, LA Unified School District, and many more. 

photo of the founders of kinvolved

Kinvolved was founded in 2013 by two graduates of NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service: Miriam Altman-Reyes, a former NYC public high school educator, and Alexandra Meis, a former parent advocate. Kinvolved was a member of the first cohort of the NYU Summer LaunchPad, winner of the Social Innovation track at the Berkley Center’s 2013 Entrepreneurs Challenge, and is an investee of the NYU Innovation Venture Fund

Though school systems are still managing ongoing impacts of the pandemic, on student attendance, enrollment, and student success, Kinvolved is quickly growing to support many millions more students, families, and educators. Kinvolved is leading the way in seeking solutions to absenteeism and disengagement, some of the greatest challenges facing our nation and education system today.