Featured news

Meet the Edtech Grantees of Google’s $25 Million AI Impact Challenge

December 26th, 2019

Seven years ago, Google’s artificial intelligence technology was barely able to identify cat videos with passable precision. So what can its AI do today when it comes to tackling actual problems—say, famine, flooding, pollution and parent engagement?

New research partnership evaluates innovation in family engagement

November 19th, 2019

Randomized evaluation of the TalkingPoints multilingual family engagement platform will assess the intervention’s impact on student achievement.

Moving from Communication to Engagement: Unlocking the Potential of Underserved, Diverse Families

July 17th, 2019

Communication, conversation, and relationships are the underpinnings of strong family-school partnerships. Yet, with over 350 languages spoken in U.S. homes today

TalkingPoints platform will provide personalized, real-time coaching for underserved students’ parents and teachers with support from Google.org

May 07th, 2019

Education technology non-profit will break down barriers to parent engagement by using AI to enable personalized coaching and improve two-way translated communication on its multilingual family engagement platform

Whether Through Texts or Apps, Schools Are Using Technology to Get the Message Out to Students’ Families

March 25th, 2019

Heejae Lim, founder of TalkingPoints, an app that translates text messages from educators into a parent’s home language, likes to tell a story of a San Francisco middle school principal. The administrator wanted to connect with the parents of a Spanish-speaking student at risk of failing. He tried visiting the family at home twice, to no avail.

Twilio.org Announces $1.4M in Grants to 15 Nonprofits

February 07th, 2019

Enabling a young mother to access essential nutrition benefits over text. Activating a high schooler’s passion for voting rights through digital engagement campaigns. Every day, nonprofit organizations create innovative communication solutions to reach people where they are and deliver services central to their programs. Twilio.org partners with social impact organizations around the world to build and scale these life changing communications.

2018 news

Breaking Down Barriers Between Educators and Families Through Technology

October 23rd, 2018

One in four children in the United States is born to an immigrant family, according to the Casey Foundation, and there will be 40 million children born to immigrant or underserved families by 2030. These children are becoming one of the fastest growing student demographics, with states in the South and Southeast seeing the number of English Language Learner students double year after year. Yet school systems, educators, and communities are not adequately prepared or resourced for this pace of change.

Is Your Startup Really Helping Save the World? These Companies Are

October 10th, 2018

Utah-based Pluralsight’s Create the Future Awards recognize companies changing the world for the better. We met two of them: one teaches tech skills to human-trafficking victims, while another helps bridge language barriers between parents and teachers.

TalkingPoints on Asian Pacific America

August 29th, 2018

TalkingPoints is a nonprofit, and our mission is to unlock the potential of low-income, immigrant families in the U.S. to be able to support their children’s learning.

Three Languages You Must Master As A Social Entrepreneur

June 22nd, 2018

Language and cultural barriers are familiar ground to me. As a Korean who grew up in England and then moved to the US, I’ve encountered plenty of challenges in cultural and language translation. But today I’m becoming less and less of an anomaly. Minorities will make up more than 50% of the United States population by 2020.

Straight Up Conversation: TalkingPoints Founder Heejae Lim

June 21st, 2018

TalkingPoints is an education technology nonprofit working to make it easy for any parent to be engaged in their children’s education—especially in low-income, diverse communities. Through a parent education platform with human- and AI-powered translation, we help teachers and parents communicate, build relationships, and understand what effective parent engagement looks like.

2017 news

A Great Way To Use Tech To Help Teachers Meaningfully Engage With Families

October 12th, 2017

Strong parent-teacher partnerships are key to student success in the classroom. In fact, parental engagement is very effective at predicting student achievement. When teachers and parents are in regular contact about students’ needs, progress, and successes, students feel supported and motivated to try their best in school.

Bridging the Language Barrier with TalkingPoints

August 30th, 2017

As a parent, I can’t even begin to describe how important I think home to school/school to home communication is for my sanity and my child’s success. My son is a bit of a mad scientist, which is all well and good, but have you seen the inside of a mad scientist’s backpack?

A must-have tool for Back-to-School!

August 14th, 2017

The following piece is based on a conversation we recently had with Heejae Lim, Founder and Executive Director of TalkingPoints. As a Korean immigrant student, Heejae saw first-hand the difference between her friends with English-speaking parents who were deeply engaged in their education versus non-English speaking parents who struggled to be involved.

Nonprofits, not Silicon Valley startups, are creating AI apps for the greater good

June 22nd, 2017

Predictions for the potential of artificial intelligence wax poetic — solutions from climate change to curing disease — but the everyday applications make it seem far more mundane, like a glorified clock radio.

Startups and nonprofits set sights on closing the achievement gap through internet access

May 02nd, 2017

Kids growing up in low-income neighborhoods have always faced extra challenges when it comes to keeping up with their middle- to high-income peers. And with the dawning of the digital age, low-income students now face a new, unprecedented challenge: access to high-speed internet.

6 New Companies Solving Education’s Biggest Problems

January 27th, 2017

We’ve all heard the theory that the most successful businesses have one thing in common: They identify a problem that people have and they solve it. If only it were that simple.

2016 news

App helps parents, teachers communicate

December 15th, 2016

Amanda Roman, an English as a second language teacher in Elmsford, used to have to translate handwritten Spanish notes from students’ parents for her colleagues.

EdTech Tools Receive Recognition for Helping ELLs Learn

November 22nd, 2016

Last week, The NewSchools Venture Fund announced the winners of a funding competition designed to find the best edtech tools that are helping English Language Learners (ELLs) learn.

NewSchools Ignite Announces ELL Challenge Winners

November 16th, 2016

Last year, in several separate conversations with educators, the subject of tools for English Language Learners (ELLs) came up. We discussed it as a team, and wondered if it was a trend we should be paying closer attention to.

Parent-Teacher Communication Tool TalkingPoints Helps Immigrant Parents Connect with Schools

October 25th, 2016

From an early age, Heejae Lim recognized her parents’ ability to speak English allowed them to engage with her school life in a way that non-English-speaking parents could not.

Can You Translate That? New App Allows Parents, Teachers to Bridge Language Divide

October 02nd, 2016

Parental engagement is twice as likely to influence a student’s long-term success as socioeconomic status, some studies say, but when parents struggle to engage because of language limitations, it creates a big barrier between home and school.

Multilingual Texting Platform Aims to Help Schools Engage All Families

August 17th, 2016

San Francisco-based nonprofit TalkingPoints announced yesterday the launch of a centralized school-wide platform designed to help school officials communicate with all of the families they serve, regardless of language barriers.

Three ways tech is reinventing a surprising sector

May 13th, 2016

More than 1 million users. Sixteen billion monthly page views. Ninety-nine percent user engagement. If these sound like stats from tech companies, you’re right. Except these tech companies are nonprofits.

2015 news

Korean Venture “TalkingPoints” Chosen as Top 10 Google Impact Challenge

October 23rd, 2015

As one of the top 10 projects on Google Impact Challenge, TalkingPoints, a one-man venture established by a Korean CEO Hee Jae Lim, competed against other firms for votes to win the challenge. Through the Google Impact Challenge with 800 firms competing, $5 million grant has been given out to Bay Area nonprofits. If selected as Google Impact Challenge top projects, the firms would get an opportunity to work with Google’s resources to further drive the firm to the next stage in addition to grants.

TalkingPoints Uses Code As Universal Language To Connect Parents and Teachers

October 20th, 2015

Language barriers don’t exist in a vacuum. Let’s say a parent can’t communicate in English with their kid’s teacher, and that teacher only speaks English. The problem at hand isn’t just a translation issue. It’s a language barrier that limits the parent’s ability to participate in their child’s education, and limits the child’s development.

Tech Startups Chase Something Other Than Profits

October 09th, 2015

At a demo day in San Francisco on Wednesday, Joyce Kim’s presentation of her financial tech startup sounded a lot like a tech startup pitching venture capitalists for funding. She scrolled through a slide deck and stood at a podium, sporting a t-shirt of her startup.

The Race to Translate: Which Parent Communication Tool Will Reign Supreme?

October 07th, 2015

First, it was parent-teacher communication by texting. Now, ClassDojo and Remind seem to be in a race to share information with parents in whatever native language they speak.

Google to Bay Area: Vote for boldest nonprofit ideas

September 29th, 2015

Google wants Bay Area residents to pick the groups with the best ideas for transforming local lives. Google.org, the search giant’s philanthropic arm, is seeking public input on its Google Impact Challenge grants to “change-makers and forward-thinkers who challenge the status quo … with big ideas for an even better Bay Area,” as it says on its website.