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Q&A: TED Fellow Heejae Lim on Using Tech to Strengthen Family-School Engagement

In her TED talk, Heejae Lim, the only education leader selected as part of the class of 2022 TED Fellows Program, shares how 4 in 5 children in US schools who come from under-resourced and/or immigrant families and are more likely to fall behind – sometimes by as much as two school years. This equates to 40 million children, and represents a loss to the US economy of one trillion dollars each year. Her nonrprofit TalkingPoints helps close this achievement gap by unlocking the potential of families in driving student success.

Here’s one easy way schools can communicate multilingually with families

TalkingPoints’ CEO Heejae Lim, the only education leader selected among the 20 changemakers in the 2022 TED Fellows program, shares the importance of increasing engagement for underserved and multilingual families, and how the TalkingPoints platform removes language and other barriers between schools and families so that students can thrive.

Why Do Schools Send So Many Emails? They Don’t Have To

Back-to-school means back to checking emails, texts, apps and social-media pages for notes from teachers. For parents, managing school chatter can feel like another full-time job. What if schools agreed on one channel for communications? The Wall Street Journal finds that TalkingPoints was named as the best family communication platform for teachers and schools.

Heejae Lim and Peng Zhao: We’re both immigrants. We know what it’s like to feel invisible.

Heejae Lim, founder and CEO of TalkingPoints, and Peng Zhao, Citadel Securities CEO and founding board member of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), share the importance of family engagement – especially when it comes to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students and families – drawing on their experiences as immigrants to this country who understand the power of family engagement in education.

In Ohio district where English learners have nearly doubled in just three years, TalkingPoints helps break down communication barriers.

Pickerington Schools more than doubled family engagement using TalkingPoints to send two-way translated text messages between parents and school employees including teachers, guidance counselors, school nurses, and even bus drivers.

During Darkest Days of Pandemic, New Brunswick Schools, Parents Stayed Connected

Statistics show that 65% of the districts’ families use the platform, and 73% of them rate TalkingPoints as “highly effective.” As Michael Chiodo, principal at Lincoln Annex school notes, “To use the words of some of my teachers, it was a game-changer.”

TalkingPoints receives transformational gift from MacKenzie Scott to advance meaningful, equitable family engagement for students

The $10 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott will allow TalkingPoints to accelerate its ambitious plans to improve the academic success and well-being of tens of millions of under-resourced students by rapidly scaling its approach.

Translation app helps district communicate with families

Pickerington Local School District in Ohio is using the TalkingPoints translation app to better communicate with the families of students who are learning English. Elizabeth Curtis, English-language coordinator for the district, says the app has been well-received by teachers and families.

TalkingPoints CEO Selected as a TED Fellow

Heejae Lim is the sole education leader selected to present at TED2022

Translation App Engages Families in Student Learning

Northfield Public Schools is helping remove obstacles to family engagement through TalkingPoints. “It’s an incredible equalizer,” said Carrie Duba, one of the district’s PreK-12 systems and instructional coaches.