Problems with student school attendance in schools has risen over the past decade, with teachers nationwide admitting that they have witnessed their fair share of students who showed up in the middle of the class, cut classes or just skip school for a day — and now there’s mobile phone app that might help encourage kids to get to class.
Kinvolved offers teachers an innovative method to deal with absenteeism that allows them to track their students’ attendance and to notify parents with a text message immediately in case of absence. Teachers can also customize the alerts, so they include even the exact number of missed minutes in class.
The app is available for iOS and Android. It costs between $2,600 and $10,000 per year for five schools in Harlem. Next to sending attendance alerts in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole and numerous other languages, Kinvolved also informs parents about their children’s progress, upcoming tests or school events. The app is user-friendly and does not require log-in or class code, as stated on its official website. Kinvolved analyzes students’ attendance data and defines a critical attendance threshold.
“Kinvolved creates a space for meaningful communication and academic accountability. Through the engagement of schools and communities, Kinvolved improves the attendance and achievement of every student. “
On average, users say they have a 90 percent success rate, saying that Kinvolved has improved parent communication in their classroom, writes Mark Rollins of The Gospel Herald. Not all parents are on board; some parents simply chose not to receive messages from school.
“My average that comes in on time is seven students out of 30,” admitted Etta Covington, a Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Harlem, in an interview with Natasha Singer of The New York Times.
Mrs. Covington has been using Kinvolved since last November, and her class attendance has been improved significantly since. Wadleigh’s school director also confirmed the quick positive effects of using Kinvolved. He was confident that the app would be more helpful in cases of frequent absences. However, he was convinced that the technology alone would not completely solve the problem of absenteeism. Wadleigh commented:
“Kinvolved is a tool that gives us the attendance number, but it doesn’t give us the qualitative information that will allow us to address the issue.”
He emphasized once again the importance of “real” communication with the family.
As Nicole Gorman of Education World writes, the reasons for missing school can be diverse. Sometimes there are hidden problems such as homelessness, unsupportive family, unemployment, or family illness. Wadleigh’s director uses Kinvolved’s data to address those families whose children miss school often so that the school can give them the necessary support to reduce the risk of falling behind.
As Mark Rollins of The Gospel Herald noticed, Kinvolved is a classic example that we live in the “there is an app for that” world.