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Kidappolis Communities for Early Education Equity and Family Stability

A mobile platform for equity, academics, and family stability, with personalized home learning for children led by parent/teacher partners.

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I am a.....

  • A member of an academic equity focused nonprofit

Tell us about your idea

The kidappolis family app is LitLab’s existing mobile portal sourcing the top free bilingual learning resources for children, aged 2-10. Kidappolis uses frequent mini assessments to understand each child’s needs, measuring improvement against age-appropriate benchmarks. We track usage and provide personalized learning plans to improve skill gaps and accelerate academic success, targeting the specific needs of emergent bilingual and low-income individuals. Families receive easy to understand on- and offline activities via SMS/text message that extend learning beyond the screen. 

Kidappolis Communities combines LitLab's mobile tool provision with necessary family support services, across targeted local partner agencies, family centers, and medical offices. Families receive free books and activity prompts upon visiting partner locations, along with free kidappolis mobile app access. Community agencies gain remote direct access to their clients, sharing local resources/services through kidappolis SMS/text message delivery. Parents gain awareness of and access to local support services in a timely, convenient, and safe way, building increased utilization of resources. By activating networks of support providers, local agencies become a tight web of safety, supporting traditionally at-risk under-served families. As partners engage with clients via LitLab tools, their client base and our impact grow. 

LitLab programs originally aimed only to foster academic skill development. In 2018, we pivoted to do so while removing the barriers that keep families in the poverty cycle. Now, during the time of COVID-19, the kidappolis mobile app is once again pivoting to provide vital home learning to low-income families that may not have home internet, devices, or printers. Parents access kidappolis on their mobile phones in their home language. We send SMS/text messages about skill development, safety, ways to provide for key family needs, emergency information, resources, and live/virtual events, all by location to target providing families with local support. Families receiving such resources stabilize and our partner agencies reach a broader range of clients. Our objective is to empower all parents to make use of available resources to increase their stability, giving them more bandwidth to partner with their children in academic skill growth. 

The world changed significantly with the COVID-19 pandemic. LitLab is re-inventing again, to partner more closely with teachers in bridging the gap between the classroom and low-income, bilingual parents, with a focus on equity. Many low-income families are not connected at home, or lack personal devices. Most online learning options are in English only. Kidappolis is one of the few options available that helps to bridge the academic divide between the haves and have-nots. With our next step, we aim to maximize kidappolis effectiveness for at-home learning and as a quality content source for skill development, while reinforcing parent/child bonding in celebration of co-learning and interactivity. In partnership with the Teachers Guild and Ravenswood School District in East Palo Alto, we will explore kidappolis as an opportunity for a user-centered, parent-centered, teacher-centered distance learning tool connecting low-income and bilingual families to a future forward learning system that fully supports children in academic skill growth, and parents in academic partnership and stability, no matter where families learn.

“It’s hard to find twenty minutes a day to read to my daughter when I don’t know where we’re going to sleep tonight.” Many families struggle to find critical resources; with a global pandemic and recession, such resources will be in greater demand for years to come. Children must also have quality learning and parents need strong instructional support, during and beyond the emergency. Future learning may look different, so LitLab is asking the questions: How do we connect teachers (learning experts/educational innovators), closely with caregivers (at-home instructors/coaches), to provide children with the best tools for equitable academic success (kidappolis platform)? Our work will create updated content/design for kidappolis to facilitate a ‘sticky’ teacher and parent partnership when parents may not be highly educated, English fluent, or academically skilled. This will facilitate each child's age-appropriate school growth, while enhancing families’ long-term stability. 

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

Low-income families need resources and support more than ever. 4M US children begin kindergarten this fall. Annually, 1.8M begin school unprepared for success, but this year’s number will be far greater. With economic ripple effects of COVID-19 expected to be long lasting, we must reach families with resources for their short and long term success. LitLab supports low-income families by meeting their key needs through access to community resources (health clinics, food banks) and by enabling close partnerships between parents and teachers for successful early skill development. If we could, we would redesign education to leave the opportunity gap in the past. We’d give parents access to local resources while connecting them closely to teachers for partnership in at-home academic support that increases home stability and learning success. Kidappolis is an innovative solution teachers, families, and local service providers can depend upon for quality learning and collective impact.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

We serve Title I communities with large bilingual and low-income populations. 95% of our clients qualify for free and reduced-price lunch. Our goal is to create a social impact/early learning model replicable nationwide, to narrow the opportunity gap for kids in this demographic.

Our target families are more likely to have children identified as behind in school. They're at more risk from instabilities common to endemic poverty, exacerbated by shelter-in-place: crowded housing, poor nutrition, underlying health conditions, and job loss. We provide them with:

- A Mobile Platform. 90% of our families have smartphones/data plans; mobile phone learning is critical during/beyond the crisis.

- Empowered Caregivers. Parents struggle to teach; we provide skills/tools/partnerships for them to become a great teacher, in their home language.

- Safety Nets. Millions will need help to survive this pandemic. Kidappolis resources stabilize families, so kids stay school ready.

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Kidappolis Communities creates a change for low-income families in need, honoring their linguistic and cultural practices, and ending the generational cycle of poverty and low literacy achievement. We serve low-income and emergent bilingual communities across California’s San Francisco Bay Area, including Oakland, Richmond, San Rafael, and San Jose.


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