PowerMyLearning Receives Major Corporate Support from Capstone Investment Advisors and McKinsey & Company

PowerMyLearning Receives Major Corporate Support from Capstone Investment Advisors and McKinsey & Company to Meet Urgent Needs of Students, Families, and Teachers

Education changed overnight last spring when school building closures caused by COVID-19 led to a quick shift to remote learning. Families were called on to play new roles in supporting their children’s learning and teachers were asked to adapt quickly. The pandemic further exacerbated the inequalities faced by the Black community in education, health and many other facets of life.

PowerMyLearning aimed to meet these challenges and adapt our programming quickly during this unprecedented time. We received catalytic support at the close of a difficult year in 2020 from two strong corporate partners: Capstone Investment Advisors and McKinsey & Company, the global management consulting firm.

The gifts totaled more than $250,000 in support for PowerMyLearning as students face incredible risks of learning loss as they approach more than a year of interrupted in-person schooling.

Both Capstone Investment Advisors and McKinsey & Company shared with us that they wanted to give back to organizations filling critical needs of students and teachers amidst the crises of education and racial injustice.

Capstone Investment Advisors chose PowerMyLearning as the beneficiary of their annual Cups for a Cause event, which took place on November 12, 2020. Capstone’s staff and partners participated in a virtual Trivia Tournament to raise funds for PowerMyLearning.

“Having as a backdrop the pandemic crisis that was happening, I am impressed with PowerMyLearning’s technology solution that had been around for several years with proven effectiveness,” said Paul Britton, Capstone CEO. “This ‘plug and play’ intervention can provide immediate support to students during the pandemic.”

Initially nominated into the selection process by PowerMyLearning’s New York City board member Kevin B. Jordan, PowerMyLearning was one of the 30+ recipients of a gift as a part of McKinsey & Company’s $5M global giving commitment in 2020 to support Black communities across a wide range of issues. McKinsey & Company distributed grants to organizations selected by McKinsey Black Network colleagues via a series of regional town halls and charitable giving summits. PowerMyLearning received a grant as we have a shared goal with McKinsey to create educational opportunities and combat racism.

This generous funding will allow PowerMyLearning to advance educational equity nationwide  and accelerate student social emotional learning and academic achievement by helping teachers activate the power of collaboration  between  teachers,  students, and families.  Activating this  “triangle of learning relationships” is even more critical now as districts aim to accelerate learning recovery for students.  

If you are interested in learning more about PowerMyLearning’s work or in supporting us through a donation please reach out to Stacey Williams, Managing Director of External Relations at swilliams@powermylearning.org.

PowerMyLearning Launches the School Checkup

PowerMyLearning Launches School Checkup to Gauge Strength of Learning Relationships During COVID-19​

February 11, 2021 | Press Releases

PowerMyLearning, a national nonprofit, has launched the School Checkup—a free, four-minute online assessment tool that provides a comprehensive analysis of how well schools are supporting the trio of student-teacher-family relationships.

Take the School Checkup

The School Checkup helps school leaders mitigate against the COVID-19 slide and advance educational equity by assessing and improving the strength of learning relationships between students, teachers, and families. Upon completion, participants receive personalized insights and actionable strategies for activating a powerful student-teacher-family learning dynamic.

“At PowerMyLearning, our key insight is that students succeed when they have strong learning relationships with both their teachers and their families. Picture a triangle comprised of students, teachers, and families with teachers and families reinforcing what each other is doing around curriculum,” said Elisabeth Stock, CEO and Co-Founder at PowerMyLearning. “In the midst of a pandemic and nationwide racial reckoning, this triangle approach has never been more important. The School Checkup is a great resource to help school leaders identify blind spots and begin to develop strategies for bringing families into learning with compassion and purpose.”

The School Checkup evaluates the strength of student-teacher-family relationships across four domains: Learning Environment, Instructional Planning and Delivery, Data-Driven Decision Making, and Student Agency.

The practices offered through the School Checkup are rooted in PowerMyLearning’s Framework for Teachers—an instructional guide that empowers teachers to implement culturally-responsive teaching and accelerate students’ social-emotional learning (SEL) and academic achievement.

PowerMyLearning offers Professional Development (PD) to support teachers and families. With more than a decade of experience delivering PD and strong expertise with remote delivery, PowerMyLearning’s services meet schools at this moment. To date, 84% of participating teachers say PowerMyLearning’s support was among the most valuable they have experienced in their careers.

Interested in bringing this approach to your school or district? Start by taking the School Checkup today at PowerMyLearning.org/Checkup or schedule a free consultation to find out if PowerMyLearning’s services are right for your school or district.

About PowerMyLearning

PowerMyLearning is a national nonprofit that advances educational equity and accelerates students’ social-emotional learning and academic achievement. What sets us apart from other organizations is our focus on activating the exponential power that occurs when the trio of teachers, students, and families collaborate on the same learning goals. 

PowerMyLearning Triangle_Students Families and Teachers

PowerMyLearning offers schools and districts three different areas of programming: Family Playlists (winner of the “Top Ed Tech Products of the Year” award from District Administration), Professional Development, and Online Family Workshops. The organization’s work supports education leaders aiming to reverse systematic denial of educational opportunity based on race, class, language, and learning differences in the United States. To learn more, visit PowerMyLearning.org.

PowerMyLearning’s New Framework for Teachers Addresses the Challenges of Distance and Hybrid Learning

PowerMyLearning’s New Framework for Teachers Addresses the Challenges of Distance and Hybrid Learning

June 30, 2020 | Press Releases

June 30, 2020— With distance and hybrid learning becoming the norm for the foreseeable future, education leaders are searching for ways to support their teachers in delivering strong, engaging instruction and support their families so they can be more effective learning partners.

PowerMyLearning can help. The national nonprofit just launched their new Framework for Teachers, a research-based set of instructional practices that enables educators to activate a learning community where the trio of teachers, families, and students collaborate on the same learning goals—significantly improving student outcomes.

The Framework empowers teachers to implement culturally-responsive teaching and accelerate students’ social-emotional learning (SEL) and academic achievement—whether they’re teaching in-person, remotely, or a hybrid of the two.

For school leaders seeking to advance educational equity—particularly in communities with large numbers of students of color, English language learners, and students from low-income households—family engagement can no longer be a checkbox. The Framework integrates families into teacher practice in a way that actually makes teachers’ work easier and their practice stronger. This integrated approach can be the difference between mediocre and stellar results especially with distance and hybrid learning.

PowerMyLearning Framework for Teachers

Using the Framework, teachers learn how to authentically partner with families across four domains: Learning Environment, Instructional Planning and Delivery, Data-Driven Decision Making, and Student Agency. Each domain describes the best research-based strategies that teachers can put into practice both with students and with families.

The Framework is grounded in core concepts from the research literature:

  • Equity: All students have the capacity to engage in rigorous learning—regardless of race, gender, learning differences, socio-economic status, or background. Students need to feel safe, respected, and valued in order to learn.
  • Family Engagement: Families are essential partners who want success for their children and can be invaluable assets to student learning. With strong communication and trust in place, all families can provide unique insight to teachers, help students set and work toward goals, and support ongoing learning and exploration at home.
  • Social-Emotional Learning: To succeed in school and beyond, students need support developing their social-emotional skills, including opportunities at school and at home to drive their own learning, set and work towards goals, reflect, apply feedback, and collaborate with others.
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching: All students benefit from seeing a diversity of cultures and ideas reflected in instruction and in their classroom environment, and from engaging in rigorous, personalized learning that connects academic concepts to their lived experiences.

To download the Framework for free, visit PowerMyLearning.org/Framework. PowerMyLearning has made this framework available under a Creative Commons license.

PowerMyLearning also has a new set of Professional Development (PD) offerings around the Framework with workshops and coaching that can be delivered remotely and can be tailored to schools’ needs.

PowerMyLearning has more than a decade of experience delivering PD and has strong expertise with remote delivery. To date, 84% of participating teachers say PowerMyLearning’s support was among the most valuable they’ve experienced in their careers.

Interested in bringing this approach to your school or district? Contact Jim McHarg at 877-338-1113 or JMcHarg@powermylearning.org.

About PowerMyLearning

PowerMyLearning is a national nonprofit that advances educational equity and accelerates students’ social-emotional learning and academic achievement. What sets us apart from other organizations is our focus on activating the exponential power that occurs when the trio of teachers, students, and families collaborate on the same learning goals. 

PowerMyLearning Triangle_Students Families and Teachers

Activating this “triangle of learning relationships” can be the difference between mediocre and stellar results in all school communities, including schools with large numbers of students of color, English language learners, and students from low-income families. To learn more visit: PowerMyLearning.org

Free Family Playlists for Schools and Districts Impacted by COVID-19

Free Family Playlists for Schools and Districts Impacted by COVID-19

March 17, 2020 | Press Releases

As a national nonprofit, we are committed to helping school and district leaders who are mobilizing to implement remote learning plans in response to COVID-19. We know how critical it is for you to support students’ learning while also keeping families connected. Family Playlists® can help make that transition smoother.

  • Unlike other online initiatives, Family Playlists use families’ phones, so families can fully participate without having a laptop or computer at home.
  • Family Playlists can be delivered in over 100 languages, ensuring seamless two-way communication between families and teachers.
  • Family Playlists are easy to integrate with Google Classroom and Clever.

PowerMyLearning is offering our Family Playlists program completely free of charge to all schools and districts impacted by COVID-19 from now through August 2020.

If you would like to secure Family Playlists for your school or district, please contact Bill Rappel at 877-338-1113 or BRappel@PowerMyLearning.org, and we’ll get you set up immediately.

ABOUT FAMILY PLAYLISTS

Family Playlists open a direct line of communication between families and teachers around student learning and leverage the Protégé Effect (also known as learning-by-teaching), which increases student comprehension and improves social-emotional learning (SEL) skills. A recent study found that Family Playlists had a statistically significant impact on students’ New York State math scores equivalent to four months of additional learning.

Family Playlists are mobile-friendly, multilingual learning assignments that have students “teach” their families a concept by completing a fun, collaborative activity together. After completing the activity, parents send feedback (and photos and/or video) back to teacher on how it went, including how confident their child seemed teaching the assignment. The resulting reports give teachers valuable assessment data and critical insights that enable them to see their students as whole children.

Asking students to teach their families is especially beneficial for parents stepping into new roles at home. Since the child is “teaching” the content, parents are not expected to know the subject area—they are the learners.

ACCESS STANDARDS-ALIGNED CONTENT AND ROBUST SUPPORT

Family Playlists are available for grades 3-8 in Math, ELA, and Science, with exemplar playlists in K-2 Math and ELA. Teachers will have access to robust support materials and features that make it extra-easy to integrate Family Playlists into their existing curricular scope and sequence.

In addition to Family Playlists, teachers will have full access to our premium digital learning platform, PowerMyLearning Connect: School Edition. The collaborative platform features a vetted selection of high-quality activities, assessments, and interactives for K-12 in addition to on-demand professional development resources.

WE ARE HERE!

PowerMyLearning is already working with over 100 schools and districts nationwide, giving them a scalable way to connect students, teachers, and families around student learning across physical and virtual environments. We are here for you as long as you need.

*Updated: We are now offering a special online workshop “Strategies to Boost Student and Family Engagement During School Closures” free of charge. In addition, to complement our Professional Development, we also offer districts customizable online workshops for families in English and Spanish; these workshops engage families in helping prevent student learning loss during the spring and summer. Click here to learn more.

About PowerMyLearning

PowerMyLearning is a national nonprofit that advances educational equity and accelerates students’ social-emotional learning and academic achievement. What sets us apart from other organizations is our focus on activating the exponential power that occurs when the trio of teachers, students, and families collaborate on the same learning goals. 

PowerMyLearning Triangle_Students Families and Teachers

Activating this “triangle of learning relationships” can be the difference between mediocre and stellar results in all school communities, including schools with large numbers of students of color, English language learners, and students from low-income families. To learn more visit: PowerMyLearning.org

PowerMyLearning Earns Top Ratings from Charity Navigator and GuideStar

PowerMyLearning Earns Top Ratings from Charity Navigator and GuideStar

December  11, 2019 | Press Releases

NEW YORK, December, 11, 2019 –PowerMyLearning, a national education nonprofit, has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for the 12th consecutive year. This distinction sets PowerMyLearning apart from other nonprofits—only 2% of charities have earned a 4-star rating for ten or more years in a row.

Due to strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency, PowerMyLearning also received the 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest level of recognition offered by Guidestar. To reach the Platinum level, PowerMyLearning updated extensive information on its Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar: basic contact and organizational information; in-depth financial information; qualitative information about goals, strategies, and capabilities; and quantitative information about results and progress toward its mission.

“We are thrilled with these accolades from Charity Navigator and Guidestar,” said Elisabeth Stock, CEO and Co-Founder of PowerMyLearning. “They help our supporters see our commitment to following best practices around good governance and financial accountability and transparency.”

PowerMyLearning is a national nonprofit whose mission is to advance educational equity by unlocking the hidden power of effective family engagement. The organization envisions family engagement as a triangle of learning relationships where students, teachers, and families work together as a team to achieve educational success.

PowerMyLearning partners with schools and districts to provide professional development services that improve teacher effectiveness and engage students’ families as partners in classroom learning. Their latest innovation called Family Playlists® “light up” the triangle of learning relationships. Family Playlists are multilingual, mobile-friendly homework assignments that leverage the “learning by teaching” strategy to have students teach what they are learning to a family partner at home. The research-based innovation has proven impact on social emotional learning and student achievement.

For more information, please visit PowerMyLearning’s Charity Navigator page and Guidestar Platinum Level Profile. To learn more about the organization, visit PowerMyLearning.org.

###

Evidence of Family Playlists’ Impact on Math Achievement

Evidence of Family Playlists’ Impact on Math Achievement

A 2019 impact study examined the effects of Family Playlists on seventh grade students’ New York State standardized math test scores.

How effective are Family Playlists?

The study found a statistically significant effect on 2018 seventh grade standardized math test scores for students who were assigned Family Playlists as compared to seventh grade students in the prior year who had the same teachers but were not assigned Family Playlists (p<0.001). The effect sizei (Cohen’s d) was .33—which is well beyond the federal What Works Clearinghouse criteria of .25 for a “substantively important” effect—and equates to four months of additional learning.ii

Three important notes: (1) Family Playlists were very early in their development during this study (the 2017-2018 school year was the first full school year of implementation), and a large number of improvements have been rolled out since then; (2) These results demonstrate a big return for a relatively light touch intervention (teachers are expected to assign a Family Playlist at the end of each unit–approximately once every two weeks–and each Family Playlist takes about 40 minutes to complete); and (3) Family Playlists are “additive” because they are a homework intervention that leverages out-of-school time and can therefore be easily layered on top of other academic interventions without a degradation in impact.iii

Who was included in the study?

The treatment group included 132 students from two district-run schools in the Bronx who were in the seventh grade in 2017-18 and whose teachers began assigning Family Playlists for the first time that school year. The comparison group included 150 seventh-grade students who had the same teachers the prior year (2016-17) and were not assigned Family Playlists. This research methodology was developed with input from the Robin Hood Foundation, an early funder of Family Playlists. The student demographics across both schools in the 2017-18 school year were: 66% Hispanic; 30% African American, 7% English Language Learners, 93% student in poverty, and 24% students with disabilities.

What data were used?

The study used student-level New York State standardized math proficiency ratings for the treatment group (2017 and 2018) and for the comparison group (2016 and 2017). Math proficiency ratings are numeric scores between 1.00 and 4.50 that reflect performance on the statewide math exam and can be compared year over year to show growth in proficiency in grade-level standards. We obtained data for all students for whom we had signed consent forms, per Institutional Review Board guidelines.

What kinds of analyses were done for the study?

This study performed an Intent-to-Treat (ITT) analysis, which is considered a more conservative estimate of impact, and included all seventh-grade students who were assigned Family Playlists, regardless of their level of participation. This study used an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), with group (treatment vs. comparison group) as the independent variable, post-test score as the dependent variable, and pre-test score as the covariate.

What is the underlying evidence base for Family Playlists?

Family Playlists replicate the most successful elements of the “Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork” (TIPS) program from Johns Hopkins University, which has shown more positive and frequent interactions between students and their families and better achievement and emotional outcomes over the control condition.iv Family Playlists also leverage the research on the protégé effect (or learning-by-teaching), which has shown that students who teach others have stronger comprehension and recall of the material than students who do not teach others.v Of the learning strategies described in the book “Learning as a Generative Activity: Eight Learning Strategies that Promote Understanding,” learning-by-teaching had one of the largest effect sizes.vi

What is PowerMyLearning’s Strategic Evidence Plan?

PowerMyLearning’s Strategic Evidence Plan (SEP) is a five-year plan to guide our activities around continuous improvement and ongoing evidence building. In Year 1 (2018-19), our primary focus was on understanding the factors influencing teacher adoption of Family Playlists, with the goal of helping us ensure maximum uptake in as cost-effective a manner as possible. As part of this work, we conducted an A/B randomized control trial to test the impact of personalized “nudges” for teachers, and found promising results that are informing development going forward. In Year 2 of the SEP (2019-20), our primary focus will be optimizing the triangle learning relationships between students, teachers, and families by providing additional supports to help teachers implement Family Playlists at the highest levels of fidelity. We will also conduct research with a professor who has expertise on the protégé effect in order to learn how this learning strategy is impacting student achievement. Years 3 through 5 will include additional work around adoption, optimizing the triangle of learning relationships, and optimizing students’ academic and social-emotional learning outcomes.

References

i Cohen’s d is an effect size used to indicate the difference between the mean values of two sets of data— one treatment and one control—and is measured in units of standard deviation.
ii To convert effect size to months of learning, we relied on a toolkit from the Education Endowment Fund (EEF): https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Toolkit/Toolkit_Manual_2018.pdf.
iii In “The 2 Sigma Problem: The Search for Methods of Group Instruction as Effective as One-to-One Tutoring” [http://www-inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/~cs301/fa14/resources/Bloom_The2SigmaProblem.pdf], Benjamin Bloom wrote about how districts should look for a set of interventions that together can achieve a large impact on student achievement. He described homework interventions as additive to classroom instruction interventions because when these two interventions are implemented concurrently, they have no overlap and add up as expected (e.g., “Homework Intervention” (0.8 SD) + “Classroom Instruction Intervention” (0.7 SD) = 1.5 SD).
iv Voorhis, Frances L. Van. “Adding Families to the Homework Equation: A Longitudinal Study of Mathematics Achievement.” Education and Urban Society, vol. 43, no. 3, 2010, pp. 313–338., doi:10.1177/0013124510380236. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013124510380236.
v Learning as a Generative Activity: Eight Learning Strategies that Promote Understanding.” https://www.amazon.com/Learning-Generative-Activity-Strategies-Understanding/dp/1107069912.
vi Fiorella, Logan, and Richard E. Mayer. “The Relative Benefits of Learning by Teaching and Teaching Expectancy.” Contemporary Educational Psychology, vol. 38, no. 4, 2013, pp. 281–288., doi:10.1016/j.cedpsych.2013.06.001.