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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

PowerMyLearning in Greater Atlanta Presents Inspire 2019

Inspired to Serve: PowerMyLearning Partners with Several of Atlanta’s Top Companies to Provide Access to Digital Training and Resources to Underserved Atlanta Students

The educational non-profit to host its annual Inspire event, with a goal of collecting more than $250,000 in sponsorships and donations.

Inspire 2019

ATLANTA, Aug. 19—PowerMyLearning in Greater Atlanta is proud to announce the 2019 sponsors for its 12th annual Inspire fundraising event, taking place Sep. 7 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Since 2007, PowerMyLearning in Greater Atlanta has partnered with more than 40 schools to deliver digital training and computer equipment to students in the community, serving more 23,000 children, families, and teachers. Inspire is the premier annual fundraising event for PowerMyLearning.

2019 Inspire sponsors include:

  • GE (Presenting Sponsor)
  • Aarons
  • ATP
  • Infor
  • Georgia Pacific
  • SiteOne
  • The Cumberland Group
  • GasSouth
  • Google
  • Verizon
  • 3i People
  • Accenture
  • CED Solutions
  • CGI
  • GaggleAmp
  • Granite Telecommunications
  • Higher Gear CIO
  • Insight
  • iVision
  • The Judge Group
  • NCR
  • Stratix
  • Tsys
  • VLink Solutions
  • Wipro

The 2019 fundraising goal of $250,000 has already been achieved, thanks to the generous support of these sponsors and other donors. PowerMyLearning is now working toward its stretch goal of $300,000 by the evening of the event.

“What our sponsors have collectively accomplished on behalf of our community humbles our team and strengthens our resolve. We are confident in our mission and our purpose,” said PowerMyLearning Atlanta Executive Director Richard Hicks. “Inspire 2019 is set to be our best event yet, and we can’t wait to share our stories of triumph and achievement to this community of technologists and philanthropists. We are so grateful for all of the support.”

The funds raised at Inspire and through other PowerMyLearning initiatives throughout the year are used to strengthen the home to school connection by providing educational workshops, home computers and technical support to families who might not otherwise have access to technology. Families receive fully equipped laptops and training on digital tools that inspire success beyond the classroom.

James Tidwell’s son Kenneth attends the Hollis Innovation Academy in Atlanta’s historic westside community. The family received a laptop at the family learning workshop hosted by PowerMyLearning.

“Kenneth is taking time to talk more with me about school and showing me things that are going on with his schoolwork,” said Tidwell. “Having the laptop from PowerMyLearning has honestly been a blessing we couldn’t afford otherwise, and it allows him access to the resources he needs to help him with schoolwork.”

Meloni Gray’s daughter MaNiya attends Hapeville Middle School, a Title I school. Gray says the laptop her daughter received through PowerMyLearning has been a huge benefit to her family. “We are now able to complete assignments and communicate with teachers efficiently,” she said. “Before we had to go to the library to work on assignments.”

PowerMyLearning aims to continue its mission of helping students in low-income communities, together with their teachers and families, harness the power of digital learning to improve educational outcomes and inspire a passion for STEM.

For more information, contact Oneisha Freeman, Senior Program Manager at PowerMyLearning Greater Atlanta by emailing ofreeman@PowerMyLearning.org or by calling (404) 367-9990 Ext. 504.


The Morgridge Family Foundation Donates $125,000 to Help Teachers Engage Families in Learning

The Morgridge Family Foundation Donates $125,000 to Help Teachers Engage Families in Learning

October 9, 2018 | Press Releases

NEW YORK, October 9, 2018—PowerMyLearning, a national education nonprofit, is launching an exciting partnership with DonorsChoose.org whereby teachers can secure exclusive access to Family Playlists™, a groundbreaking research-based approach to engaging families in learning. Thanks to generous support from the Morgridge Family Foundation, teachers can participate in the PowerMyLearning Family Engagement Innovators Program, a new professional development opportunity focused on Family Playlists, for a fraction of the total cost.

Participating teachers will learn how to strengthen the “triangle” of learning relationships between students, families, and teachers using Family Playlists. As reported in The New York Times, Family Playlists are a mobile-friendly and multilingual innovation that put students in the teacher’s seat at home while driving mastery and social emotional learning skills.

The PowerMyLearning Family Engagement Innovators Program is designed for teachers in grades 3-8, with a particular focus on Math, ELA and Science teachers. In addition to Family Playlists access, participating teachers will receive:

  • Three hands-on online professional development sessions led by PowerMyLearning family engagement experts. Teachers will receive an official Certificate of Completion upon completing all three sessions.
  • A free year-long subscription to the award-winning PowerMyLearning Connect: School Edition platform for the participant AND four additional teachers at the school.

Thanks to the Morgridge Family Foundation’s 5x match, teachers need to raise just a fraction of the total cost to participate in the program. To begin their DonorsChoose.org project, teachers can visit this DonorsChoose.org help center article and follow the listed steps:

  1. Log into org and create a new “Standard” project.
  2. Shop through AKJ Education.
  3. Search for “PowerMyLearning Family Engagement Innovators Program.”
  4. The match offer will apply to the project as soon as it’s approved and live on the site. (Note: only projects exclusively requesting this item will be considered for the match offer.)

“I’m excited about the potential of this opportunity for teachers to start using Family Playlists,” said Carrie Morgridge, vice president of the Morgridge Family Foundation. “The impact of one or more teachers starting this initiative at their school is huge. Providing families with a new way to support their children’s learning and connecting loving family members with dedicated teachers will make all the difference needed to make sure students thrive. It’s bound to catch fire the next year throughout the entire school.”

Educators can create a project through DonorsChoose.org starting on October 9. The Morgridge Family Foundation will donate $125,000, helping to fund over 200 projects. For teachers who complete fundraising by October 31, the program will start in November 2018. For teachers who complete fundraising by December 31, the program will start in January 2019.

Since launching Family Playlists in 2017, PowerMyLearning has seen incredible results at schools and districts nationwide. One teacher who works at a district public school in New York City said, “This school year, the most valuable experience was the implementation of Family Playlists, which united myself, my kids, and their families by a magic bridge. For the first time, learning truly extended from school to my students’ homes.”

About PowerMyLearning

At PowerMyLearning, we believe that students are most successful when supported by a triangle of strong learning relationships between students, teachers, and families. We partner with schools and districts nationwide to transform teaching and family engagement through innovative coaching and workshops, and through our award-winning digital platform, PowerMyLearning Connect. As a nonprofit, PowerMyLearning is especially committed to students from low-income communities, students with learning differences, and English Language Learners. To learn more about PowerMyLearning, visit www.powermylearning.org.

Stacey Williams
Managing Director of External Relations, PowerMyLearning
212-563-7300 x163