The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) recently announced a new initiative that’s focused on encouraging parents, community partners, and families to work together to improve student outcomes, according to this statement from the school board. The initiative is called “BE ENGAGED ®,” and its focus of bringing students’ educational stakeholders together is not a new one, but it is an incredibly important element in ensuring student growth, success, and sustainability. The initiative is “powered” through an intuitive app called “PimPoints.” The app will essentially reward parents with a digital reward currency also called “PimPoints” for simply engaging in their child’s education in ways that they likely already participate in.
For instance, parents attending their child’s school’s open house or participating in a parent-teacher conference are two activities that a parent is likely already making time for, but they would also reward parents with “PimPoints” for their time. This way, parents already thoroughly engaged in their child’s educational life are receiving additional rewards, and this incentive will also attract other parents to keep a closer eye on the child’s school calendar of events.
In addition to reward tracking, the app will also track the school’s events for parents and alert them with notifications for additional opportunities to be engaged at their child’s school. Parents will also be notified on behalf of the school with general information about student learning. Parents participating in these student learning engagement events will be able to exchange their earned PimPoints for coupons and digital rewards that have been provided by local businesses. And it’s this specific exchange that brings together a student’s community, school, and parents/guardiansin a way that not only keeps everyone engaged in student growth but also at the forefront of educational synergy.
Additionally, this initiative could not have come at a better time, as November has recently been announced by Governor John Bel Edwards as “National Family Engagement Month,” making this initiative quite timely and beneficial.
The Parent and Family Engagement Coordinator for the LDOE, Dr. Antigua Hunter said of the initiative, “LEAP assessment results show that there is a great amount of intervention that has to take place at all levels and innovative methods and unconventional thinking is warranted. We cannot sit around and watch our children be impacted by the lack of engagement. Now is the time for parents, families, and communities to be engaged!”
As defined by the LDOE’s newly-developed Birth-12 BE ENGAGED® Framework, family engagement is “an empowering partnership among families, educators, practitioners and communities with shared responsibility for the personal success of children and youth.” The state also cited a 2018 Global Family Research Project study that called family engagement “one of the most powerful predictors of social-emotional development, educational attainment and success in both school and life for children and youth.”
The PimPoints app will officially launch on Apple and Android devices starting November 15, 2021. Additionally, local businesses can find out how to include their services within the app by contacting their nearest school district’s Parent and Family Engagement Coordinator, particularly the roster of the 2021-2022 Parent and Family Engagement Coordinators, organized by district.
The LDOE has shared its reasoning for establishing the Birth-12 BE ENGAGED® Framework,
in saying that “the Department of Education gathered various stakeholders (families, community partners, educational professionals) to collaborate to ensure the development of a comprehensive family engagement framework for Louisiana families and children. The Framework was developed to guide the school systems and early childhood community networks to support intentional planning of policies and practices and implementation of high-quality family engagement practices.”
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