Springboard Collaborative

Empowering Low-Income Parents to Raise a Generation of Readers

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Parents’ love for their children is the single greatest—and most underutilized—natural resource in education. At Springboard Collaborative, we are catalyzing a culture shift, making family engagement in education the new normal.Picture a child’s time as an orange. Their classroom experience—just 25% of waking hours—is a wedge from which the education sector is fixated on squeezing more juice. Springboard helps schools juice the rest of the orange, transforming outcomes by harnessing the untapped potential in family engagement.Springboard coaches teachers and low-income parents to help kids read on grade level. In a nation where you can draw a straight line from 4th grade reading scores to incarceration rates, this changes lives.We envision a world in which all children have the requisite literacy skills to access life opportunities. In pursuit of the vision, Springboard will help 100,000 children reach reading goals by 2023 and 1,000,000 by 2027.

Problem Statement

Low-income parents—often perceived as liabilities rather than as assets—have been left out of the teaching process. With limited access to learning time, their children make slow academic progress during the schoolyear and experience chronic regressions over summer. Research finds up to two-thirds of the high school achievement gap is attributable to summer learning loss in elementary school.Low educational attainment leads to financial hardship. McKinsey found that the achievement gap costs the US economy $300-500B annually. Alongside this economic imperative is an ideological one: America’s promise remains unfulfilled while the achievement gap persists.Teachers and parents have a shared stake in working toward a solution:Teachers are the experts on instruction. They know what students need to make progress. However, the classroom setting makes it difficult to provide individual support.Parents are the experts on their children. Whereas teachers change annually, parents accumulate a wealth of knowledge about their children as learners and are uniquely positioned to read with them one-on-one. There’s no smaller classroom than a family’s living room, and there’s no better way to personalize instruction than through a parent. What could be more personal than sharing a book at bedtime?Springboard is ahead of the field proving that low-income parents are willing and able to teach—for free! This creates enormous leverage. For every hour a teacher leads a family workshop, parents deliver ~25 hours of instruction at home. By better leveraging the people and assets already in school communities, Springboard helps students double their annual reading progress.

Solution Overview

Springboard Collaborative coaches teachers and family members to help students kids read on grade level. Our offerings combine personalized instruction for pre-K through third-graders, workshops training parents to teach reading at home, and professional development for teachers. we envision a world in which all children have the requisite literacy skills to access life opportunities.In pursuit of the vision, Springboard will help 100,000 children reach reading goals by 2023 and 1,000,000 children by 2027.The path forward consists of five main elements: - Flagship programs: Our flagship Summer and Afterschool programs double students’ annual reading progress through parent-teacher collaboration.- Franchised programs: We successfully launched an affiliate model through which Springboard trains and certifies leaders to implement our playbook in their context for half the cost.- Family engagement blueprint: We distilled the best practices from our programs and wove them into a framework for embedding family engagement into the school day, school year, and—ultimately—the school culture.- Marketplace: We created an a la carte menu of products and services that drive impact, scale, and financial sustainability. This includes a home literacy app, our family workshop curriculum, and teacher training modules.- Springboard as an idea: Finally, we are distilling Springboard into an open-source methodology for engaging parents that can become ubiquitous. We aim to catalyze a culture shift, making family engagement in education the new normal. It took decades for the sector to embrace the idea that all children can learn. It is Springboard’s ambition—and our charge—to prove that all parents can teach.

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Project Funders

  • Bezos Family Foundation 2019 - 2022
  • New Profit 2019 - 2022
  • A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation 2019

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