Spotlight on Growth: TalkingPoints

In a new series titled “Spotlight On,” we’re sitting down with nonprofit leaders from across the education sector to dive deeper into how their organizations have unlocked innovation, built evidence, and achieved growth.

Through these conversations, we’ll explore the latest ideas and research shaping the education landscape today, with a close look at the evidence-based programs and solutions at the forefront of accelerating improvement in key academic and socioemotional outcomes for children, from birth through high school. Our grantee partners will share insight into their successes, lessons learned, and, as they look ahead to the future, the critical questions, challenges, and opportunities that remain for the education and philanthropic sectors at large.

Our inaugural Spotlight on Growth features Lina Eroh, Senior Director of Communications at Overdeck Family Foundation, in conversation with Heejae Lim, founder and CEO of TalkingPoints, an edtech nonprofit with a mission to unlock the potential of families to fuel their children’s learning, especially in under-resourced communities.

TalkingPoints’ research-backed universal family engagement platform connects families and schools using human and AI-powered, two-way translated communication and personalized support and coaching for improving student outcomes.

“Families face a lot of challenges. And it's not just the families—it's families, educators, and school districts. So [at TalkingPoints] we really think about: what are the barriers to effective family-school partnerships and family engagement that everyone faces?”

Since its founding in 2015, TalkingPoints has scaled nationwide to meet school demand and reach more families. This school year, the organization anticipates reaching approximately four million students and their families—a number that is on track to nearly double by 2026. Today, TalkingPoints is utilized in one out of every two U.S. school districts, including 10 of the 20 largest districts.

“Our early growth was fueled by word of mouth between teachers and families, showing that our solution was so greatly needed,” said Heejae. “Since then, we’ve started partnering with school districts to drive systems-level change and shift family engagement from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must-have,’ and from a goal in and of itself to a strategy that drives student outcomes and equitable outcomes.”

To more deeply understand its impact, TalkingPoints conducted a quasi-experimental design study in 2022 comparing student achievement at schools that were early adopters of the platform to students at schools that adopted the program model later. Findings suggest that students at TalkingPoints schools whose families engaged with the platform had higher test scores, better grades, and lower absenteeism rates than those at schools that had not implemented TalkingPoints. This pattern was even more pronounced for traditionally underserved students, including Black students, Latino students, students with disabilities, and English language learners.

Watch the full interview to learn more about TalkingPoints’ growth strategy and how the organization is tapping into the power of AI to personalize communication between teachers and families and drive family engagement best practices for teachers.