Parent Toolkit Helps Navigate a Child's Educational Journey

NBC News Education Nation // Pearson


The Challenge

The Parent Toolkit, produced by Education Nation and sponsored by Pearson, is a pioneering, interactive, and easy-to-use digital resource that helps parents participate in their child’s academic success and personal growth.

NBC News and Pearson felt strongly that parents - in addition to students, teachers, administrators, and policy makers - must play a critical role in the national conversation about U.S. education, and they should be equipped with the tools to do so.

The goal of the Parent Toolkit was to create and distribute a first-rate, user-friendly digital resource so that parents can help their children succeed in school and beyond. The Toolkit is based on research showing that children do better in all measures of learning and life - test scores, school attendance, graduation rates, improved behavior, and levels of higher education - when their parents are deeply involved in their children’s education.

The Solution

The Parent Toolkit combines elegant web design with an easy-to-use interface and excellent content to provide parents and teachers with the resources they need to help children succeed. The web design features a school-appropriate ruler motif, large photos of children at each grade level, and easy-to-use features.

While many resources for parents address only a specific grade level or academic subject, the Parent Toolkit provides an academic growth chart that serves as a clear and interactive guide for what is expected of students at each step in their educational journey, from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Parents select their child’s grade level, and they’re presented with a series of expected skills and milestones for that grade in mathematics and language arts.

The toolkit also offers a holistic set of tips for parents in mathematics and language arts to help parents engage in and monitor their child’s academic development. Finally, there are grade-specific parent-teacher conference guides that help parents make the most of these important meetings. The guides begin with a comprehensive overview of information that every parent needs to know, then break down the factors that distinguish elementary, middle, and high school conferences. They include a checklist of items that parents should bring up and offer suggestions for areas of discussion for each grade.

Connections Media also developed The Parent Toolkit app, which provides even more personalization for parents. The app is now available to download for free on the iPhone and Android mobile devices.


The Results

More than 75,000 parents from all 50 states have used the Parent Toolkit from its launch on October 8, 2013 through January 21, 2014, with the most popular users being women ages 35-44. Total visits to the Toolkit since October exceed 93,000. Page views topped 173,000 and average pages per visit hit 1.86. Almost 18 percent of visits came directly to the site, and almost 16 percent came through social media channels.

Some 26,000 people printed out tools and advice from the site, actions that show that users are deeply engaged with the Toolkit’s content and are using it as an offline resource. Most popular printouts were the tips for parents on what to do at home to help their children learn mathematics and language arts during primary grades. Printouts of the tips for parents preparing for parent-teacher conferences were also popular.

The site has been given numerous awards and recognition for its beautiful design and functionality. ParentToolkit.com received the AIGA DC 50 Award for its design, and was honored with the silver Pollie Award for a national public affairs website from the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC). The site also won the 2014 Webby Award for the Family/Parenting category.


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