Data-Driven Family Engagement Tools for Head Start and State Preschools

Learning Genie is an app for ECE educators and family service workers for Distant Learning and Family Engagement including tracking in-kind. During the COVID-19 crisis, Learning Genie offers free tools till the end of 2020 under a grant (or in-kind) to support all ECE agencies for Distance Learning and track school readiness outcomes.


Learning Genie also provides a useful application for portfolio-building. The portfolio tracking and tagging systems could be readily applied to DRDP 2015, Florida VPK, Head Start (HS), Early Head Start (EHS), Montessori, and other state or private-backed assessment tools.

Best Practices To Achieve Your In-Kind Goals Using Learning Genie

Using Learning Genie is a significant first step toward achieving your In-Kind goals. Our platform provides real-time data to keep track of your results with high frequency. It also allows you to sort and filter the information using different criteria to distinguish each site and classroom to identify strengths and areas of improvement timely and accurately.

Thus, it is important to have an effective implementation process, so your agency can get accurate results from the onset. That is why we want to share with you some best practices you can use during the implementation process and throughout the year to ensure your agency reaches its goals.


Make sure everyone is engaged!

First, you must ensure all your staff and families are logged into the Learning Genie platform. For this endeavor, you will receive full support from our Customer Success Team, who will train you and your staff on how to use our platform, create your accounts, and help families get on the parent app.

Through our detailed training process, your staff will become familiar and comfortable with our user-friendly platform. Your staff will also receive training on how to get parents onboard and how to help them overcome typical technology challenges. Once your team has confidence with the platform, our parents will be at ease and will enjoy seeing the communications from your agency and their teachers.

Additionally, successful completion of the onboarding process will ensure that all the families in your program receive all the at-home activities and assignments that your teachers and/or family service workers send. With this platform, it will be easier for your agency to engage with families and positively impact your Non-Federal Share through the activities completed by the families in your program.

Let’s take a look at the positive impact it has on an agency to ensure a high parent onboarding rate:

This organization obtained an 87% onboarding rate of families in the program. Only 4% of the families did not receive the invitation, and 9% of them received it but did not login into the Parent App:

Some of the actions that allowed this agency to have a great onboarding process were the following:

Additionally, Learning Genie gives the possibility to take a look at each site to identify which of them has the lowest onboarding rate and check if staff and/or families from those sites need further training or support:

This agency did a great job with the families’ onboarding. However, they could use Learning Genie’s reports to understand where the action is needed and work with those specific sites and their staff to understand why parents are not onboarded and take steps to onboard those who can.

With this first step of the implementation process adequately done, the agency could focus further efforts on engaging with families and harnessing that engagement with at-home activities to increase their in-kind collection.

Track your In-Kind collection and Family Engagement

While you’re getting your families onboarded, you can start sending activities to the families in your program so they can see the activities and announcements. You can immediately start tracking and boosting your in-kind collection. Learning Genie makes the entire process easier and more efficient. As your agency starts assigning activities through the platform, you will realize the amount of time and workload saved compared to the traditional ways.

Some good practices you can implement to have great results with at-home activities and family engagement are the following:

However, being able to assign activities easily and quickly is only one part of the process. Your agency must also be able to track the in-kind activities and collection in real-time and pinpoint each site’s performance to determine where support is needed.

For example, the selected agency was able to track month by month how its sites were sending in-kind  activities to all the parents in the program and increase their amount over time.

January 2021

April 2022

Engagement by Center

Consistently tracking activities allowed the agency to identify which were engaging more with families and what type of activities they were using. Therefore the agency could replicate the practices from those sites agency-wide. By doing this, the organization could increase the number of active parents in the app by 131% from January 2021 until December 2021 and sustain high participation during 2022:



Through these practices, the agency could have a great onboarding process and ensure its staff and the families in its program were actively participating. Then, it is time to confirm all the activities were contributing to their in-kind collection.

Get all in-kind activities approved!

When you assign activities to the families in your program, your staff must approve them once parents complete them so they can count as in-kind. Therefore, having a straightforward approval process is fundamental to achieving your in-kind collection goals.

Some suggestions to ensure you don’t have an excessive number of pending activities are the following:


In our case study, this was the agency’s main area of improvement. When they looked at activities pending approval, they realized there were sites with a small number of classrooms and children with many activities pending, and some of those activities were pending approval for a few months:

This discovery allowed the agency to take action and seize the opportunity to coach its staff about the importance of approving the activities so they could count on its in-kind collection. It also provided the capability to follow up on those particular sites struggling with this task and check on their improvement over time.


Ultimately, these best practices helped the agency to increase the total amount of in-kind it collected from its start date in September 2021 until May 2022:

Now, let’s take a look at the in-kind collected in September 2021 and compare it with the in-kind collected in April 2022 (the entire last month):

September 2021

April 2022

Looking it month by month, you can see how the agency had a steady growth in its in-kind collection from its start date until the last evaluated month:

As this agency benefited from using Learning Genie and was capable of increasing its in-kind collection steadily, you and your organization can also do it. These practices are easy to implement as Learning Genie provides all the information you need and is a much easier process than your current one.

It’s time to start implementing processes based on real-time data that allow you to easily capture and increase your in-kind collection and boost your non-federal match!