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.

Discover How Digital In-Kind Collection Can Impact Your Agency

Meeting the non-federal match is fundamental for every Head Start and Early Head Start agency, and in-kind donations are essential to meet this mandate. Programs and grants deeply rely on how in-kind donations are collected and documented. However, collection and documentation can be a convoluted process that can lead to missed details, inaccuracies, incorrect calculations, and problems around their validation.

Opening the door to a digital collection of all in-kind donations could have a remarkable impact on your agency. Using a digital platform to collect in-kind data will eliminate the need to hold and file paperwork, reduce the workload for your staff, decrease human error, and give you the possibility to create at-home activities for families that can count as in-kind.


Eliminate paperwork

From now on, paper forms are no longer needed to collect your in-kind. Digital tools, such as Learning Genie, offer a pre-loaded library filled with allowable in-kind activities and allow you to create a customized library from which your teachers can assign at-home activities to parents.

As parents complete the activities, they can easily enter the information into the digital platform, sign with their finger on the phone screen, and hit submit so your staff can review and approve it.

The whole process is completed through an app or website. As reports are submitted and approved, its software can generate real-time data and calculations onto an in-kind dashboard to track all activities for continuous quality improvement. You will save time and have real-time display data for review and monitoring, ready to be used by your fiscal department.

On the other hand, having all your in-kind records stored digitally will help you ensure compliance with the Head Start Performance Standards. According to Part 1303.24

“(a) A program must maintain child records in a manner that ensures only parents, and officials within the program or acting on behalf of the program have access, and such records must be destroyed within a reasonable timeframe after such records are no longer needed or required to be maintained.” (

By using a digital platform, you will ensure that only parents and authorized personnel can access in-kind records through their personal accounts. At the same time, you will avoid any missing paperwork containing sensitive information and will prevent leaks. All the information will be always at your disposal for you to keep track, and you will ensure that all Privacy and Confidentiality rights are met and protected.

All you need is an E-Signature!

Every in-kind activity has to be signed to be submitted and approved, and you should not have any delays or missing in-kind because of the lack of a simple signature. That’s why E-Signatures must be included in every digital in-kind submission platform. Before any activity report can be submitted, the in-kind software prompts a box in which parents and volunteers have to input their signatures using their fingers and does not give them the option to submit their report unless they have previously signed it.

At the same time, as your staff receives all the in-kind submissions, they are also prompted a reminder to digitally sign the approval before it can be completed. Like parents and volunteers, your staff only needs to input their signature into the report using their mouse so the approval can go through, and the platform automatically adds all the information to your in-kind dashboard.

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Ensure In-Kind Accuracy

Moving to a digital process of assigning, completing, and reporting in-kind from the beginning can make it much more efficient and error-free. Adding in-kind activities to digital platforms has to be a straightforward process you can complete through its apps or websites. As you also can select pre-loaded activities, you will completely reduce the risk of having unallowable in-kind.

Additionally, as most digital platforms automatically calculate all in-kind submissions, you will not need to do any manual calculations or spreadsheet tabulations. You can eliminate mathematical errors that could affect your in-kind totals.

However, a well-developed software must go beyond the basic process of completing and submitting in-kind activities and provide real-time data broken down into the types of in-kind you are collecting. This reporting feature is essential in ensuring continuous quality improvement. You can use your real-time data to address gaps immediately and ensure that you meet your in-kind goals annually!

Let’s Increase Your In-Kind!

Digital in-kind collection presents considerable opportunities to increase your in-kind. You will have a wide range of allowable, home-based activities that can be easily assigned, completed, and submitted. Your staff workload will be reduced, and their daily tasks will be completed efficiently. Parents and volunteers will find the process less time-consuming, allowing them to focus on their children and be more engaged.

Adopting digital tools and platforms means...

These tools will also automatically generate and organize all the data. You can keep track of your progress consistently and in real-time through an in-kind dashboard and summary reports. Therefore, you can take immediate action to address any gaps and ensure your goals are met annually.