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.

The Family Needs Assessment Follow-Up Process for Continuous Quality Improvement

The Family Needs Assessment has proven its worth and how valuable the information it provides can be. It gives you an overview of the needs and strengths of families in your community and accurate information regarding demographic trends when you complete it using innovative technology, such as Learning Genie.

Historically, agencies develop their action plan for the year after getting the results from the Family Needs Assessment. However, they rarely evaluate whether the activities and services fulfill the families’ needs during the year and wait until it is over to ask families if they were satisfied with the services provided.

This lack of evaluation prevents agencies from...

Learning Genie identified the value of conducting a mid-year Family Needs Assessment follow-up survey. This survey will allow us to inquire about families' receipt of essential services and assess their effectiveness. To streamline this process, a solution has been developed within our digital platform.

At Learning Genie, we understand the significant benefits a Family Needs Assessment follow-up survey can bring to your agency. We’ll show you those benefits and how to easily complete the process through our platform.

Benefits Of The Family Needs Assessment Follow-Up Survey

The follow-up survey regarding the Family Needs Assessment allows agencies to evaluate if their program is obtaining the desired results, point out new needs and changes, and adjust services and activities provided to families according to the latest findings. Ultimately, this makes it easier to achieve continuous quality improvement and ensures the community’s needs are met across the year.

Nevertheless, it is not a current practice among agencies due to the overwhelming workload conducting a Family Needs Assessment survey entails. Acquiring all the paper forms needed to cover the families, conducting interviews and doing focus groups to help parents fill out the questionnaires, compiling the information, and inputting it into a database are some of the tasks involved in this process. Overall, it becomes a high-cost and demanding process that overrides all the benefits it provides.

That is why Learning Genie has brought all its technology and innovation to make Family Needs Assessment follow-up surveys a tangible and accessible possibility to empower agencies to achieve results . Let’s look at the process now!

Create And Upload Your Questionnaire

One of the main aspects of the Family Needs Assessment follow-up survey is that it must be concise. Instead of covering a wide range of topics, it should focus on asking questions about the services you provide to the community to fulfill their initial needs. Therefore, when designing the survey, you must ensure it contains the following questions:

The second central aspect is that a Family Needs Assessment  follow-up survey should not take weeks to create, distribute and complete. It must be an easy and timely process that promptly gives accurate results so your agency can make decisions and adjustments as soon as possible. By using Learning Genie, you will have access to several templates that are ready to use, and at the same time, you will be able to create your personalized survey.

Ensure High Coverage And Completion Rates in Your Family Needs Assessment

To accomplish the purpose of the survey, you need to ensure that you can reach all families in your community and that they fill it out. Otherwise, you will not have a significant enough sample to get accurate results regarding changes in the demographic trends, gaps in the services you provide, and new needs to address.

To cover this fundamental aspect of the Family Needs Assessment follow-up survey, Learning Genie allows you to send the survey directly to all your onboarded parents as soon as you create the questionnaire. You can select all the sites and classrooms you want and immediately guarantee that all families will receive them, ensuring a 100% coverage rate.

Once you have sent the survey, to ensure that you also get a high completion rate, all parents will see a pop-up notification in their app, asking them to complete the questionnaire.

Parents can click directly on the notification, and the app will redirect them to answer the questions.

However, parents might not have the time to complete the questionnaire when they see the notification. To ensure they can return to it, it will be visible in their app’s feed, and you will also have the option to send reminders to ask them to fill out the survey before the deadline.

Family Needs Assessment Data Analysis: How It Looks And What You Can Do

At this point, you have been able to create your Family Needs Assessment, send it to all parents and ensure you get as many answers as possible. It has been a timely process and has not required a considerable investment. Now, it’s time to collect the data and analyze it.

Traditionally, collecting data from surveys implied a tremendous workload as you needed to go over hundreds or thousands of paper forms and input the information into a database. This task is time-consuming; by the end, your agency might miss weeks to make changes and adjust the course of action.

Understand how to use the Family Needs Assessment survey comparison tool in the below video:

Let's see some Family Needs Assessment real life examples

For example, let’s say your agency discovered these five primary needs in your community through the Family Needs Assessment: Learning English as a second language, Medical Assistance, Housing, Job Readiness, and Expanding parents’ education:

However, after completing the follow-up survey in the middle of the year, you identified a change in these needs. There is interest growth for one of them: financial assistance.

You have identified a growing need to address during the year’s second half. However, you don’t want to stop there; you want to know where to focus your efforts to make sure you address this need appropriately. Therefore, you can segment data by site:

After segmenting the information, you concluded that this need grew in all of your sites, so you should address it agency-wide. This is just an example of what you can do when you have the right tool to work. 

All these features save you significant resources, such as time, workforce, and space, and allow you to focus all your efforts on taking the data and drawing conclusions about the services you provide to fulfill your community’s needs. What used to take weeks can be done in a matter of days!

How to turn results into real change? Introducing the PDSA Cycle


The PDSA Cycle (Plan-Do-Study-Act) is a systematic process for continually gaining valuable learning and knowledge to improve a product, process, or service. It is a proactive, ongoing practice to improve internal work processes and increase program quality.

As its name suggests, the cycle has four stages, as shown in the following diagram:

Given the current situation and the challenges associated with Family Needs Assessment surveys, we believe agencies tend to implement this cycle in the following manner.

Although agencies might get valuable conclusions from their Family Needs Assessment at the end of the year, the way they complete the process makes it inefficient. This leads to missing the opportunity to reassess and adjust their action plan earlier to reach continuous quality improvement.

Technology and innovation have reduced the costs of time, workload, space, and investment usually linked with this process, making the PDSA Cycle easy to implement with all the iterations agencies consider necessary. Now, with tools such as Learning Genie, they can complete surveys at any time of the year without impacting their regular operations and can have frequent evaluation periods about their program’s quality to act towards improvement.


Technology and innovation have removed the main obstacles agencies face regarding data collection. Paperwork, long periods acquiring data and compiling it, significant workforce investments, and tedious analyzing exercises are problems from the past.

Now, acquiring data is an easy, timely, and accessible process. With the help of technology, agencies can do tasks that took weeks or even months to do in a matter of days and get better and deeper information about their communities and the program than ever before.

Additionally, innovation has opened the door for implementing frequent and iterative evaluation cycles, such as PDSA. With their implementation, agencies can have real-time feedback and understanding of their programs’ development, make adjustments quickly, and ensure they progress towards continuous quality improvement.

There is no time to waste! Let’s take Head Start to the next level!