Who We Are
Project Appleseed is a leading advocate for public school families in America, working to empower parents and communities to take an active role in their children's education and advocate for policies that support student success.
Kevin Walker, an African-American public school parent and grandparent, founded our organization in 1993 in St. Louis, Missouri, after recognizing the need for more active and engaged families in the educational process. The organization's mission is to make family engagement a systemic, integrated, and sustained school improvement strategy, with a focus on low-income and under-served families and schools.
Project Appleseed's programs and initiatives have had a significant impact on schools and communities across the country. One of the organization's most notable achievements is the establishment of National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week. These events are celebrated annually in thousands of schools and have helped to raise awareness about the importance of parental involvement in education.
National Parental Involvement Day, established in 1994, celebrated on the third Thursday of November, is a day dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the vital role that parents play in their children's education. Schools across the country participate in this event by hosting activities and events that promote parental involvement and engagement.
Public School Volunteer Week, established in 1997, celebrated during the first full week of April, recognizes and celebrates the contributions of parent and community volunteers in public schools. Schools across the country participate in this event by hosting activities and events that highlight the impact of volunteerism on student success.
Project Appleseed's efforts have also helped to improve the education outcomes for students in Title I schools by increasing the level of parent and community involvement in these schools. Project Appleseed advised the Clinton White House on the parental involvement provisions of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1994, 2002 and 2015. This helped to ensure that the law recognized the critical role that parents play in their children's education and provided funding for programs and activities that support parent involvement.
The organization utilizes the Six Types of Parental Involvement from Dr. Joyce Epstein's research to engage with families and offers resources for both educators and parents, including a comprehensive program for increasing parent involvement Family Engagement Toolbox, which has been implemented in thousands of schools nationwide. Project Appleseed provides training and professional development for educators and parents through the Traveling Workshop and Family Engagement Toolbox Training, which reaches educators and parents from Hawaii to New York.
Who We Reach
Project Appleseed's impact reverberates across the education landscape, reaching thousands of schools, millions of family members, and influential stakeholders through our signature events. Our organization's unwavering commitment to fostering parental involvement in public schools has garnered widespread recognition, both online and offline, establishing Project Appleseed as a trusted and invaluable resource for improving education outcomes. The reach and highlights of our efforts are as follows:
Google Search Engine Visibility: Project Appleseed's online presence is formidable, with over 75,000 active school links to our esteemed signature events, namely Public School Volunteer Week and National Parental Involvement Day. This robust presence on the Google search engine platform allows us to engage with a vast audience and disseminate our mission to a wide range of individuals.
Statewide Observances: Our impact extends to all 50 states, as dozens of state departments of education recognize and observe our events. Through these statewide observances, Project Appleseed effectively reaches approximately 20,000 schools each academic year. By collaborating with education authorities at the state level, we are able to amplify our message and engage with educational institutions on a significant scale.
Broad Family Participation: Project Appleseed takes great pride in the active participation of over 3 million family members in our signature events, Public School Volunteer Week and National Parental Involvement Day, every year. This broad engagement showcases the commitment and enthusiasm of families in partnering with schools to create a nurturing and enriching educational environment for their children.
The Widely Used Learning Compact: Project Appleseed's promotion of the Parent Engagement Pledge has resulted in the widespread adoption of this learning compact throughout the United States. As a testament to its impact, the Parent Engagement Pledge stands as the most widely used learning compact in the country. By encouraging parents, teachers, and schools to collaboratively commit to student success, this compact fosters a culture of involvement and support within the education community.
Extensive Newsletter Reach: Appleseed Today, our informative newsletter, reaches an expansive audience of nearly 80,000 individuals. This readership includes superintendents, nonprofit leaders, legislators, and teacher leadership across all states. By leveraging our newsletter's extensive reach, Project Appleseed is able to disseminate valuable insights, resources, and success stories, fostering ongoing dialogue and collaboration among key stakeholders in the education sector.
By 2025 Project Appleseed plans to expand the reach of both events to 30,000 public schools, reaching 15 million students and 8 million families.
Our Media History
Here's a look back at the oldest family engagement events in America! National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week cannot take place without the support of parents, educators, school boards, sponsors, partners, speakers, staff, and the attendees themselves. Project Appleseed wants to show our gratitude to all those who helped make National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week a success:
Legacy Media Features
Project Appleseed has been recognized by various news organizations and publications for its work in promoting parental involvement in education. In 1999, Teacher magazine named Kevin Walker, the founder of Project Appleseed, as one of the "most influential Americans who shaped education in the last decade of the 20th century." In the next year, Parenting Magazine honored Walker with the Parenting Leader Award for his efforts to improve public education in the United States. Conde Nast's EcoSalon called Project Appleseed one of ”10 Unsung Nonprofits That Should Be Household Words" for the organizations work.