Teacher and Blackboard

High impact family engagement isn’t just about which evidenced based practices to employ. It’s also about creating an energy and excitement about parenting. Schools must promote parenting with an enthusiasm that inspires the entire community to support every student.

About us

Organized Family Engagement

Project Appleseed is a leading advocate for public school families in America. We are a genuine grassroots education organization that lacks an office in Manhattan. We don't have a steady flow of cash from the Gates or the Waltons. We don't have a slick corporate website and don't boast of 100s of chapter offices. What we have is measurable accomplishments and an energy that derives from authenticity. And that has staying power. Three decades of staying power - and counting. 

 

For 30 years, Project Appleseed has been an effective advocacy organization that engages public schools and families by mobilizing millions of volunteers, building responsibility and promoting accountability — both at school and at home. With a focus on low-income and under-served families and schools, Project Appleseed works to improve schools, build public awareness, enable public engagement, advance policy positions and advise elected officials and other decision-makers on best practices for creating optimal educational environments. The effect of our efforts are clear: academic achievement rises in tandem with parental involvement.

What we do

OUR VISION

We envision a future where all public school families in America will be equipped with the knowledge, skills, resources and motivation for effective family engagement.

OUR MISSION

Project Appleseed strengthens families, schools and communities by making family engagement a systemic, integrated, and sustained school improvement strategy.

OUR GOALS

1. Increase family engagement by promoting parenting with an enthusiasm that inspires the entire community to support every student.

2. Advance the importance of evidenced-based family engagement and the positive benefits for students and families.  

3. Improve communication between families and schools to lift student academic, social and health outcomes.

4.Decrease the decline in parent group formation, participation and advocacy that sustains family engagement over time.

Our program and training utilize the Six Types of Parental Involvement from Dr. Joyce Epstein’s research to engage with families. Our web site has the resources for both educators and parents including the Parental Involvement Toolbox, which is our parent engagement program for individuals schools and school districts.

 

The Toolbox contains Project Appleseed's Parental Involvement Pledge and Parental Involvement Report Card, providing an opportunity for parents to formalize their commitment to working with their child’s school through a written agreement, which they can complete and take to their parent leader, school secretary, teacher, or principal. The Pledge also includes a survey of parent volunteer interests in which parents can immediately volunteer in school, outside the classroom, and at home.

Our Philosophy

Though not yet at the scale of the national civil rights movement, parent organizers around the nation are currently working in communities to ensure that historically marginalized parents and students can participate in local, state, and national education debates and decisions. We are guided by the research which has shown that the community organizing approach to school reform has led to successes such as increases in education funding, more equitable distribution of education resources, greater access to college preparatory curriculum, and more effective teacher recruitment and retention in hard-to-staff schools. (Renée, M., and S. McAlister. 2011)

Our reform strategy is based on the best available research. Project Appleseed believes that family engagement should be systemic, integrated, and sustained:

 

Systemic family engagement is purposefully designed as a core component of educational goals such as school readiness, student achievement, and school turnaround.

Integrated family engagement is embedded into structures and processes designed to meet these goals, including training and professional development, teaching and learning, community collaboration, and the use of data for continuous improvement and accountability.

 

Sustainable family engagement operates with adequate resources, including public–private partnerships, to ensure meaningful and effective strategies that have the power to impact student learning and achievement. Beyond Random Acts: Family, School, and Community Engagement as an Integral Part of Education Reform, 2010.

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Our 30 Year History

Project Appleseed was founded by Kevin Walker in 1993. He serves as the organization's president & national director. As our first national leader, Mr. Walker worked with the Clinton White House and helped pioneer the original parental involvement provisions in Section 1118 of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1994. Beginning in the early 1990's, our organization was one of the first nonprofits in America to utilize the Internet to build social capital. 

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National Parental Involvement Day
& Public School Volunteer Week

Pre-Covid throwback: National Parental Involvement Day 2019 -  Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, former Connecticut state supt., presents moms with SERC Award for family advocacy.

We engage parent leaders and educators to articipate in the improvement of our public schools. We educate Americans on how to take advantage of the uniquely democratic nature of America's schools.

 

During the past two decades, Project Appleseed has provided school districts throughout the country with two widely celebrated events – National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week. These are the celebrations in which schools recruit, engage and recognize the services of America’s dedicated school volunteers who have offered their time, encouragement, and meaningful contact with students. In 1994 we began National Parental Involvement Day to recognize the valuable role parents play in school improvement. In 1997 we declared Public School Volunteer Week to thank parents and recognize their involvement. 

Who we reach

Data Points:

  • Over ten million family members observe our signature events - Public School Volunteer Week & National Parental Involvement Day each year.

  • Our events are observed by dozens of state departments of education covering appoximately 18,000 schools in all 50 states each school year. 

  • The Parental Involvement Pledge is the most widely used leaning compact in the United States with an estimated 500,000 in circulation each year.

 

Top Rank In Google:

  • Over 67% of our visitors are women between the ages of 25-54.

  • Our newsletter Appleseeed Today reaches nearly 60,000 superintendents, nonprofit leaders, legislators and teacher leadership in all states covering 85% of school districts in the United States.

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