A Simple Text Sends a Powerful Message to Education Innovators
When Heejae Lim’s family moved from Korea to the United Kingdom, she was young, she saw the difference between friends whose parents were engaged in their children’s education and those who were not.
When the Lim family moved back to Korea when Heejae was older, her sister’s school sent text messages to her mother to keep the family updated on school issues. This sparked an idea for Lim — who later graduated from Oxford University, the London School of Economics, and Stanford Business School, and worked at McKinsey & Company.
“We can use mobile technology to meaningfully connect teachers, families, and students in underserved communities to increase parent engagement,” she said.
Today, Lim is the founder of TalkingPoints — an early-stage, not-for-profit company that is working to boost student achievement by enabling teachers to easily communicate in multiple languages with families about classroom news and student-specific issues. The platform, which she piloted in four Bay Area schools over the last school year, allows teachers to use a web browser to send text messages about curriculum or other classroom news to all families or to craft individual messages to particular parents.
Lim is one of the Walton Family Foundation-supported Global Fellows at Echoing Green, an organization working to unleash next generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems.
She says the two-year fellowship — which offers seed-stage funding and support to social ventures — has already been instrumental to pushing her venture forward.
TalkingPoints is expanding its pilot program, improving its technology, beefing up its content library, and doing more to bring students into the conversations the platform sparks.
“Our vision,” she said, “is to really empower the parents in the communities that we care about to believe that their engagement matters and to believe that they can engage.”