Meet A Roddenberry Fellow
June 20, 2019
Meet Heejae, a 2019 Roddenberry Fellow
Heejae is the founder of TalkingPoints, a non-profit with a mission to drive student success—especially in underserved, diverse immigrant communities—by using accessible technology to unlock the potential of family engagement in children’s education. Heejae founded TalkingPoints based on her personal experience growing up as a Korean immigrant student and seeing her mother be able to make a difference in her education because she had the ‘voice’ to do so.
Currently, 1 in 4 children are born into immigrant families, and by 2040, they will be the majority. Yet, at school, these children are the most marginalized, with a learning gap of 2 years compared to their peers. Heejae and TalkingPoints are fighting to support all students and to transform the parent-teacher relationship.
“If every parent is fully involved in their students’ education, all students can succeed at school – academic research shows that parent engagement predicts a student’s academic success twice as much as the family’s socioeconomic status. Unfortunately, in low-income, immigrant communities, parent involvement is shown to be half the rate of higher-income, white, English speaking families. Families face multiple but surmountable barriers to actively engaging. These include lack of time due to work schedules, limited education, language, and cultural barriers, misconceptions and “overt and implied messages” from the schools. Only one-third of these parents have high school diplomas, let alone a college degree, so while students spend more than 70% of their time outside school, these parents struggle to work with their children to best support them or set the right expectations at home. What’s more, “recent immigrants don’t know how to navigate American school systems or communicate with teachers about questions and concerns.”
During the 2019 Fellowship
During the Fellowship, TalkingPoints will continue to empower and engage families, develop TalkingPoints 2.0 and aim serve 3 million students by 2020. TalkingPoints empowers, educates and build the capacity of minority and immigrant families to engage in their children’s education. This increases the academic achievement of these students, helping them climb up the ladder of opportunity, and at the same time empowers families to be more engaged in their communities.
TalkingPoints multilingual tech platform connects and empowers family members and teachers using human- and AI-powered, two-way translated messages and personalized content—eliminating language, limited time, and mindsets/skills gap as barriers to school/family connection. Recent research by WestEd shows that TalkingPoints increases family engagement for 87% of families overall and 100% of non-English speaking families.
“Our vision is that every child, parent and family member, and their communities are able to build trusting relationships in a safe environment where they feel supported by all those around them, whether by an educator, school admin, social worker, regardless of where they were born, what language they speak or what cultural background they come from. If we’re successful, every child born to an immigrant family would be as successful at school as their peers from white, rich, English-speaking families.”
How to get involved:
Donate: Make a donation today!
Volunteer: Join the TalkingPoints Community!
Follow/Share: Support Heejae and TalkingPoints on social media:
Learn more about Heejae and TalkingPoints: https://talkingpts.org/