GreatSchools is the leading provider of original K-12 parenting and education content in the US. In nearly two decades spent focused on developing content specifically for parents, our team of professional education editors, instructional designers and educators has developed deep expertise in transforming the latest education science and research into easy-to-digest insights parents can use in everyday life. As part of our content creation process, we we work in consultation with the country’s top experts and educators, such as Common Core authors Student Achievement Partners, Harvard’s Making Caring Common, and University of Chicago’s Center for Early Childhood Research.
Today, our award-winning parenting guidance collection includes nearly 10,000 pieces of original digital content for parents, including articles, videos, tip sheets, newsletters, infographics, podcasts, worksheets, text messaging programs and interactive tools. Through our website, this content reaches more than 10 million unique users annually, and 850,000 subscribers receive it directly in their inbox via GreatSchools’ weekly parenting guidance newsletters. We extend our reach and impact by making our content freely available to other institutions that serve parents and educators, such as Be a Learning Hero, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, University of Minnesota School of Education, Family Engagement Lab, and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.
“The breadth and depth of GreatSchools digital content for parents is unlike anything else I’ve seen. Not only do they have expert-vetted, grade-based academic resources for parents of preschoolers through 12th graders, they have exceptionally smart content addressing social emotional challenges for children of every age. But what might be the most remarkable about GreatSchools’ content is their pithy, playful, down-to-earth style of communication that cuts through educational jargon and speaks straight to parents’ hearts. In our collaboration, their approach was a great gift to us and a skill we still wish we had!”
— Kathryn Lee, Director of RULER for Families Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
“GreatSchools’ grade-based parenting newsletters deliver essential academic and social emotional resources for K-12 parents. The content draws from the best of parenting science and research on education, then translates it into actionable digital media that’s accessible to all parents, regardless of their background. This incredible resource not only helps individual parents, but offers a crucial tool for anyone who cares about engaging families to support educational equity.”
— Claudia Medina, Family Engagement Coordinator, Alameda Unified School District and National Equity Project Fellow
“GreatSchools was one of our first partners, primarily because of their unique, parent friendly content. Their videos, articles and resources provide parents with clear, high quality, actionable information to support their children’s development and growth. That’s why we feature their tools prominently on our website. We are proud of our collaboration and partnership, which has only deepened over the past three years.”
— Bibb Hubbard, Founder of Be a Learning Hero
“The parenting advice that GreatSchools has developed is uniquely practical and useful — especially because it is organized by grade level across the whole span of a K-12 education. GreatSchools helps parents think ahead for transitions as their kids grow up. Third graders are very different from kindergartners, for example. GreatSchools provides parents with smart, readable, and relevant advice each step of the way.”
— Jeff Camp, Founder of Ed100
For parents, education is personal; it’s about their child’s unique needs, strengths and struggles. While our weekly newsletter has long been valued by subscribers as a helpful parenting tool, we knew from years of working with parents and through user research that by offering parents personalized content we could have even greater impact.
With this in mind, we embarked on an ambitious initiative to build an email-based program to provide parents with the essentials they need to know to support their child throughout the school year, tailored to their child’s grade and developmental stage. In August of 2016, GreatSchools grade-by-grade weekly K-8 newsletter program launched, reaching more than 200,000 subscribers across the nation. The following month, we started a three-year pilot program with Oakland Unified School District – a high-needs, low-income community – to enroll 9,300 more parents in the program. Throughout the remaining 11 months of the school year, we sent weekly grade-by-grade email newsletters (4-5 per grade per month), drawing from thousands of evidence-based, Common Core-aligned, grade-based tips, articles, videos, infographics, and podcasts designed to empower parents to support and advocate for their child academically and emotionally. In January of 2017, we expanded the program to include high school parents, providing monthly 9-12 grade-by-grade newsletters to help high school parents prepare their teen for college and career success, even if they have not had experience with college themselves.
Overall, the results of the grade-by-grade email initiative have been inspiring. In a national survey of 691 subscribers, 84% reported that the newsletter had influenced their opinions or behavior, or they expected it to in the future. More importantly, 83% reported that they had already taken action based on the information provided: trying strategies or activities, using resources, or sharing information with others.
For low-income parents earning less than $50,000 a year, the impact was even higher: a full 85% reported that the newsletter had already influenced or would influence their opinions and behavior and 85% had already taken action on the information. The lowest-income respondents (earning less than $25,000) reported the highest level of impact: 88% reported that the newsletter information had or would influence them and 86% had already taken action based on the information.
One parent of a 6th grader, who earns less than $25,000, reported that she was very likely to be influenced by the newsletter. She tried multiple strategies and resources and shared the resources with others. She told us the “positive parenting tips” helped her understand her daughter, and that they “have given me the tools I need to be a better mom and a better person everyday!
“The grade-based newsletters have helped me become a better parent. The communication with my daughter has improved tremendously. I have no idea what I’m doing half the time as a parent of a 6th grader (almost 7th grader), but with the newsletters I can better understand my daughter and the changes that she’s experiencing as an adolescent girl and help her and guide her through it; as I am learning and at the same time I’m trying to give her the tools she needs to be a responsible adult that makes healthy choices.”
A parent of a kindergartner, 2nd grader, and 10th grader earning less than $50,000, said she shared the information with friends and family. She also credited the newsletters for helping her raise her teenage son’s math grades. The newsletter “[h]elped me get my son grade in math up from an F to a C and made strategies available to me I otherwise wouldn’t have thought of.”