FASTalk text messages, aligned with the IM K–5 Math curriculum, help parents support their child’s math skills at home

Tucson, AZ — Feb. 24, 2021 — Illustrative Mathematics (IM) and Family Engagement Lab have partnered to bridge classroom curriculum and at-home learning in elementary school mathematics. Through this partnership, Family Engagement Lab will align its FASTalk (Families and Schools Talk) family engagement tool with the IM K–5 Math curriculum. Together, the two nonprofits will collaborate with Partnership for Los Angeles Schools to make the new tool available at participating pilot sites in Los Angeles Unified School District starting this month.

IM K–5 Math is the first mathematics curriculum to be supported by the FASTalk family engagement tool. FASTalk builds partnerships between teachers and families by sharing at-home learning activities via text messages in each family’s home language. 

Through the collaboration with Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, IM and Family Engagement Lab will support participating teachers and families with weekly SMS text messages that include tips and activities aligned with the IM K–5 Math curriculum. The FASTalk text messages, which are available in more than 100 languages, will be pre-loaded and pre-scheduled to match teacher pacing guides and reinforce the IM classroom curriculum each week. 

“We’re excited to partner with Family Engagement Lab to extend math learning to the home in a way that is both easy and impactful for busy teachers,” said Kristin Umland, president and co-founder of IM. “The FASTalk text messages are carefully designed to support IM’s problem-based instructional model with welcoming, inclusive activities that families can integrate into their daily routines. With parents and teachers working toward the same standards-based objectives each week, we can nurture students’ enthusiasm for math and help them become lifelong math learners.”

“Family engagement in learning is a powerful lever to advance equitable educational outcomes. When studying the impact of FASTalk on student literacy outcomes, we’ve seen some of the greatest benefits for students with the greatest amount of unfinished learning, students from low-income backgrounds, and students from linguistically diverse backgrounds,” said Dr. Elisabeth O’Bryon, chief impact officer and co-founder of Family Engagement Lab. “We’re pleased to join forces with Illustrative Mathematics to pair FASTalk with high-quality mathematics instructional materials and provide families with timely content to support students’ mathematics learning at home.”

About the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools
Launched in 2007, the Partnership is a nonprofit organization that serves 14,200 students across 19 TK-12 campuses in Watts, Boyle Heights and South Los Angeles, California. The Partnership is one of the largest, in-district public school transformation organizations in the U.S., and its model combines the rigor and innovation of instructional leadership programs with authentic community partnerships and family engagement to transform district public schools and lead system-wide reforms. The Partnership is not a charter organization. As an in-district partner, the Partnership works within the Los Angeles Unified School District context, which includes honoring all collective bargaining agreements for its teachers and school staff.

About Family Engagement Lab
Family Engagement Lab is a national nonprofit that catalyzes equitable family engagement and student learning by bridging classroom curriculum and at-home learning for historically underserved families. Its signature tool, FASTalk, shares engaging, at-home learning activities via text messages in each family’s home language. FASTalk significantly increases equity in academic achievement, helping students the furthest behind catch up to their peers. The nonprofit’s efforts bring together a commitment to educational equity, research, technology, and practical experience in pre-K-12 systems. More information is available at FamilyEngagementLab.org.

About Illustrative Mathematics
Illustrative Mathematics is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a world where all learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. We provide access to high-quality instructional materials, professional learning, and a community to support all students’ mathematical growth. Learn more at IllustrativeMathematics.org.


Media Contact:
Illustrative Mathematics: Kristin Umland, kristin@illustrativemathematics.org
Family Engagement Lab: Vidya Sundaram, vidya@familyengagementlab.org