Educational Institutions

Parents Advocating Challenging Education

  • St. Louis, MO

Mission Statement

Project Appleseed is a major educational resource and advocate for parents and families engaged in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness in America's public schools. This organization is a catalyst in the implementation of effective, research based, model parent and community involvement programs that increase social capital, improves the lives of families and revitalizes schools and communities across the United States.

Main Programs

  1. MyFamily@School

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Service Areas



For over 20 years, Project Appleseed has been an effective advocacy organization that engages public school families by mobilizing volunteers, building responsibility and promoting accountability – at school and at home. We work on behalf of all parents and we focus on low-income and under-served families and schools.

ruling year


Principal Officer


Mr. Kevin Walker

Co Principal Officer


Ms. Remle Beard Johnson



family engagement parental involvement public school education reform

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Also Known As

Project Appleseed


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C. (S99)

Parent Teacher Group (B94)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?


Self-reported by organization

Accomplishments for Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 201
Substantially Improves Outcomes
Traditionally, Project Appleseed organizing groups achieve these education and community impacts through a combi- nation of system-level advocacy and school- or community- level activity. Continuous and consistent parent and commu- nity engagement produces these outcomes in the CBP:
1. Increased awareness about the importance of family engagement.
2. Increased awareness about rights and opportunities for family engagement.
3. Improved attitudes for shared responsibility, role efficacy, and coordination of family engagement.
4. More knowledge and skills about strategies for family engagement.
5. More knowledge of strategies and resources to support stu- dent learning.
6. Better understanding of child academic progress, strengths, and staff development opportunities for and weaknesses.


Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1


Project Appleseed has joined forces with EveryoneOn, a partnership of the nation's largest IT companies, nonprofits and foundations - we connect low-income Americans to the Internet with free broadband and heavily discounted computers. Comcast, Cox, Freedom Pop, Arrow Electronics and CDI Computer Dealers support EveryoneOn. Nationally our partnership receives financial support from the Knight Foundation, Carlos Slim Foundation, the Wasserman Foundation, Citi, and Microsoft.

Join us in closing gaps. With your support, Project Appleseed's MyFamily@School program will improve education for low-income families in these communities by closing academic and the digital gaps:

- MyFamily@School provides one laptop and free broadband – at no charge - to thousands of parents and caregivers who complete our training and volunteer in their schools.
- Technology will become relevant at home with school-centered parent training, education and engagement
- We target high-poverty, under performing, Title I middle and high school students for improvement
- We increase access to knowledge, jobs and economic leverage for families


K-12 (5-19 years)

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General



Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Objectives over five-years:
    When all of the parent involvement profiles for Kansas City and St. Louis area districts are combined, we arrive at a com- mon plan in which parents in all districts can be engaged.

    1. 75% increase in parent group participation;
    2. 50% increase in volunteer service hours;
    3. 50% increase in parent attendance at family academic events;
    4. 50% increase in parent portal log-ins.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    The core district-level components necessary for systemic family engagement are
    • Fostering district-wide strategies. A key role of school districts in promoting family engagement is ensuring that is it part and parcel of supporting student learning. This includes superintendents and senior leadership linking family engagement to their district’s instructional goals, the creation of an infrastructure that elevates and communicates about the importance of family engagement, and mechanisms to assess progress and performance along the way.

    • Building school capacity. Districts can’t do it alone; that’s why districts help schools to understand the importance of, and strategies for, meaningfully engaging families. District-level resources and support enable schools to acquire the capacity to carry out family engagement in strategic ways that align with instructional goals. This happens through ongoing professional development and technical assistance for principals, teachers, and other “family-facing” staff in school buildings. It also includes programs and initiatives imple- mented by districts to help schools welcome and involve families in their child’s learning.

    • Reaching out to and engaging families. School districts reach out to families both directly and through partnerships to encourage them to have high expectations for their children’s learning at school and at home, and to develop and share concrete strategies for engagement that supports student success. This happens through leadership
    development trainings, listening tours to gather input, and workshops that impart information and skills focused on student learning.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Project Appleseed's award winning staff has over 75 years of combined leadership and experience in education, government, public policy, fund raising and communications. For nearly two decades, Project Appleseed has inspired millions of parents to volunteer in thousands of schools nationwide. The organization has had a leading role in spreading effective parental involvement practices across the United States.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    • # of family volunteers taking the Parental Involvement Pledge
    • # of family volunteers hours served
    • # of hours of professional development/training
    • # of participants that attended PD/training events
    • # of hits to Project Appleseed's website
    • % of participants reporting that trainings were useful
    • % of schools in compliance with all Title I requirements
    • % of participants reporting that they gained new skills to provided
    • % of family members reporting more literacy activity at home
    • % increase in attendance at parent-teacher conferences
    • Changes in school/district policies that promote family
    • % change in student attendance at participating schools
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Project Appleseed’s policy recommendations helped pioneer the legislation mandating the parental involvement, “Shared Responsibilities For High Student Performance” under Title I, Section 1118 of the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act (1994), which was later renewed under No Child Left Behind. Project Appleseed employed action research from 1991-1994 to develop parent involvement strategies for a St. Louis parent group, while simultaneously advising the Clinton administration’s White House Office for Domestic Policy.

    Project Appleseed became a state leader in Missouri by successfully advocating for legislation on the publication and use of school performance data in Missouri. In 1993 Project Appleseed proposed legislation mandating the compiling and publication of test scores by race and income, attendance, drop-out and graduation rates, and more in annual ‘Report Cards’ of all public schools. The legislation, passed as part of the Outstanding Schools Act-Senate bill 380, has ensured that Missouri measures program and instructional effectiveness statewide for the last 20 years.

    For twenty-years, the core of Project Appleseed's work to organize and increase parental involvement is its simple learning compact, the Parental Involvement Pledge. The compact was developed through Project Appleseed's early research and organizing efforts in St. Louis. The compact was used as a model by the Clinton administration for the reauthorization of Title I of the ESEA of 1994. Learning compacts are required under Title I, Section 1118, subsection (d) of the Act. The Pledge and Project Appleseed’s Parental Involvement Report Card, a self-diagnostic tool, are based on the Six Types of Parental Involvement developed by Dr. Joyce Epstein. Together the Pledge and the Report Card includes a survey of parent volunteer interests and builds social capital. The survey identifies areas in which parents can volunteer in school, outside the classroom, and at home. The Pledge is the most widely used learning compact in the United States with an estimated 500,000 in circulation each year.

    Our model for engaging parents has recently been adopted at the state level. Using Project Appleseed’s National Parental Involvement Day & Public School Volunteer Week as a platform, Democratic and Republican governors announced directives in Tennessee's schools to use all of the engagement tools advocated by Project Appleseed as part of the state’s $500 million participation in Race to the Top (RTTT). Republican Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation that requires parents to sign parental involvement compacts like Project Appleseed’s Parental Involvement Pledge. Governor Haslam also signed legislation that requires parents in low performing schools to take parental involvement report cards, like the one advocated by Project Appleseed. (Tennessee Department of Education 2012).
Service Areas



For over 20 years, Project Appleseed has been an effective advocacy organization that engages public school families by mobilizing volunteers, building responsibility and promoting accountability – at school and at home. We work on behalf of all parents and we focus on low-income and under-served families and schools.

Social Media


Funding Needs

Organized Parental Involvement Project Appleseed will organize family and community involvement, door-to-door and statewide, in the lowest performing schools & districts.  There, we will:   •   Recruit parents, grandparents and caring adults to volunteer take our learning compact, the Parental Involvement Pledge. With the Pledge, we ask these volunteers to spend at least five hours each semester assisting with school and fifteen minutes reading with a child each evening.   •   Conduct Teacher House Calls with teams of educators and parents visiting students and their families at home, build trusting relationships, and share instructional tools. Participation in home visits is voluntary for everyone and teachers are paid for their  time.



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Parents Advocating Challenging Education



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2011, 2009 and 2005
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Principal Officer

Mr. Kevin Walker

Co Principal Officer

Ms. Remle Beard Johnson


Kevin Walker founded the National Campaign for Public School Improvement and leads the organization as President & National Director. In 1991 Mr. Walker began organizing parental involvement both locally and nationally. In March of 2000, Mr. Walker, the father of four public school children in St. Louis, was named one of seven recipients of the 7th annual Parenting Leader Award which is given by the editors of Parenting Magazine to "men and women who are making a special difference to improve the lives of children and families in America". The award marks the second time in which a respected national publication has recognized Walker's successful effort to organize parental involvement in America. In 1999 the editors of Teacher Magazine named Mr. Walker one of the ten people who most shaped education in the United States during the 1990's.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Research shows that schools can improve their students’ achievement by engaging parents. Unfortunately, in many of the lowest-performing schools, parents remain an untapped and largely unengaged resource. Parents are the most invested adults in the mosaic of education simply because they are parents. They are uniquely positioned to increase the one-on-one instruction their children receive by supplementing it at home, to facilitate attendance by monitoring their children's daily activities, to emphasize the importance of education and college attainment, and more. Therefore, Project Appleseed must help parents to become an integral part of the solutions to educational challenges."



Ms. Olivia Walker

Diversified Ind.

Term: Jan 2011 - Jan 2015


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