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GreatSchools Launches Social Media Initiative Promoting Parents’ Role in Education



Nonprofit Enlists Celebrities, Thought Leaders and Other Influencers to Encourage Parental Involvement in Education as They Prepare for Back to School 2009

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — July 23, 2009 — GreatSchools, the national education nonprofit that 35 million people turn to in order to find the right school and support their children’s education, today announced the launch of The Great Parents Pledge, a social media initiative that encourages parents to commit to greater involvement as they prepare for the Back to School season.

In the most challenging economic climate in recent history, with family, state and school budgets tighter than ever, GreatSchools is encouraging parents to exercise their influence by agreeing to three free, easy and vital ways they can dramatically increase their child’s academic success. The Great Parents Pledge calls on parents to:

  1. Read or talk 20 minutes a day with your child
  2. Partner with your child’s teacher
  3. Volunteer at your child’s school

“As we enter Back to School season when everyone – from parents to policy makers – is thinking about education, we have a simple message: Parents have a huge influence on their child’s academic success and must be equipped to be effective champions of education at home and in their community,” said Bill Jackson, founder and CEO of GreatSchools. “The Great Parents Pledge helps parents make a commitment to greater involvement and participate in a broader conversation about the role of parents in education.”

GreatSchools aims to get one million parents to take The Great Parents Pledge and is also reaching out to thought leaders, artists, political leaders, child educators and other influential parents to encourage them to take the Pledge. Some early supporters include:

  • Po Bronson, author of NurtureShock;
  • Debbie Phelps, mother of Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps;
  • Charles Best, CEO of DonorsChoose.org;
  • Rob Corddry, comedian, actor and former correspondent for The Daily Show;
  • Andrew Shue, actor and co-founder of CafeMom;
  • Tiffany Shlain, Founder of The Webby Awards;
  • Barbara O’Brien, Lt. Governor of Colorado;
  • Sandra Tsing Loh, writer/performer and author of Mother on Fire; and

The Great Parents Pledge is designed to tap into social media channels, enabling parents to easily take it and share it with others. After taking the Pledge, parents can view which states and cities have the largest number of pledging parents. GreatSchools also developed The Pledge as a distributable widget so that parents can post and share it virtually anywhere on the Web. GreatSchools will feature The Great Parents Pledge on its website and on its Facebook, MySpace and CafeMom pages. The GreatSchools.org website (www.greatschools.org/pledge), which serves as the destination for The Great Parents Pledge, also features rich content to help parents prepare for Back to School season – including how to avoid the summer ‘brain drain’ by keeping kids involved in learning, a shopping guide for cost effective school supplies, and a ‘Back to School Quiz’ to learn how to ensure kids have a smooth start to the school year.

Private and Public Sector Support

Numerous organizations in the education and parenting sectors are helping to promote The Great Parents Pledge, including America’s Promise and DonorsChoose. Hallmark, an iconic brand, manufacturer and retailer of expression cards, is serving as the inaugural sponsor of The Great Parents Pledge. The Great Parents Pledge includes specific actions parents can take to ease their children’s back-to-school butterflies, such as slipping their child an encouraging card.

About GreatSchools

GreatSchools is an independent, nonprofit organization that improves education by inspiring parents to be involved.

Parents choose GreatSchools to connect with each other – to find the right schools, share stories and advice, and get their parenting questions answered. Over the past 10 years, GreatSchools has empowered and inspired millions of parents to support their children’s education. In the past year alone, more than 35 million people – approximately one in three K-12 households in the U.S. - visited GreatSchools (www.greatschools.org). With hundreds of thousands of ratings and parent reviews of schools nationwide, GreatSchools is the paramount parent-to-parent education community.

A Webby Award-winning site, GreatSchools is now expanding its reach and impact with its College Bound initiative, a new program that will provide structured online and offline training, mentoring and community resources to unlock the power of parents in guiding their children’s success in school and beyond. GreatSchools is supported by numerous foundations and corporations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robertson Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.


Deborah Schneider
PR & Company

Karissa Sparks


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