Washington, DC, Sept. 12, 1996 — In support of The U.S. Department of Education’s Technology Day during America Goes Back to School Week, Family Education Network, a leading developer and provider of educational resources and services, unveiled a unique membership-based online service located on the World Wide Web designed to help families get more involved in their children’s formal and informal education. Through a working relationship with Microsoft Corporation, the National Parent-Teachers Association (PTA), and the American Association of School Administrators, the Family Education Network’s site also can be customized for local use in all 16,000 school districts across the nation. Family Education Network is located at (http://www.familyeducation.com) .
The goal of Family Education Network is to help families, communities and schools prepare children for an information- and technology-rich future by leveraging available technology and collaborating with leading educational content providers.
“Technology and the Internet are tools that have unlimited potential to positively affect education,” says Jonathan Carson, founder and president of Family Education Network. “We all know that most parents care deeply about the education their children receive, but many don’t have the time or the resources to be as involved in their kids’ schooling as they would like. By becoming members of the Family Education Network, families and communities will have access to a central source of important information and tools which will empower them to get involved at whatever level works for them from one-on-one with their child, to local community involvement, to having a stronger voice in national education issues.”
“Parental involvement in education is a key factor in helping children to learn and get on the right course,” says U.S. Department of Education Secretary Richard W. Riley. “New technologies, such as computers and online services, can link communities, schools, and families in ways that help parents and help our children learn.”
Empowering Parents Members of the Family Education Network can access information about maintaining communication with teachers, helping children with homework, and using technology in education. This information can be filtered by subject matter as well as by children’s age groups, maximizing online time for busy parents. On a broader level, parents can get e-mail updates on legislation affecting education and families, and can find out where their congressional representatives stand on these critical issues. Members of the Family Education Network also can send e-mail to elected officials with opinions on topics relating to education policy.
Connecting Communities On the local level, the Family Education Network can be customized for individual school districts, so that parents, teachers, and administrators can work together on and offline. For example, the Hinghem, Mass., school system, which went online today, is the first to implement this innovative online service and is able to provide families direct information about activities and developments within their school system, including, such things as PTA activities, school committee meeting results, school lunch menus, and sports schedules.
Using Microsoft tools and technology, Family Education Network will enable 16,000 communities to ultimately have customized sites. Beginning today, users also will be able to link to the Family Education Network site via Microsoft Corporation’s K-12 education home page.
“We believe the Family Education Network has a unique role to play in the lives of families, communities, and children,” says Carson. ”Together, Family Education Network and Microsoft will help families create the best possible future for their kids, their schools, and the nation.”
“The alliance with Family Education Network helps fulfill the pledge Microsoft has made to build what we call a Connected Learning Community, where families, communities and schools have easy access to high-quality educational resources online,” says Kathryn Yates, Director, K-12 Education, Microsoft. “We are pleased that Microsoft technology can make these educational resources available everywhere on the World Wide Web.”
The Family Education Network is supported by AT & T, Microsoft Corporation, Nellie Mae, Crestar Bank, The New England, and Logal Software, Inc. It has been endorsed by the National Grandparents’ Association. Content partners include MightyMedia, Exceptional Parent Magazine, The Parents’ Choice Foundation, The Congressional Quarterly, Positive Medicine, Public Agenda, the U.S. Department of Education, and e-Library.
Microsoft’s work with the Family Education Network is part of its continuing efforts to help create a global “Connected Learning Community” in which all students and educators have access to technology and the tools and skills to use information effectively today and for a lifetime. Microsoft is committed to providing families, students and educators with the high-quality software and services needed to help them make the best use of technology.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
The Family Education Network is headquartered in Boston, Mass. The company develops and provides trusted educational resources and services for families, employers, and communities. It is the first company to use online and offline tools to help families become more involved in their children’s education. For membership information, call 1-617-542-6500 ext. 146.
CONTACT: Melissa Radin or Donna Caturano Cone Communications (617) 227-2111