Robinson: Obama Redefined School Reform for Democrats

Williams: The Temptation to Compromise With Trump on Schools — and Why It Might Kill Education Reform

Antonucci: How Representative Are NEA’s Representatives?

Cynthia Tucker Haynes: Obama’s Embrace of Education Reform Freed Progressives to Do the Same

Barnum: Obama’s Education Legacy Mirrors the Rest of His Presidency — Accomplished but Polarizing

Bradford: How Obama’s K-12 Schooling Drove His Education Policy — and May Also Shape His Retirement

Eden: “The Citizen Academy Way” — Why a Cleveland Charter Succeeds in a Failure Zone

Merriweather: My Grad School Stats Say I Beat the Odds. A Private School Scholarship Let Me Do It

Cunningham: Obama’s Rich Education Legacy, and What’s Possible When You Challenge Political Allies

Noltemeyer and Saultz: Why States Should Focus More on School Climate Under ESSA

Analysis: The U.S. Department of Education — Born in the NEA

Cynthia Tucker Haynes: As Trump Ascends, Lessons for Our Daughters on Knowing Their Worth

Opinion: Pensions, Politics and the New Jersey Education Association

Analysis: What the Media Have Gotten Wrong About Betsy DeVos and Detroit’s Schools

Romy Drucker: Campbell Brown, The 74 and Why Education Should Be Front-Page News Every Day

Campbell Brown: A Note About My Role at The 74

Berner: How Rethinking Classroom Instruction May Have Boosted Student Achievement in Louisiana

Campbell Brown: A Brief Primer on Bullying

Antonucci: The 10 Most Memorable Teachers Union Quotes of 2016

Bradford: Water for Accountability, How the Post-NCLB Coalition Must Be Both Fluid and Strong

Social Entrepreneurship: Connecting the Worlds of Education and Health Care

January 25, 2016

Richard Barth
Richard Barth

Richard Barth has been CEO of the KIPP Foundation since December, 2005. Over the past 10 years, he has overseen the significant growth of the KIPP network of public charter schools from 45 to 183 schools.

Richard Barth has been CEO of the KIPP Foundation since December, 2005. Over the past 10 years, he has overseen the significant growth of the KIPP network of public charter schools from 45 to 183 schools.
Jonathan Jackson
Jonathan Jackson

Jonathan Jackson is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Dimagi, a social enterprise technology company that enables organizations to easily build digital solutions, improving last mile service delivery in the world’s most underserved areas.

Jonathan Jackson is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Dimagi, a social enterprise technology company that enables organizations to easily build digital solutions, improving last mile service delivery in the world’s most underserved areas.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Social entrepreneurship is a rising tide around the world. In the past several years, we’ve seen an upswell of new organizations tackling complex social problems with ingenuity and passion. Our two organizations are proud to be part of this vibrant and growing community.
While we operate in different fields — Dimagi is experienced in the world of global healthcare, and KIPP in that of public education in the United States — both organizations are committed to doing what it takes to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. That commitment has meant being willing to work beyond the traditional boundaries defined by our fields.
Through our work, Dimagi and KIPP have learned that the same child struggling with poor health is often unable to access a good education. There’s no single solution that will improve their quality of life, and we can’t fully address one challenge at the expense of the other. This is why we’ve begun investing in each other’s areas of expertise: Dimagi is branching out into education, and KIPP is incorporating healthcare into its approach.
Dimagi’s CommCare mobile technology platform is designed to help organizations build mobile apps that support their work on the ground in developing countries. Dimagi’s primary experience with CommCare has been in global healthcare, where community health workers in rural communities use mobile apps built with CommCare to register, diagnose, and treat patients in rural villages.
But education has also become a major part of this medical initiative, with health workers now sharing educational content on their CommCare apps in addition to health information. Today Dimagi is working with healthcare organizations to construct new education-based apps using CommCare, while also supporting education organizations to use CommCare in schools that may lack wireless internet, phone connectivity or electricity.
KIPP, a national network of nearly 200 open-enrollment public charter schools in educationally underserved communities, has realized in recent years that their students’ health plays a major role in shaping their learning and happiness. KIPP has explored this aspect through projects like Houston’s KIPP CONNECT campus, which offers an on-site health clinic for students and parents alike. Just a few months ago, KIPP also launched their latest partnership with the Rales Health Center, a full-service medical clinic for students and families that is staffed by Johns Hopkins University medical staff and located inside the KIPP Baltimore campus.
Both KIPP and Dimagi have seen the value in forging relationships with families through home visits. For example, community health workers in Indian villages visit the homes of pregnant women, using CommCare to engage and inform husbands and mothers-in-law about their family’s care. Simiarly, when KIPP educators prepare to open a new school, they visit the homes of prospective students and talk with them and their families, laying the foundations of a relationship that can support students all the way to — and through — college.
Health and education are two sides of the same coin. They interact intimately. In the communities where our two organizations work, we recognize that we must explore each other’s worlds, explore the expertise of our partners, and reject the idea that there is a single “silver bullet” that will solve the challenges that children and families face.
Our experience illuminates how social entrepreneurs can and must find common ground and build partnerships across industries to maximize impact. We’re excited to see more and more of this collaboration taking place, and eager to witness the greater change it brings.