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Letters to Congress about new report, Family-School-Community Partnerships 2.0 - Making Parents Count

January 17, 2012

Dear Senator/Representative:

Making Parents Count at James A. Shanks Middle School in Quincy, Florida,
is one of 16 exemplary efforts profiled in Family-School-Community Partnerships 2.0, a new research-based report on the role of families and communities in raising student achievement from the National Education Association, which represents 3.2 million educators nationwide.

Family School Partnerships 2.0 is part of NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign, which aims to transform struggling schools — especially the bottom five percent eligible for U.S. Department of Education School Improvement Grants — in collaboration with parents, students, and community groups. Such efforts are most effective “when schools link activities for families to what students are learning and doing in class,” according to the report.

To kick off Making Parents Count, 500 volunteers spent eight days painting walls, replacing floors, installing sod, and planting trees — sweat equity that saved the district $100,000 and inspired students to aim high. In 2011, for the first time, students’reading and math scores exceeded district averages; the school’s grade on the Florida report card has risen from a D in 2008 to a B in 2011.

NEA members play an active role in all of the initiatives profiled in Family School Partnerships 2.0. Other common elements include mechanisms to evaluate student outcomes, reasonable cost, and potential for replication. Successful strategies identified by the researchers include:

  • Setting high expectations for students
  • Using data to determine priorities and strategies
  • Tailoring programs to local needs

The full profile of Making Parents Count is attached and available online at, along with the rest of the report. We urge you to check it out!


Kim Anderson
Director, Center for Advocacy

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations