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Letters to Congress about new report, Family-School-Community Partnerships 2.0 - Climate and Culture Committee

January 17, 2012

Dear Senator/Representative:


The Climate and Culture Committee at the Math and Science Leadership Academy in Denver, Colorado, 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.

From the start, collaborating with parents and community groups has been an integral part of the culture at the teacher-led Math and Science Leadership Academy. It opened as a K-2 school in 2009, now goes up to grade 4, and aims to add grade 5 by next year. The Climate and Culture Committee coordinates wide-ranging efforts to engage parents in student learning — everything from a “conscious discipline” program to evening activities with themes such as math, science, literacy, and the arts.

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 the Climate and Culture Committee is attached and available online at http://bit.ly/s4EZ5f, along with the rest of the report. We urge you to check it out!

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson
Director, Center for Advocacy

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations