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Letters to Congress about new report, Family-School-Community Partnerships 2.0 - Successful Transitions

January 17, 2012

Dear Senator/Representative:


Successful Transitions at Upper Merion Area Middle School in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania,
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.

The decade-old Upper Merion program helps fourth graders and their families make a smooth transition to fifth grade and middle school. In a year-long series of meetings, visits, tours, correspondence between pen pals, and peer mentoring, students and their parents get to know campus routines, teachers, administrators, and older students. Evidence of effectiveness includes rising test scores and a steady decline in suspension rates and bullying incidents.

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 Successful Transitions 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