Letters to Congress about new report, Family-School-Community Partnerships 2.0 - Community-School Programs
January 17, 2012
Community-school programs in Evansville, Indiana, are 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.
In Evansville, the approach is based on the same premise as the celebrated Harlem Children’s Zone: If schools are to succeed in closing achievement gaps, they must expand their traditional role and become full-service community centers — sources of wraparound services and support that help students and their families overcome the pernicious effects of poverty. The results speak for themselves. Today, more than half the children starting kindergarten in Evansville meet the state’s early literacy benchmarks, compared to 39 percent in 2006.
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
Director, Center for Advocacy
Director, Government Relations