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Letters to Congress about new report, Family-School-Community Partnerships 2.0 - SUN Service System

January 17, 2012

Dear Senator/Representative:

The SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods) Service System in Multnomah County, Oregon, 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 SUN Service System uses 60 neighborhood schools to deliver wide-ranging services to students and families: before- and afterschool tutoring and sports, family engagement programs, early childhood education, meals, health care, and more. Participating students tend to do better academically and are less likely to drop out — 80 percent graduate, compared to 60 percent district-wide.

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 SUN Service System 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