As 2018 comes to an end, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the past and to prepare for the future. You began the school year in August or September with new ideas, plans, and hopes. You will end the year in May or June exhausted from the challenges that you faced. So take a deep breath here, at the unofficial midpoint of the school year, and reflect on your habits. What is working in your professional practice? What might you change?
For inspiration, consider the habits of past Toyota Family Teachers of the Year. We have explored the wisdom of these experienced educators in the Stronger Families, Stronger Communities blog series throughout 2018. They have identified practices which impacted their effectiveness. Interestingly, many of these habits were related to the beginning and ending of each school day. So as you consider your own practice, which of these might work for you?
At the beginning of every day,
- I am available for my students and families before school.
- I make a one-on-one connection with every student, every day.
- I take a full cup of empathy with me when I go to work each day.
- I begin every day with a grateful heart.
- I say a prayer.
- I arrive at school early.
- I am prepared.
- I am informed.
- I am a creature of habit. A daily routine helps me prepare for learning.
- I check my first impression of parents at the door.
At the end of every day,
- I am available for students and families after school.
- I reflect daily.
- I talk with my colleagues. We discuss the day- how it went, what we would do differently, and what needs to happen tomorrow.
- I engage in daily self-evaluation.
- I write in my journal while students write in their journals.
- I input data daily.
- I make adjustments based on my reflections and data.
- I ask: What have I learned? What am I grateful for? What did I do today for someone else?
From teacher to teacher, begin the day prepared and end the day in reflection. Students deserve your best every day.
What practices do you want to change or try in the New Year? Share your thinking in the comments below. One lucky responder will be selected to receive a copy of NCFL’s publication, Stronger Families, Stronger Communities.
Toyota Family Learning Program
Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $35 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.
Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities
Dollar General Literacy Foundation
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.
The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.
Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.Go to Dollar General Literacy Foundation's website
PNC Grow Up Great
PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.
PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.
NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.PNC Grow Up Great
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
NCFL has partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation since January 2016. The Foundation is currently supporting a dynamic two-generation family engagement initiative that expands NCFL's Family Learning model into select Head Start programs nationwide. NCFL's model presents an innovative way to support Head Start programs in meeting outcomes aligned with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework.Visit the Foundation website
Better World Books
Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.
Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.Better World Books
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In 2013, NCFL began a partnership with the Gates Foundation to ensure that our network of students, teachers, and families thrive among recent shifts in standards-based education. NCFL will leverage the unique strengths of our award-winning Wonderopolis® platform to build upon the growing teacher network that uses the resource for core daily instruction and as a basis for professional growth.Foundation Website
NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.
The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University