Catching up with the 2021 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year
In 2021, Manoucheka Dolcine of Broward County, Florida was named the Toyota Family Teacher of the Year in recognition of her career-long dedication to fostering family learning environments in the classroom. For nearly three decades, the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) and Toyota have partnered to recognize school- and community-based educators who use multi-generational approaches to learning, literacy, and family engagement. The annual Family Teacher of the Year receives a grant to create or scale a family learning program in their school or community, and NCFL is excited to share more about how Dolcine is putting her award to work!
“My dream project was to have a literacy resource room in my school. The Charles Drew Family Resource Center is tailored to the student population’s needs and wants,” says Dolcine. Without the resource center, students and families have had to walk to the local library for story time or other resources like Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programming. When creating her project, Dolcine prioritized the safety of early learners, wanting to ensure that they will no longer have to travel off-site in order to meet their literacy needs. In addition to the students at the elementary school, she wanted to create a space where high school and adult program students had a place to research and read books, and where families could take advantage of relevant workshops on the school campus.
“For over a decade, my school has needed an onsite resource room as an essential resource that would accommodate its student population. Using my $20,000 award, we started renovating a dedicated space for our resource room, which included purchasing computers and the appropriate software, stocking the room with books and supplies, and sprucing it up with wall decorations and plants,” Dolcine says. "In addition, we were also able to provide financial assistance to support the families that wanted to register for ESOL/GED classes."
In the near future when the Charles Drew Family Resource Center opens it will hold regular adult education classes including ABE, GED, and ESOL programming. Dolcine’s passion for mentoring young adult parents will also be seen in the center’s planned “Mommy and Me” classes for teen mothers and their babies. A variety of training and workshops will also be hosted in their new resource room.
A quote that resonates with Manoucheka is from author and speaker Mike Holt, "Embrace every opportunity to increase your knowledge." Manoucheka lives out this sentiment in the way she supports families by providing reading resources with her grant project (pictured above), encouraging parents to take advantage of the ESOL/GED classes, and constantly interacting with other educators to grow her strategies.
Do you know an educator who is committed to engaging families just like Dolcine? Nominate them for the 2023 Toyota Teacher of the Year award by 11:59 p.m. PDT on Thursday, May 18, 2023.
Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 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
William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust
NCFL received its very first donation in 1989 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to promote and implement family literacy programming, first in Kentucky and North Carolina and later nationwide. The Kenan Family Literacy Model in part laid the groundwork for 30 years of subsequent family literacy and family learning programming developed by NCFL.
Kenan has continued to support NCFL’s place-based family literacy programs since our inception. Most recently, it has invested in our organization’s Sharon Darling Innovation Fund, which will launch emerging ideas and programmatic evolutions in the multigenerational learning space.Learn more about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust
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
resource that launched in 2010 and strives to guide potential students and volunteers to literacy services, community education programs, and testing centers in their communities.
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®.Learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation
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, most recently in Louisville, Kentucky, to support Say & Play with Words, our pre-Kindergarten vocabulary-building initiative.
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.Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great
U.S. Department of Education
Initiated through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program provides 12 grantees and 13 states with five-year, $5 million grants to promote and implement systemic evidenced-based family engagement strategies. NCFL was selected to lead SFECs in two states, Arizona and Nebraska, and is a primary partner for two other SFECs in Kentucky and Maryland/Pennsylvania.
The SFECs work to support family engagement through state- and local-level agencies while providing both professional development to school districts and direct services to families related to children’s academic outcomes and overall well-being.Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
NCFL was named a recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s "Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge," which seeks to elevate diverse voices in order to broaden the conversation about the issues inhibiting economic mobility and generate deeper awareness along with actionable understanding. NCFL will develop and launch a podcast series that will highlight the remarkable stories of low-income, diverse families across the U.S. who have improved their communities through Family Service Learning.Foundation Website