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May 19, 2020 |
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Partners all across the country continue to adapt and innovate during COVID-19.

As a result of school closures in North Dakota, NCFL Family and Child Education (FACE) program site Dunseith Elementary has dramatically changed its instruction and delivery system in recent weeks. Dr. Amy Leonard, Dunseith’s center-based instructor, and assistant Jessica Henry have utilized Facebook more than ever to continue to stay engaged with families. Dunseith is using its Facebook page to share daily instructional videos for its students. These videos cover fine motor skills, gross motor skills, big ideas, and a story of the day.

Dunseith is also using Facebook messenger to maintain in-person contact and share its adult education content. The site is hosting Zoom meetings with parents who have the appropriate technology. Staff are sharing online links to commonly used learning videos from YouTube, such as Cosmic Kids Yoga, Days of the Week, and Months of the Year songs. Staff are also delivering learning packets to families to use during their lessons every couple of weeks. These packets include meals, storybooks, small toys, school supplies, and art projects. To encourage participation, students were given the opportunity to earn prizes for completed activities. 

The majority of the learning assignments have been based on what is available to students within their own homes (along with the supplies provided by Dunseith). These at home opportunities include: scavenger hunts (to encourage physical movement and oral language/communication between parents/children); building towers with pantry items (to encourage hand-eye coordination and to assist families in understanding that any item can become a learning item if the child is provided the correct guidance); and conducting in-house Easter Egg hunts by providing filled eggs in learning packets (to ensure that students are provided similar opportunities at home that they would have been given in the classroom).

As a site, Dunseith has coordinated efforts to synchronize lessons using Google Docs. Staff utilize text messaging, emails, and Zoom sessions with the preschool teacher or adult educator. Local telecommunication has been set up through Wi-Fi hotspots for areas with no internet services.

Staff at Dunseith have excelled in their efforts to assist and enable families during this time. Collectively, they are working to make sure that their program and its people remain connected. Though the use of technology has been significant, the staff truly misses the daily contact with their students—seeing them and interacting with them daily.

To learn more about any of these teaching strategies, reply to this blog requesting more information.


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NCFL Partners

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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 Directory, a 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