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Sep 13, 2022 |
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The U.S. Department of Education has selected the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) to create and lead the Colorado Statewide Family Engagement Center (CO SFEC). In partnership with Colorado Education Initiative (CEI), the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition (CSPC), and the Black Parent Network (BPN), the CO SFEC will build the capacity of families, schools, and communities to address learning recovery and related impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as implement practices and systems to improve student development and family well-being.

Partner organizations for the Colorado Statewide Family Engagement Center

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the need for robust, cohesive family engagement systems. Recent Colorado data confirms support for students’ social, emotional, and mental health and for working with families and community remain top areas school leaders and teachers report needing additional support and professional development to lead schools effectively. Now, more than ever, coordinated and aligned family engagement efforts are needed to support learning recovery and academic achievement, particularly for children of color.

The CO SFEC priorities are aligned to the 2020 Colorado School District Community Needs Inventory and its work will support identified needs of K-3 reading loss, student mental health, disengagement of high school students, and adult education.

The model for implementing the CO SFEC reflects the Dual Capacity-Building Framework, the gold standard in family engagement practices. The CO SFEC will build a system that connects and integrates family engagement in education initiatives at state, regional, and local levels. A throughline across all system levels promotes parent leadership opportunities to elevate family voices and inform local decision making. This once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage federal and state investments to design and build family partnership infrastructure will provide a national model for state COVID-19 learning recovery and catalyze a new era of effective family, school, and community partnerships. 

“We’re thrilled for this opportunity to enhance family engagement efforts with key partners and stakeholders across the state of Colorado through the establishment of a Statewide Family Engagement Center,” says NCFL’s President and CEO, Dr. Felicia C. Smith. “Given the strength of Colorado’s education landscape, the state is primed for innovative and equity-centered practices advancing family engagement as a lever for improving student learning outcomes. Our partners for the CO SFEC are trusted organizations who have long been doing great work in the state. This effort will build upon their work to strengthen the bridge between family, school, and community commitments to Colorado children.”

According to the new Latinos for Education report, the way schools and districts communicate achievement and assessment information to parents is an important area for growth. CEI has already begun supporting response to this need through its newly released family assessment literacy tool.

“This SFEC award comes at a time when we are seeing increasing demand for deeper family partnership behaviors across Colorado, with CEI school and district partners recently identifying high-impact family and community engagement as their top area of interest for support. In addition to the more common focus for family partnership in early elementary, we are thrilled that the CO SFEC will also deepen family engagement practices related to career and college readiness,” says CEI’s President and CEO Rebecca Holmes. “CEI is honored by this opportunity to bring together the unique assets of NCFL with the Colorado partner organizations to build reciprocal bottom-up and top-down support for centering families as partners in education, with emphasis on families of color.”

The five-year grant, under the Statewide Family Engagement Centers Program (84.310A), will total $4,773,464.

To learn more about NCFL's partners in this work, read the full press release.


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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