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Apr 4, 2017 |
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You can see the pride in Lourdes Valdivia’s eyes when she talks about her three sons, ages 3, 9, and 11. Each weekday morning, she and her sons walk through the doors of Harms Elementary in Southwest Detroit. Her oldest two children head for their classrooms, but it’s not the last they’ll see of their mom throughout their school day. That’s because Valdivia participates in a program that allows her to both learn English and how to better support her sons’ education. “My time in the classroom has helped my children be better students,” Valdivia said. “We’ve also developed a stronger bond. We go to the zoo, library, soccer games, and we read and do homework together.” Throughout the years, evaluations of National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) programs have proven that intergenerational family literacy is an effective way to close achievement gaps that exist between children from affluent families and children living in poverty. This is most recently demonstrated with our partner Southwest Solutions in Detroit. It may sound like a no-brainer that being an engaged parent leads to better academic outcomes for children. But this Detroit program—which is based on NCFL's family literacy model—is making a big impact. NCFL's latest research brief, The Collective Impact of Social Innovation on a Two-Generation Learning Program, explores what can happen when organizations join forces towards a common cause. This brief examines Southwest Solutions’ English Language Learners’ Program (ELLP), a family literacy program designed to enhance the learning of young elementary students. With support from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund, United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM), Detroit Public Schools, and NCFL, Southwest Solutions’ ELLP positively affects academic achievement among Hispanic/Latino students. NCFLCollectiveImpact_infographic2The results of the study of the 2014-15 school year are impressive. On average, students in ELLP had a 7.4% gain in reading level, achieved a 5.6% increase in reading proficiency, and attended 12 more days of school than comparison students. The study shows that participating parents helped their children have better school attendance rates, were more engaged in their children’s learning, and developed positive habits at home that supported their children’s academic attainment. Valdivia sees the results every day. Her older boys have raised their grades and are doing better socially. In fact, they both went to the state math competition. “They see me as a teacher and a model. They are motivated by me being at their school and taking classes.” The results of this study shine a light on the power of family literacy. When parent and child learn together, intergenerational cycles of low education and poverty can be broken. Click here to read NCFL’s full Collective Impact brief.


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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