Initiated through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program provides 13 states with five-year, $5 million grants to promote and implement systemic evidenced-based family engagement strategies.
As a result, innovative family learning ecosystems have been created in Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania (combined), Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. These 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.
Two years in, this unique formula has catalyzed meaningful results across the collection of states, as family engagement efforts have proven vital in the face of a pandemic that has rewired how education is delivered across the country.
At a time when many families are feeling more uncertain about education than ever before, these SFECs have served as critical centralized information hubs. The Prichard Committee, which heads Kentucky’s SFEC, has in recent months disseminated timely blog posts, launched strategic surveys, and published key research findings all aimed at informing educators, practitioners, and families about the latest educational barriers and opportunities across the state.
Parents and caregivers have also received easy-to-understand, applicable information to solve present-day problems. Middle school transition strategies have assisted Ohio families in successfully moving beyond elementary school, while social-emotional learning and reading strategy webinars have supplied parents in Arizona and Nebraska with a variety of practical tools.
While these efforts have informed numerous parents and practitioners, SFECs have also demonstrated the ability to reach thousands of students. In November 2020, the South Dakota SFEC partnered with acclaimed movie producer and author Sean Covel to expand the Porter the Hoarder Reading Program, supplying books to 10,000 first-graders at more than 100 schools statewide. A live conversation with Covel and illustrator Rebecca Swift as well as an interactive digital reading program and downloadable supplemental games extended the learning well beyond the story’s end.
These are just a few examples of the strategic yet widespread impact SFECs are making across a collection of states. At present, Congress is considering an increase in appropriations for this important family engagement work. On behalf of the entire national network of SFEC grantees, the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), which leads work in Arizona and Nebraska and serves as a partner in Kentucky, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, thanks Congress for continuing to work hard to expand the breadth of support for children and families through this effort.
To learn more about the SFEC network, we invite you to join a Capitol Hill briefing on Dec. 3, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST. Click here to register.
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