Shelby County is part of national research released today from the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) showing its Toyota Family Literacy Program (TFLP) increased student achievement, expanded parent engagement, improved adult reading behaviors and prepared parents to help their children with school.
TFLP, which started in 2003 and was implemented in 30 cities, was the first comprehensive national family literacy program created to address literacy needs of Hispanic and immigrant families with children in kindergarten through third grade.
Shelby County was funded as a Toyota Family Literacy Program in 2005. Here are the key findings about the Shelby County program:
- Forty-seven percent of TFLP students scored proficient in language acquisition compared to only 23 percent of nonparticipating students.
- Seventy-two percent of the elementary students who were below grade level at the beginning of the school year met the benchmark for Adequate Progress in Language Acquisition by the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
- Teachers unanimously saw benefits from Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time when parents were in their children’s classrooms, especially in parent confidence about their own learning and essential role in their children’s education.
- Ninety percent of parents reported that, as a result of their participation in the TFLP, they successfully accomplished their educational goals, such as learning English, using parental resources and helping their children complete homework.
- More than 90 percent of parents believe family literacy opportunities helped them to understand their children’s schoolwork. Half of the parents requested and received additional teacher support to enhance their understanding and fulfillment of teacher expectations for student work.
“The Toyota Family Literacy Program has provided a venue to build stakeholder capacity through acquisition of English and parenting education,” said Superintendent Randy Fuller. “Parent participants are more actively engaged in our school and community as they are supported in understanding and interacting with school and community services. Participant families have been instilled with confidence and leadership. Parents not only participate in classes but participate in and lead in service opportunities ranging from teaching cultural lessons to working in the school library. We see a recognizable difference in student performance as parent capacity grows. Shelby County Schools is committed to the continual learning and growth of our constituents.”
The national review and synthesis of more than three years of data reports for seven selected TFLP communities showed the gains in three key areas:
- Student achievement increased: Children of TFLP parents outperformed a comparison group of children on multiple assessments, including state instruments, language acquisition, developmental reading and school reporting systems. TFLP narrowed the achievement gap among African Americans, Latino/Hispanic Americans, and their white and Asian American counterparts. In addition, 91 percent of parents said their child’s grades improved after being involved in Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.
- Parent engagement expanded: All principals in TFLP schools reported the greatest benefit of family literacy is parents’ increased support of their children’s education. Parents were more likely to participate in conferences with teachers, come to school events, and attend afterschool programs as a result of participation in TFLP.
- Adult reading behaviors improved, and they became better equipped to help their children: Adult reading behaviors increased and showed greater use of English in the home. TFLP had a tremendous influence on participating parents’ beliefs that they were capable of helping their children in education through involvement in homework and a better understanding of their child’s curriculum.
“These programs are laboratories of learning – not just for the families they serve but for the entire country as they provide a model of successfully engaging parents with low literacy in their children’s education,” said Sharon Darling, president & founder of NCFL. “The research clearly shows that family literacy promotes meaningful parental engagement and academic achievement.”
In addition to Shelby County, the other program communities included in the research synthesis were Denver, Colo.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Long Beach, Calif.; Mesa, Ariz.; Miami, Fla.; and Springdale, Ark. The synthesis of the research information was compiled by Dr. Jeri Levesque and can be viewed at http://familieslearning.org/pdf/TFLPSynthesis.pdf.