June 14, 2018
Members, Partners and Stakeholders,

Innovative communities are coming up with new ways to avoid the summer slide, or loss of academic achievement that can occur during the summer months, as evidenced in several articles featured In the Trenches. At the same time, research by the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that income inequality, not lack of parent involvement, continues to be a leading factor in which children maintain their academic advancement during the summer break. Read more about this and other important research in Ask the Experts.

Finally, we'd like to draw your attention to a special opportunity made available by our partner, the Harvard Graduate School of Education Professional Education department. Between now and July 1, NAFSCE members will receive a $250 discount on the Family in Education: Creating Effective Home and School Partnerships for Family Success program. If you are not yet a NAFSCE member, join today to receive the discount for you or your entire team.

We hope to see many of you at the National Family and Community Engagement Conference in Cleveland in July. Be sure to stop by our exhibit table to say hello, or attend one of our sessions.

Best regards,
Vito Borrello
NAFSCE Executive Director

Date: July 11-13, 2018
Location: Cleveland, OH
The 2018 National Family and Community Engagement Conference, hosted by NAFSCE partner, the  Institute for Educational Leadership,  is an excellent capacity building opportunity for educators, other professionals, parent leaders and a range of stakeholders to learn strategies and best practices that focus on solutions that enhance and expand engagement through family-school community partnerships. With 3 pre-conference sessions, 6 site-visits and over 75 workshops covering six strands, participants are sure to walk away with new skills and strategies that they can immediately apply to their work. Learn more.

These programs, hosted by NAFSCE partner, the Harvard Graduate School of Education Professional Education department, address an urgent challenge or priority - from narrowing achievement gaps to leading inclusive schools - and provide educators with important context and data, as well as concrete solutions for expanding opportunity and achieving excellence with equity. Download the brochure.

Special Opportunity for NAFSCE Members: Between now and  July 1, NAFSCE members are invited to apply for priority consideration, including a 
discounted registration fee, for  Family Engagement in Education: Creating Effective Home and School Partnerships for Student Success program, led by Dr. Karen L. Mapp. This special offer applies  only to the Family Engagement in Education program. Click here to learn more.

July 24-25 -  Colorado Springs, CO
August 2-3 - Lincoln, NE
Families In Schools, with funding from The Kresge Foundation, is offering free facilitator curriculum trainings on Transition to College for school and organizational staff. Transition to College is a six-week program that helps address the transition of low-income and immigrant students from high school to college. Click here to find out more.
June 27, 1:00pm ET 
Join Learning Heroes for a webinar on Developing Life Skills in Children: A Road Map for Communicating with Parents, on Wednesday, June 27 at 1:00 p.m. ET. This one-hour webinar with Learning Heroes' Founder and President Bibb Hubbard and research partner Edge Research includes vital findings about how parents feel and talk about their children's social, emotional, and academic development. Click here to register.
NAFSCE is seeking volunteers for several different roles in our new NAFSCE Ambassador Program including Group Leader, Resource Librarian, Engagement Liaison and New Member Welcome Ambassador. Find out what it means to be a NAFSCE Ambassador. Complete our interest form today.

In a ruling that recognizes the critical right of all parents to participate in their children's education, a federal court today rejected Gustine, California school officials' attempt to dismiss a Latina mother's lawsuit challenging the school principal's decision to ban her from campus after she sought to protect her son's education. "California law acknowledges the importance of parental involvement in children's education," said Thomas A. Saenz, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund president and general counsel. "This court ruling recognizes that such involvement cannot be unfairly or arbitrarily denied to any parent."
The summer learning gap between children in poverty and those from middle class families may be shrinking somewhat - but those from wealthy households are pulling even farther ahead of the pack, as parents spend ever-increasing amounts on their their children's academic enrichment, according to a new study by the National Center for Education Statistics Worth noting, though, is that 25% of poor families encouraged their children to do math and writing activities every day in the summer, as opposed to 12% of non-poor families. That seems to suggest that lack of parental involvement is not the cause for the participation gap in the other enriching summer activities. Whatever the reason, income inequality is setting the stage for tomorrow's adults to be living starkly unequal lives, perhaps even more so than today's adults. 
In many families today, both parents likely work  -  and among lower-income school communities, one or both parents often work multiple jobs. Connecting with parents in those circumstances can be difficult for educators, though doing so also remains a key component in raising student achievement.    Fortunately, technology has made it easier to find a way that works for all involved. Schools and districts can start by surveying parents on their  preferred methods of communication  and developing  a strategy  around that. Additional recommended reading: 8 Tips to Strengthen Parent Involvement with Digital Tools.

As schools start to close for summer, working parents face a deceptively tough question: Who will care for their children over the summer? Parents want their children to be happy and healthy during the 10 to 12 weeks that school is out of session, but with the high costs of child care, many working parents struggle to ensure this is the case.

To fully understand the financial impact summer care has on families, the Center for American Progress analyzed data from the Afterschool Alliance's  America After 3PM surveyThis analysis estimates that the average family will spend more than $3,000 on summer programs for two children, representing 20 percent of a typical family's income for the entire summer.

Technology has been around long enough for many experts to now be able to state, unequivocally, that picture books foster better language skills than electronic books. The journal  "Mind, Brain and Education" says that additional studies also indicate that comprehension and reading are both negatively affected by the presence of electronic features when parents read with their kids. As such, publishers throughout the world are cognizant of the shift towards digitized reading in the early grades and are looking into more creative ways of using electronic books, so that it doesn't take away from young readers.

Superintendent Sharon Contreras, of North Carolina, runs the Guilford County School District, and this summer, her team is making a large investment to combat summer slide - the  loss of academic gains that can occur over idle summer months.  "We think it's important that reading is a family endeavor and that we're encouraging our parents to read, the older siblings to read, and the younger children in our households to begin the process of literacy," Contreras said. "It will strengthen [familial] bonds and strengthen the learning process."
According to  Feeding America , 3 million school students in the state of Texas alone qualify for free or reduced-priced meals through the National School Lunch Program. However, only one in six will get that benefit over the summer months due to limited resources when the schools are closed, lack of transportation to participating sites, or lack of education around the program, among other issues. These are issues that the Summer Food Service Program aims to tackle. Texas school districts, together with several across the country, have chosen to work with the program to provide free meals for students 18 years of age and younger, regardless of economic status.
Cummings Great Expectations is one of three preschools focusing on Flint's lead-exposed children, two of which have seen 20-30 percent improvement in cognitive abilities in one year's time.  The future of the programs, however, is in question.  "Flint has 5,000 kids who are zero to five years old. We can only serve 350 of the most needy," says Amy Hesse, the University of Michigan-Flint's central administrator of early childhood development programming. "I don't even have words for that. [Additionally,] w e don't know if we're going to be here past September 2019."
Elementary school leaders and educators have increasingly recognized that the environments in which young children in their communities are growing up have an effect on whether children enter school prepared for a classroom setting.  "We thought if we could get to [students] sooner, we could avoid [a lack of preparation]," Principal Diane Joyce said in an interview. Parent involvement nights tend to be a "one-shot deal," she said, so the goal was to create a program in which the teachers and the parents with babies could get to know each other better. Learn more.
When Chakrapani "Chaks" Appalabattula and his wife both got sick, their young children were stuck. There was no one to get to them to school and the family wasn't connected with other parents or teachers who could help.  For Appalabattula, the situation triggered the same feelings of isolation that plagued him when he came the U.S. as a 22-year-old immigrant from India.  Now he's created an app to solve the problem he experienced: "We connect parents with educators. Through our comprehensive mobile communication app, we ensure that every parent, regardless of culture, language spoken or physical health, can be intimately involved in their child's education."
The Together for Students initiative recently  announced  the 10 communities that will receive about $150,000 each to work on supporting local students and families. Two of the organizing nonprofits behind Together for Children, the Coalition for Community Schools and Communities In Schools, emphasize finding resources for students' and families' needs outside of the classroom. Read more.

When you support NAFSCE, you are supporting initiatives that have the potential to change the way our country thinks about the family's role in our children's education. From our partnership with the NEA to develop higher-education training for future teachers, to our work with the Frameworks Institute to create a fundamental shift in the way people think about engaging parents and caregivers, NAFSCE's work will have a profound effect on how we all think about family engagement.

Learn more about our membership benefits for individuals and organizations

Providence Connections is currently seeking a Fatherhood Engagement Specialist that will create, plan and implement various programs and activities to engage fathers in programs that will enhance their well-being, strengthen their parenting skills and provide opportunities to meet other dads and find support among their peers.
NAFSCE's Career Center features a searchable job bank focused solely on family engagement opportunities. Posted positions are promoted in NAFSCE News, reaching thousands of family engagement professionals each month. 

Members can also post their resume in our searchable Resume/CV database.

NAFSCE Members receive one free job or resume posting. Organizational members receive five postings. Not a NAFSCE member? Join today to enjoy this exclusive member benefit.