April 25, 2007 – Wichita - Toyota today announced that three Wichita elementary schools will be among the newest sites for its successful Toyota Family Literacy Program (TFLP). TFLP – the first nationwide program of its kind to focus on the needs of Hispanic and other immigrant families – is coordinated by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL), the country's leading advocate for family literacy.
Toyota has contributed $600,000 to fund the program at Park Elementary School, Colvin Elementary School and Stanley Elementary School. These there schools have an average of nearly 50 percent Hispanic student enrollment.
TFLP – which got its start in 2003 and is now functioning in 10 cities across the U.S. – aims to increase basic language and literacy skills among Hispanic and other immigrant families, and provide parents with the skills they need to help their children succeed in school. The program specifically serves children in kindergarten to third grade and their parents. TFLP is unique in that it incorporates NCFL's multicultural family literacy model, which combines key components including: ESL courses, early childhood education, parenting education, Parent and Child Together (PACT) activities, and computer-literacy instruction. Toyota has donated $26 million to the program since its inception.
In addition to the launch at these three schools, the funding will allow NCFL to provide comprehensive support for training, educational materials and assistance at each site. Wichita State University and Wichita Public Schools are working hand-in-hand with NCFL to implement the family literacy program.
Along with Wichita, four other cities are part of the latest expansion of the Toyota Family Literacy Program: Chula Vista, Calif.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; San Antonio, Texas; and Orlando, Fla. A total of 155 school districts submitted applications for the five spots, all vying for part of the overall $3 million grant from Toyota.
"The growing Hispanic population in Wichita has created a need for high-quality programs to support families in need," said Donald L. Beggs, president, Wichita State University. "The Toyota Family Literacy Program encourages parental involvement in the public schools that can lead to better outcomes for young children," he added. "Educating children in our elementary schools who speak English as a second language has been a major challenge for educators. Improving their outcomes through high-quality programs is a worthy goal."
"The Toyota Family Literacy Program addresses two of the most critical factors in student success -- strong literacy skills and meaningful parental involvement," said Winston Brooks, superintendent, Wichita Public Schools. "Non-English speaking parents at Park, Colvin and Stanley elementary schools have the opportunity to increase their language skills, while at the same time becoming more involved in the education of their children both at school and at home. The commitment of this program to empower parents to help themselves and their children is tremendous."
Early results from cities where TFLP has already implemented include:
• Significant literacy gains by adults, the majority of which improved their literacy scores by one or more levels
• Ratings for children in the program that exceeded peers in areas including academic performance, motivation to learn, attendance, classroom behavior, involvement in classroom activities, and other areas
• 70% of participating families holding a library card by the end of the first year
• Waiting lists at the majority of program sites due to high demand
"Partnering with Toyota, NCFL has nurtured a proven formula of research and delivery of family literacy services that not only works for the participants, it works for the betterment of the communities," said Sharon Darling, president and founder of NCFL. "And, we're proud to say, our path to success here in Wichita has been set by the impressive gains made by thousands of TFLP participants in family literacy programs throughout the nation."
"As we expand the successful Toyota Family Literacy Program into communities across the country, we continue to hear the tremendous success stories from thousands of families in diverse communities," said Patricia Pineda, group vice president, legal, philanthropy and administration at Toyota Motor North America. "We're thrilled to partner with NCFL to bring the program to Wichita and we look forward to making even more positive and lasting contributions to students and families."
The National Center for Family Literacy was established by Sharon Darling in 1989 with a grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. For the past 17 years, NCFL has pioneered educational initiatives that open pathways to continuous life improvement for the nation's most at-risk children and families. The organization has supported more than 150,000 teachers and thousands of volunteers, leading to positive gains for more than 1 million families. To learn more, call 1-877-FAMLIT-1 or visit www.famlit.org.
Since 1991, Toyota and NCFL have forged successful programs to promote family literacy in the United States. Toyota has contributed $26 million to help NCFL establish family literacy model programs throughout the country. Today, the Toyota/NCFL partnership accounts for nearly 211 family literacy sites in 38 cities and 26 states. As part of this partnership, the Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year award has been presented annually since 1997 and recognizes individual teachers' contributions to improving literacy among youth and adults. Additional information on Toyota's commitment to improving education nationwide is available at www.toyota.com/about/community/education/.
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