December 19, 2007 – Miami, FL - Toyota today announced that three Miami 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 Riverside Elementary, Ethel K. Beckham Elementary and Zora Neale Hurston Elementary. All three schools are located in the Miami-Dade County Public School district, where the student population is 61 percent Hispanic.
TFLP – which got its start in 2003 and is now functioning in 20 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, children's education, parenting education, Parent and Child Together (PACT) activities, and computer-literacy instruction. Toyota has donated over $29 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. Miami-Dade County Public Schools is working hand-in-hand with NCFL to implement the family literacy program.
Besides Miami, four other cities are part of the latest expansion of the family literacy program: Burien/Seattle, Wash.; Oakland, Calif.; Mesa, Ariz.; and Salt Lake City, Utah. A total of 230 school districts submitted applications for the five spots, all vying for part of the overall $3 million grant from Toyota.
"Family involvement is at the core of great public schools, and the Toyota Family Literacy Program provides our families at Beckham, Zora Neale Hurston, and Riverside elementary schools with unique opportunities to learn together," said Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew. "It takes collaboration to ensure educational excellence. This program will increase literacy skills for our students and parents, enabling them to aim high, dream big, and reach their goals."
Results from the TFLP programs 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
• 92% of parents stating they're better able to help their child with homework
• 91% of parents stating their child's grades have improved
• 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 Miami has been set by the impressive gains made by thousands of TFLP participants in family literacy programs throughout the nation."
"Due to the incredible commitment of NCFL, the Toyota Family Literacy Program has helped improve the literacy skills of thousands of families in diverse communities across the country," said Patricia Pineda, group vice president, legal, philanthropy and administration at Toyota Motor North America, Inc. "We're excited to bring the program to Miami and 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 18 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 $29 million to help NCFL establish family literacy model programs throughout the country. (The automaker has pledged an additional $6 million to expand the Toyota Family Literacy Program to 10 new cities by 2010, making the total investment $35 million). Today, the Toyota/NCFL partnership accounts for nearly 226 family literacy sites in 43 cities and 27 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/our_commitment/philanthropy/education.
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