Toyota Launches Literacy Program for Hispanic and Other Immigrant Families in Mesa

May 07, 2008

May 7, 2008 - Mesa, AZ - Toyota today announced that three Mesa 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 Longfellow Elementary School, Stevenson Elementary and Guerrero Elementary. All three schools are located in the Mesa Public School district and average between 46 percent and 89 percent Hispanic enrollment.

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. Since its inception, Toyota's commitment to the program exceeds $35 million.

In addition to launching the program at these three schools, the funding will allow NCFL to provide comprehensive support for training, educational materials and assistance at each site. Mesa Public Schools is working hand-in-hand with NCFL to implement the family literacy program.

Along with Mesa, four other cities are part of the latest expansion of the Toyota Family Literacy Program: Oakland, Calif.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Burien/Seattle, Wash.; and Miami, Fla. A total of 230 school districts submitted applications for the five spots.

"Student achievement involves a partnership between the child, the parents and the school," said Dr. Debra Duvall, superintendent, Mesa Public Schools. "The Toyota Family Literacy Program helps us to build a strong foundation that will lead to academic success for these students."

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

"By partnering with Toyota, NCFL has nurtured a proven formula of research and delivery of family literacy services that not only works for the participants, but 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 Mesa has been set by the impressive gains made by thousands of TFLP participants in family literacy programs nationwide."

"We're excited to begin the next chapter of the Toyota Family Literacy Program in Mesa," said Patricia Pineda, group vice president, philanthropy, at Toyota Motor North America. "Through the dedication of NCFL, we have seen first-hand how the program has helped improve the literacy skills for thousands of children and their parents across the country. We look forward to many more success stories in Mesa."

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

Since 1991, Toyota and NCFL have forged successful programs to promote family literacy in the United States. 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

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