Engaged Families and Communities

Create Community Oriented, Family Focused Schools

Minority Community Outreach 


Through Minority Community Outreach, NEA aspires to:

  • Strengthen relationships with current partners representing ethnic minority communities, and initiate new partnerships and/or projects around education and other issues of mutual interest.
  • Establish partnerships with ethnic minority communities to develop strategies to close the gaps in student achievement.
  • Develop and implement, in collaboration with community partners, an education campaign to challenge attacks on public education such as vouchers, privatization, and tuition tax credits.
  • In collaboration with community partners, advocate for sound public policy at the state, local, and national levels to reduce class size; secure adequate wages for teachers and education support professionals; promote programs that assist disadvantaged and English language learners; and address other critical issues.
Public Engagement Project 


The statistics are alarming: more than 80 percent of white students graduate from high school, while barely 60 percent of African-American and Hispanic students graduate. Scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, “the nation’s report card,” follow a similar pattern.

NEA’s Public Engagement Project is closing achievement gaps based on this premise: It’s time we take family and community engagement as seriously as we take curriculum, standards, and tests. The approach is driven by real-life experience. Nine out of 10 students attend public schools, where NEA members work at every level from pre-kindergarten to post-graduate university programs.

Research shows that partnerships of schools, families, and community organizations dedicated to student success can play a vital role in closing achievement gaps among students of similar ability. As the Annenberg Institute for School Reform concludes in its analysis of multiple research studies extending over six years, Building Partnerships to Reinvent School Culture (Harvard University Press, 2009), such partnerships consistently contribute to:

  • Better attendance
  • Higher test scores
  • Completing high school
  • Aspiring to a college education

Over the last five years, NEA and its affiliates have convened more than 125 community conversations in 21 states — catalysts for just the kind of change the research indicates we need. Local union and community leaders form coalitions of families, students, teachers, business people, clergy, and other stakeholders. Working together, they identify causes of achievement gaps in their communities, set priorities, develop and implement action plans, and mobilize to get results.

Read Across America 


The National Education Association is building a nation of readers through its signature program, NEA’s Read Across America. Now in its thirteenth year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources. NEA’s Read Across America Day, NEA’s national reading celebration takes place each year on or near March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too!

National Board For Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) 


Teaching in High Needs Initiative (THNI) allows for an entire staff including building leadership and ESP to take part in one, overarching professional development experience. This experience focuses school reform on the needs of the students first, and helps teachers through collaborative, reflective practices to design and implement appropriate instructional sequences. Schools who participate in this use the Take One! Products and services from the NBPTS.

What Community Members Can Do 


NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign needs the energy and passion of everyone, especially community members, to ensure every student has access to a great public school. Many of today’s students face tremendous challenges to academic success. The Priority Schools Campaign is NEA members and the community working together in struggling schools to address those challenges, increase graduation rates, and close gaps in academic achievement for all students.

Coalition for Community Schools 


The Coalition for Community Schools and the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education both work with NEA to empower families and to get schools and communities together to address the needs of the whole child.

America’s Promise Alliance 


Grad Nation is a national movement to mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. It’s a call to action for concerned citizens, businesses, community leaders, policy makers, educators and the nation. With leadership and focus, this is a solvable problem. Support for education reform is essential, but this alone is not enough. We must also build the public and political will necessary to sustain a successful national movement. NEA Executive Director John Wilson serves on this advisory board and is the conduit through which learnings from the PSC are shared.

Corporation for National and Community Service 


PSC is working with the government’s Corporation for National and Community Service to guide teachers to technical assistance and resources that helps them develop community service programs for students



PSC is working with EPA and PSC to pilot stakeholder conversations that help communities identify their priority needs in improving school and student outcomes. AT&T invests significant resources to advance education, strengthen communities and improve lives. Through philanthropic initiatives and collaboration, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation support projects that create opportunities, make connections and address community needs where we – and our customers – live and work. In 2009, we contributed more than $155 million through corporate, employee and AT&T Foundation giving programs.

Boys and Girls Clubs of America 


EPA is creating a model with BGCA that extends their Dropout Prevention model to working with NEA student and retired members as mentors

U.S. Green Building Council 


The US Green Building Council is one of our newest partners – working with us to promote healthy school buildings around the country. USGBC is a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable building design and construction. Developers of the LEED building rating system.

National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education 


NCPIE advocates for the involvement of parents and families in their children’s education, and works to foster relationships between home, school, and community to enhance the education of all our nation’s young people.

Jobs for America’s Graduates 


Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) is a school-to-work transition program focused on helping at-risk youth graduate from high school; and either find successful placements in the workforce.

United Way Campaign for the Common Good 


The United Way Campaign for the Common Good will mobilize millions of people and organizations across the country to take action and improve the education, income and health of America’s communities. The campaign kicks off with a focus on education and an ambitious goal to cut the high school dropout rate in half.

View more articles in: Engaged Families and Communities Resources

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Classroom Superheroes

Educators in priority schools are rising to a superhero challenge every single day. Nominate educators in your community and support others at classroomsuperheroes.com

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PSC Superhero Keith G. Pemberton

Keith G. Pemberton is a social worker at Oak Hill Elementary School in High Point, N.C., where he has built a strong and steady pipeline for parental involvement, specifically among fathers and male mentors. Check out his Classroom Superhero profile and leave some words of encouragement.

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