Community engagement that supports school improvement received national attention today with the recognition of 31 organizations as Together for Tomorrow (TFT) Challenge winners for the 2012-13 school year.
TFT recognizes community-led partnerships that support struggling schools. The announcement of winners came from the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
Winners receive an invitation for up to two representatives from the organization to attend a Together for Tomorrow-related event in Washington, D.C. with the White House, the education department, and the CNCS. They are also included in the Together for Tomorrow online learning network, and receive national recognition as a school-community partnership working to raise student achievement in our lowest-performing schools.
The challenge is a joint initiative of the White House office of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships with the Department of Education and CNCS.
The challenge has been an opportunity for schools and districts, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations to join with others in efforts to improve their neediest schools by raising key measurable student outcomes—attendance, behavior, course performance, and college access, known as the ABCs.
TFT honorees include 24 initiatives that met criteria set out in the department’s Together for Tomorrow School Improvement Challenge and seven demonstration sites operating as part of the AmeriCorps VISTA program through CNCS.
“Our schools need community engagement to support and sustain school improvement. The Together for Tomorrow Challenge winners we recognize today have made model commitments to help foster partnerships, propel school improvement, and produce better outcomes for students. To sustain change over the long haul, nothing is more important,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in the announcement.
“Time after time, we have seen how committed parents and community volunteers can make a powerful difference in the educational outcomes of our students,” CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer said in the same statement. “Today we shine the spotlight on 31 initiatives that are bringing together citizens and communities to help young people achieve their best in school and prepare for success in life.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.