Soliciting Input for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers

[Note: The comment period has expired and comments have been closed.]

The United States Department of Education (Department) recognizes that family engagement in school is an important component of student success. As schools improve their efforts to engage families, we know that some schools, districts and states may need additional support and technical assistance. Through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, Congress has authorized funding for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers Program.  Title IV, Part E, Sections 4501 – 4506 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, is intended to provide financial support to organizations to provide technical assistance and training to State educational agencies and local educational agencies in the implementation and enhancement of systemic and effective family engagement policies, programs, and activities that lead to improvements in student development and academic achievement.  The Secretary is authorized to award grants to statewide organizations (or consortia of such organizations) to establish statewide family engagement centers that (1) carry out parent education, and family engagement in education; or (2) provide comprehensive training and technical assistance to State educational agencies and local educational agencies, schools, organizations that support family-school partnerships, and other organizations that carry out such programs.

Because the Department is very interested in your input, we are posting the legislation as part of this blog post.  We encourage all interested parties to submit opinions, ideas, suggestions, and comments pertaining to the Statewide Family Engagement Centers program in the comments section below.  This document will be posted for public comments until 5:00 PM EDT on Friday May 11, 2018, at which time the response section will be closed and we will begin considering input received as we develop the requirements, priorities, selection criteria, and definitions.  Though the Department will not respond to comments, the Department will read and consider all comments in finalizing the Statewide Family Engagement Centers program and competition design.  In early summer, we will publish a notice inviting applications in the Federal Register.

This is a moderated site.

That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. We intend to post all responsive submissions on a timely basis. We reserve the right not to post comments that are unrelated to this request, are inconsistent with ED’s Web site policies, are advertisements or endorsements, or are otherwise inappropriate. To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. For more information, please be sure to read the “comments policy” tab at the top of the Web page.

The fine print

Please understand that posts must be related to the new competition and program, and should be as specific as possible, and, as appropriate, supported by data and relevant research. Posts must be limited to 1,000 words. All opinions, ideas, suggestions and comments are considered informal input. ED will not respond to individual posts, and these posts may or may not be reflected in the policies and requirements of the program. If you include a link to additional information in your post, we urge you to ensure that the linked-to information is accessible to all individuals, including individuals with disabilities. Additionally, please do not include links to advertisements or endorsements; we will delete all such links before your comment is posted.

Again, thank you for your interest in this opportunity to support family engagement in student learning. We look forward to hearing from you.

Department of Education’s linking policy

Department of Education’s disclaimer of endorsement

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Celebrate Character Day

This Friday is the second annual Character Day, and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate America’s students – students like DeAndre in Milwaukee.

DeAndre was always driven to learn, but often bullied. His school didn’t have the supports or resources it needed to help all students succeed. But DeAndre stuck with it. And he built on his tenacity with a little help from College Possible, a nonprofit working with students to help them get to and through college, and one of our partners through the Department’s Investing in Innovation fund.

College Possible partnered with DeAndre’s school to help create an environment where more students would be ready for college and their careers. That meant not only coaching students through the mechanics of preparing for college, but also reinforcing students’ sense of purpose and deep understanding that focused efforts now will lead them to a brighter future. When students are inspired by their work and believe that diligent efforts can lead them to success inside and outside of the classroom, they connect present-day learning to lifelong goals, and live out the experience that intelligence can grow through hard work.

These key skills not only prepare students for college and careers, they also are two key ingredients for long-term success according to new research, particularly for students who may be falling behind. And these are just two among the many learnable skills that that educators and researchers now describe as character education, socioemotional learning or non-cognitive skills.

Regardless of what they’re called, these skills can play an important role in building on students’ strengths, and helping them succeed academically.

Of course, like any other skills, they are not a stand-alone solution for the many grave challenges students face, from under-resourced schools to communities that are short on opportunity. But when schools integrate chances to learn these skills into core subjects and classrooms, more students can be on the path to success.

These pathways have created real opportunities for students like DeAndre, who just began his sophomore year at Marquette University and is the first member of his family to go to college. As DeAndre strives to achieve his full potential, he also wants to be model for his younger siblings.

“I want to be that student that pushes onto the next level,” he says, “I can’t stop now.” You can learn more about DeAndre’s story here.

To join in, or to host your own Character Day event, visit www.characterday.org. Please consider lending your voice to this conversation.