A Community Effort

Community Effortcommunity

Supporting Family Involvement In Education Makes Good Sense.

Encouraging family involvement is a good way to enhance your community’s financial investment in education. If all parents of children ages one through nine spent just one hour a day, five days a week, reading with their children or helping with schoolwork, the total number of learning hours would be in the thousands, maybe even millions. The total dollar value of all that teaching is enormous—and the value of our children is incalculable.

Community Guide

Communities That Support Schools And Families Are Better Places To Live, Work, And Learn

All across America, communities are pulling together to strengthen education because they know it’s the key to a strong local economy, a good quality of life, and a brighter future for everyone.

For communities, making education better means supporting families and schools. Families are responsible for raising children, of course, and schools are responsible for teaching children. But in these difficult times, schools and parents often cannot do the job alone, try as they might. They need to reach out for the help of neighbors and others in their community.

That is where service organizations and agencies, religious groups, volunteer groups, clubs, community leaders, and caring citizens can help build a true “community partnership for learning”—and make their community a better place to live, work, and learn.

How to build your community partnership for learning
Here's what your community can do:

Support greater family involvement in education.

Parents and families can’t sit on the sidelines when it comes to their children’s education. They need to be personally involved, every day. Parents need to read with children, help with homework, stay in touch with teachers, and participate in school activities.

Research shows that when parents do get more involved, their children get better grades and test scores, graduate from high school at higher rates, have greater enrollment in higher education, and are better behaved. In all these ways, family involvement in education helps children to grow up to be productive, responsible members of the community.

Support schools.

Community members can serve as mentors and volunteers in school. In addition, communities can offer after-school, summer learning, and recreation programs; locate library and cultural services near to schools; make neighborhoods safer and drug-free; encourage the development of business-school partnerships to create school-to-work programs; support schools’ efforts to develop challenging academic standards; and work to improve education in many other ways.

These efforts will be rewarded. Communities that have good schools and better educated residents are almost always safer, more stable communities where businesses and families thrive. And these communities can be magnets for new businesses and jobs.

Children: 20% of our population, 100% of our future

Support the effort to help children learn. Find out what resources are available in your community for young people and help expand them. Get personally involved as a volunteer.

Success Stories

Gale Cruise

North Carolina Partnership for Children

The North Carolina Partnership for Children (Smart Start) is a public-private early childhood initiative designed to help all North Carolina children enter school healthy and ready to succeed. Its unique, comprehensive approach allows communities to make decisions and plans that are specific to the needs of young children and families. Gale Cruise, Executive Director of Stokes County Partnership for Children, Walnut Cove, North Carolina, shared her thoughts on what qualities were important for an effective teacher.

“Quality teaching and exciting learning do not just happen. Rich, interactive learning activities must be planned. How a teacher structures the learning environment positively or negatively effects learning in his or her classroom.”

“Children need the opportunity to explore a concept or set of materials before being guided through a lesson. A safe, inviting, learning environment sets the stage for learning. There needs to be a connection between teacher and student—actually responding to one another. Everyone, teacher and students, must feel good about the learning process. The learning process should be fun as well as educational. Tailoring a teaching strategy to the particular students involved and to the nature of the material utilized improves learning. Learning is a way of expanding their horizons and creating a path towards growth and development.”

Interactive learning allows students to:

  • Encounter new problems or opportunities from which to learn
  • Listen and observe
  • Research, explore, investigate and collect information
  • Absorb ideas at their own pace and to digest them thoroughly before acting on them or making decisions
  • Become involved in the learning process


Using discovery learning creates opportunities for teachers to learn how their students’ minds work. Teachers can then apply these insights to set up appropriate learning situations and facilitate students’ pursuit of knowledge.

Teachers learn:

  • When to provide a nudge
  • What hints to give each particular student
  • What not to tell students (not to give away the answer)
  • How to read student behaviors as they work through challenges and how to design meaningful learning situations that take those behaviors into account
  • How to help students use mistakes constructively
  • How to guide students so that giving them control of their explorations does not mean losing control of the classroom


Effective teaching should include allowing children time to examine a concept being presented, an explanation of the task expected, encouragement of the trial and error process, modeling of expected student behavior and giving teacher help and support when needed.