BCPS in the News

Toyota expands national family learning program

Thursday, March 31, 2016
Toyota expands national family learning program to 3 Broward County sites
$175,000 grant to boost literacy skills, strengthen families, improve communities

SUNRISE, Fla. (March 30, 2016) – The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), in partnership with Toyota and Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), today unveiled a unique family learning program. This innovative, two-generation model called Toyota Family Learning is a solution to the educational challenges facing low-income and diverse families. BCPS received a three-year, $175,000 grant from Toyota and NCFL to launch the program.

Nearly 100 parents and children are enrolled in Toyota Family Learning at three BCPS sites. The program empowers parents and caregivers, as well as their children, to become engaged in their schools and communities. It also leverages technology as parents and children learn together and serve their communities through NCFL’s Family Service Learning approach, Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time® and family-to-family mentoring. The Toyota Family Learning initiative expands and supports the existing BCPS family literacy programs.

For Fernando Rapa and his wife Maria Palomera, Toyota Family Learning represents an opportunity to help ensure a successful future for their four-year-old daughter. After moving from Venezuela last fall, Palomera and daughter, Maya, are both attending school and learning English at the Village Multipurpose Center.

“We joined because we want to learn with our daughter in a fun and engaging way,” said Palomera. “We want her to do well in school when she begins kindergarten; to be motivated and excited about learning. We are proud of the values we’re instilling in Maya, and believe this program is building a foundation that will help her succeed.”

Broward County is the 14th community to become part of Toyota Family Learning. One other organization will be unveiled this year. In total, Toyota has committed $10 million over a six-year period for this national education initiative.

“Toyota Family Learning has allowed us to grow and enrich our current Family Literacy program for our parents and students,” said Carletha Shaw, principal, Community School South. “The parents are being given the tools necessary to participate as full partners in their children's education, get better jobs and be more engaged in their own neighborhoods.”

Parents and their children spend more than four hours a week learning together in this free program. In addition to gaining skills to help their children succeed in and outside the classroom, parents also build important technology, language literacy and job skills.

Research shows that strong family support helps children succeed in school.

“When parents are engaged in their children’s learning, our students, schools, District and communities all benefit,” said Superintendent Robert W. Runcie. “Through Toyota Family Learning, we are expanding our District’s high-quality family literacy programs with new educational experiences that extend beyond traditional classroom walls.”

Independent evaluations show that among families graduating from Toyota Family Learning in 2015:
    •    90% of parents increased their engagement in their children’s education
    •    96% of parents became better teachers to their children
    •    75% of parents increased their English language skills
    •    34% of parents got a better job

“Toyota Family Learning bridges the gap between classroom and lifelong learning,” said Sharon Darling, president and founder, NCFL. “The impact on these families and the community will be seen and felt for decades.”

This year, NCFL and Toyota celebrate 25 years of partnership. Since 1991, more than 1.1 million families across the country have been impacted by programs developed by NCFL – a pioneer in the concept of families learning and serving together to raise literacy levels and improve communities. NCFL-Toyota site-based programs have been brought to life in nearly 60 cities across the U.S.

“Toyota is proud to partner with NCFL to elevate parents and children through education and technology training,” said Luis Rosero, director of Toyota’s Hispanic Business Strategy Group. “The families are able to make a difference in their own lives, as well as the community.”

The Toyota Family Learning initiative also includes two online learning communities: Family Time Machine, which encourages grantee site families to learn and thrive together, and Toyota Family Trails, a website that inspires families nationwide to learn through family exploration and adventure.

Watch a video of today’s news conference.


Pictured Above
Left: (L-R)Maria Palomera, Toyota Family Learning Parent Participant; Sharon Darling, National Center for Families Learning; Superintendent Robert W. Runcie, Broward County Public Schools; and Principal Carletha Shaw, Community School South
Center: (L-R) Maria Palomera, Toyota Family Learning Parent Participant; Dr. Valerie Wanza, Office of School Performance and Accountability;
Dr. Rosalind Osgood, Chair, Broward County School Board; Luis Rosero, Toyota Motor North America, Inc.; Mayor Michael J. Ryan, City of Sunrise
Right:  (L-R) Mayor Michael J. Ryan, City of Sunrise; Sharon Darling, National Center for Families Learning; Superintendent Robert W. Runcie, Broward County Public Schools; Luis Rosero, Toyota Motor North America, Inc.; Principal Carletha Shaw, Community School South  
For Additional Photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/eeey9gc3bgumtwj/AAA4Kdk2cr__r7Bv_PtiB1txa?dl=0


The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping adults and children learn together. NCFL creates and deploys innovative two-generation programs, strategies and online learning solutions that support learning, literacy and family engagement in education. From the classroom to the community to the digital frontier, NCFL collaborates with educators, advocates and policy-makers to help families construct hotspots for learning wherever they go. For more information on NCFL’s 27-year track record, visit familieslearning.org.

Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands.~ Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 42,000 people (more than 33,000 in the U.S.).~ Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.67 million cars and trucks (more than 2.35 million in the U.S.) in 2014 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.~~
Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment.~ As part of this commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.~

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest public school system in the United States and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has nearly 270,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 238 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 103 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population. Students are from 204 different countries and speak 135 different languages. For more information about BCPS and the Centennial Celebration, visit browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools, like BCPS on Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.

Media Contacts
Lindsay Sainlar
National Center for Families Learning

Ashley Brauer
Guthrie/Mayes Public Relations, for NCFL

Cathleen Brennan
Broward County Public Schools