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Register for listening sessions to inform the work of the NC Statewide Family Engagement Center

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Families matter.

And family engagement in education matters.

To that end, the U.S. Department of Education selected the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) to lead the new North Carolina Statewide Family Engagement Center (NC SFEC), including a five-year grant totaling $4,985,858

David Sisk, who co-authored this article, will be the statewide director of North Carolina’s Family Engagement Center. He previously served as the director of multilingual learner & Title III1 in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

The NC SFEC will work alongside a consortium of state and local organizations to provide a coordinated continuum of family engagement support designed to build the capacity of families, schools, and communities.

“This program is so special,” says a parent in Nebraska already a part of the SFEC in that state. “This changes everything.”

Kicking off starts with engagement

Families across North Carolina are invited to participate in virtual listening sessions to kick off the work of the NC SFEC.

Eight sessions are being offered in April and May 2024. The sessions will last 45 minutes and be led by team members from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) and the National Center for Families Learning.

These listening sessions are part of a research study. The sessions will be recorded, and interpretation services will be available.

Families may apply for a $25 gift card to offset costs associated with participation.

Scan the QR code below, and register today. Your voice matters.

Here is the flyer in Spanish.

What can you expect in year one of the NC SFEC?

This year, the NC SFEC is conducting asset mapping informed by the listening sessions, three school districts will be identified to start family literacy programs, an advisory council will be established, the NC SFEC will get connected with the national SFEC network, and it will establish a digital presence.

Partners include the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, Book Harvest, Bellwether, UNCG, and Parents as Teachers.

What and where are SFECs?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the purpose of a State Family Engagement Center (SFEC) is twofold:

  1. To carry out parent education and family engagement in education, programs, and
  2. To provide comprehensive training and technical assistance to SEAs, LEAs, schools identified by SEAs and LEAs, organizations that support family-school partnerships and other such programs.

Since 2018, organizations serving 24 states, including North Carolina, have received federal funding to support the establishment of SFECs through the U.S. Department of Education. 

Twelve SFECs in 13 states across the country a part of a national network, according to this website. The network is led by the National Center for Families Learning and the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE), with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Sign up for the national newsletter here.

NCFL’s bigger vision for family engagement

Beyond the work of the SFECs, NCFL’s vision — 60×30 — is to establish coordinated and aligned family learning systems in 60 communities by 2030, built with and for families, to increase education and economic outcomes and create more equitable communities.

Courtesy of NCFL

This brief, released in January 2023, documents the need for and results of NCFL’s initiatives surrounding family learning systems, family literacy, family engagement, and family leadership.

Show 1 footnote
  1. Federal funding to support English language acquisition and academic achievement for English learners and immigrant children and youth.
Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.

David Sisk

David Sisk is the director of the North Carolina Statewide Family Engagement Center.