Families and Schools Together and Kansas Reading Roadmap Report Increase Parent Engagement Through Statewide Initiative

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Education partnership promotes reading proficiency by 3rd grade across Kansas

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Kids who participated in FAST are substantially ahead in terms of literacy development than those who did not participate, and we’re very excited by the progress in Kansas, both in terms of increased parent engagement and improved reading proficiency.

Families and Schools Together, an education non-profit and provider of FAST, a program that helps students succeed by building stronger relationships at home, announces the release of data showing that Kansas students are making big strides toward reading proficiency as part of FAST’s partnership with the Kansas Reading Roadmap (KRR) project. FAST, which helps engage parents in their child’s language learning, is in its third year with the KRR initiative, the goal of which is to bring students to reading level or above by the 3rd grade

Teachers reported a 53 percent increase in parent involvement in their child’s school and education, according to University of Kansas data from the 2014-2015 school year. Parent capacity to support the literacy development of their children at home also increased, as did their confidence in discussing their child’s reading progress with teachers and school staff. As part of the program, parents gained a better understanding of their support role in the child’s process of becoming a reader, therefore the number of students requiring intensive reading interventions decreased by 37.6 percent.

Children enrolled in the FAST program transitioned away from costly intensive reading interventions at more than double the rate of children not enrolled, showing a correlation between parent engagement and literacy development.

“The FAST and KRR initiative has changed parent perception about what is going on in the classroom and engaged them in their children’s learning” said Becky Nider, KRR program coordinator and FAST team member. “Our families continue to thrive at home as they build confidence and understanding of the important role they play in developing reading skills.”

Throughout the state of Kansas, KRR combines Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) with the FAST parent engagement program to help students achieve reading proficiency. Parents involved in FAST are provided support tools with which to discuss literacy accomplishments and expectations with teachers while learning how to interpret their child’s progress in and out of school.

“The data from the University of Kansas confirms the crucial role that parent engagement plays in the educational outcomes of children,” said Carol Goedken, CEO of Families and Schools Together, Inc. “Kids who participated in FAST are substantially ahead in terms of literacy development than those who did not participate, and we’re very excited by the progress in Kansas, both in terms of increased parent engagement and improved reading proficiency.”

Based on the initial success of the program, FAST and KRR will continue their partnership this spring to ensure that all students participating in the program reach reading proficiency by 3rd grade. In the fall of 2015, the number of institutions participating increased to 40 schools spread across the state of Kansas.

To learn more about the Kansas Reading Roadmap, please visit http://www.familiesandschools.org/why-fast-works/research-projects/kansas-reading-roadmap/.

To learn more about FAST, visit http://www.familiesandschools.org.

About Families & Schools Together
Families & Schools Together, Inc. is a non-profit organization located in Madison, Wisconsin whose mission is the development and worldwide dissemination of the FAST® Program. Founded in 1988 by scientific researcher and Professor of Social Work Dr. Lynn McDonald, the internationally-acclaimed FAST® Program is built on a strong platform of developmental and behavioral science and consistently produces statistically significant improvements in children’s behavior, emotional well-being, and academic performance. FAST® empowers parents to build social capital among schools and communities, and helps them strengthen their role as leaders within the family as well as in the community. By establishing these networks of support, families are more able to actively engage in their child’s education, leading to improved academic and developmental outcomes. To learn more about Families & Schools Together, Inc. and the FAST® Program, visit http://www.familiesandschools.org.

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Aaron Krish
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