White House Announces Community Engagement Initiative

The White House has announced a collaboration between the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) on the Together for Tomorrow initiative, that looks to expand community engagement to turn around low-performing schools.

The initiative will attempt to instill a feeling of community responsibility over education performance. Through Together for Tomorrow, principals, teachers and school staff will work together with dedicated parents, community organizations and volunteers to aim for progress.

Joshua DuBois, special assistant to the President and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, said:

“Together for Tomorrow is aimed at changing the relationship between schools and community partners so everyone feels a shared responsibility to improve low-performing schools.

“Every child deserves an education that will enable them to succeed in a global economy. Faith and community groups are critical partners in this all-hands on deck moment.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the initiative during a town hall meeting at Memorial Middle School in Orlando, Fla.

Duncan said:

“Community and family involvement can be the make or break factor in successfully turning around low-performing schools.

“Together for Tomorrow will provide real-life examples of how to effectively transform our struggling schools, and build a community-to-community support system that can help take this critical work to scale.”

Robert Velasco, II, acting chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service said:

“Harnessing the power of national service to help improve schools across the nation is a great example of community driven solutions at work.

“The partnership of schools to their local communities is a natural marriage and the clearest pathway to provide these schools with the tools and resources necessary for success.”

The initiative will begin with six demonstration sites in Center, Orlando, Denver, New Haven, New Orleans and Memphis.

The initiative will look to focus on community and family to boost key student outcomes in attendance, behavior, course performance, college access and the  ABCs of improving low-performing schools.