With addition of Plano, Texas, Toyota Family Learning expands to 11 communities

PFLLogoWe’re excited to announce that Plano Family Literacy School (PFLS), part of the Plano (TX) Independent School District, is the most recent organization to become part of Toyota Family Learning [watch video here]. With the addition of PFLS, Toyota Family Learning grantees now serve families in 22 schools, libraries, and community-based organizations in 11 communities. Four other cities will be unveiled this year.

PFLS was chosen for its dedication to building healthy families by developing life, literacy, and parenting skills through intergenerational education. All PFLS participants are English language learners, with 100 percent of the families classified as low-income and living at or below the poverty line. Families attending PFLS speak eight different languages and come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Led by NCFL literacy and family learning specialists, PFLS is now embedding the cornerstones of Toyota Family Learning—including Family Service Learning and family-to-family mentoring—to increase its reach and potential.

PACT Time“This is a unique program that is beneficial to our Plano families in so many ways,” said Dr. Brian Binggeli, superintendent of Plano Independent School District. “What is key is that parents and children learn together. Whether it is reading or engaging in skill-building activities, they do them with each other. It strengthens the parent-child bond and improves our community at the same time.”

Parents and their preschool-aged children have been spending 20 hours a week learning together at two PFLS schools in this free program, supported by Toyota’s $10 million, six-year commitment to this national education initiative. In addition to gaining skills to help their children succeed in and outside the classroom, parents are also building important technology, language literacy, and job skills.

“If somebody asks me why I like Plano Family Literacy, I won’t say, ‘I like it’ – I’ll say, ‘I love it,’” said Toyota Family Learning participant Mireira Escobar.

Escobar is from El Salvador and has lived in the United States since 2004. She has two daughters and PACT Time2began studying English two years ago at Plano Family Literacy to improve her English writing and reading skills. Now, when she goes to the store or the doctor or to her daughter’s school, she is much more comfortable speaking.

“Before I came to school here, I went to other schools, but they were nothing like PFL. We do a lot of things with the Toyota Family Learning, and we are learning about making decisions, working as a team, and doing things to help our community,” Escobar said. “We are not just teachers and students, we are family. We support each other, talk about things when something is bothering us, share ideas, and eat together just like families do.”

Escobar believes Plano Family Literacy is helping her both at home and in the community.

“My life is better now than it was before. In the Toyota Family Learning class we learn many new things. I learned how to solve math problems and use the computer….The parenting class is awesome. I practice everything in my life that Mrs. Helen said. Also, they help us with our kids.”

Watch the PISD Toyota Family Learning announcement.