'Go Beyond Grades' Campaign Urges Tarrant County Parents to Know if Their Child is on Grade Level
By Office of Communication
Posted on April 09, 2024, April 09, 2024

Tarrant County parents, if you see this billboard on your morning commute chances are you are in that 96% group. Go beyond grades and get resources to help your child before the school year ends at GoBeyondGrades.org/Tarrant

Today, more than 80 foundations, nonprofits, and community organizations came together to sound the alarm in Tarrant County by launching Go Beyond Grades, a campaign aimed at parents county-wide.

The campaign encourages parents to: 

1. Ask if your child is on grade level in reading and math,
2. Be in the know about your child’s learning, and
3. Connect to summer programs and more in Tarrant County.

The Texas STAAR Test shows that just 52% of K-12 students who attend public schools are on grade level in reading and 43% in math. Learning Heroes, a national nonprofit focused on building school-home partnerships, released research in collaboration with Tarrant County community partners that finds:

  • 96% of Tarrant County K-12 parents believe their child is reading at or above grade level.
  •  92% of Tarrant County K-12 parents believe their child is doing math at or above grade level.

 “Many parents do not know that they need to advocate for their children because they believe their child’s report card tells the complete story of their child’s academic performance, " said Leah M. King, President and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “The Go Beyond Grades initiative is unprecedented in Tarrant County as it gives parents specific tools and resources needed to dig deeper, thanks to a coalition of educational leaders and community organizations that are focused on improving education right here in our community. United Way is proud to be a part of this county-wide campaign to ensure every parent knows what support is available to them.”

Cindi Williams, co-founder of Learning Heroes and mother of two, said while 'this is an all-hands-on-deck moment in public education, most parents are not aware they need to be in the boat."

"Parents are problem solvers, but we can't expect them to solve a problem they don't know exists. Now is the time to partner with our teachers to find out how we can use the summer months to address missed instruction," Williams said. 

 To help close the parent perception gap and support partnerships between families and schools, the campaign is partnering with Parent Pass™, an organization that works with over 80 trusted local community partners to share resources and tools with 8,600 families in Tarrant County that use their free app.

 “The first-of-its-kind Parent Pass™ app was developed by local families, for local families–to connect every parent in Tarrant County with the great educational opportunities, events, and community resources available to help their children thrive,” said Sadie Funk, National Director of Best Place for Kids. “We are excited to be able to provide value-added tools and supports to parents, teachers, and caregivers in our community through the Go Beyond Grades partnership.” 

 #GoBeyondGrades Tarrant County includes digital ads featuring stories from Tarrant County parents emphasizing the importance of parent-teacher partnerships, and 50 billboards in Tarrant County highlighting the opportunity for parents to take advantage of summer learning. The ads encourage parents to visit GoBeyondGrades.org/TARRANT, a free, online resource in English and Spanish that parents and educators can visit to find tips, resources, and more.

 With key support from the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, the Rainwater Charitable Foundation, and Parent Pass™, the campaign is fueled by over 80 local partners that have come together to amplify and support parents in ensuring they have the information they need to be their child’s best advocate. This includes Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, Arlington ISD, and the Arlington Mayor's Education Coalition.

"I’m proud to stand along with the members of my Education Coalition to partner with over 80 organizations in Tarrant County to launch #GoBeyondGrades, a campaign that provides parents with tools to determine whether their child is on grade level and connects them to high-quality summer learning programs. Together, we can reach every parent in Tarrant County and encourage them to partner with their child’s teacher to help our students succeed in reading and math," Arlington Mayor Jim Ross said.

Arlington ISD Superintendent Dr. Matt Smith said the district is committed to supporting "initiatives that create collaboration between parents, teachers and students."

"More parental engagement would allow us to tailor a personalized learning journey for each student," Dr. Smith said. 

What other leaders are saying about the campaign:

  • “Fort Worth parents are strong advocates for their child’s education, but many do not know that their child is behind and may need help. Over 9 in 10 parents in Tarrant County believe that their child is on grade level, but the reality is only 52% of students are on grade level in reading and 43% in math,” said Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker. “That’s why I’ve joined over 80 community organizations in coming together to launch #GoBeyondGrades, a county-wide campaign urging parents to know whether their child is on grade level, partner with their teacher, and sign up for summer learning programs in Tarrant County. You can go to GoBeyondGrades.org/TARRANT to learn more and access free tips, resources, and more.”
  • “Parent-teacher partnerships are essential for our students’ academic success. The Go Beyond Grades campaign provides helpful resources for parents and teachers in Fort Worth ISD to discuss grade level expectations, student progress, and team up to make a plan,” said Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Angélica Ramsey.
  • “Only half of our children can read at grade level. That is true in the inner-city and true in the suburbs. Parents have a right to know. For their children’s sake, they must know. That is what this initiative is all about,” said Pete Geren, President and CEO of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation.
  •  “Failure to complete high school is persistent because it is generational in nature. Family engagement is a critical component in breaking the cycle,” said Brian Miller, President and CEO of Camp Fire First Texas. “Research consistently confirms, and it is demonstrated in Camp Fire programs, that family engagement is one of the most powerful predictors of children’s development, educational attainment, and success in school and life.”
  •  “Our work at Christ's Haven for Children has given us a unique vantage point of working with children and teens from all backgrounds and educational experiences. Through this work, we know that report card grades do not always equate to grade level proficiency,” said Cassie McQuitty, CEO of Christ’s Haven For Children. “We see Go Beyond Grades as a valuable resource for the families we serve as a way to partner with their child and teachers to achieve academic excellence.”
  • “Parents are the most powerful advocates for their children," says Daphne Barlow Stigliano, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County. "Go Beyond Grades is putting parents in the best possible position to be successful by connecting them to actionable information about their child."

The online survey was conducted among parents of public school students in Tarrant County from Feb. 21 to March 5, 2024 by Edge Research.

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