A Practical Guide to Talking With Your Community About No Child Left Behind and Schools in Need of Improvement

Polls show that parents and the public at large are not well informed about the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and how it will affect their children and schools. While this may create uncertainty and confusion in your community, it also offers school leaders a chance to discuss the law with them and enlist their support in meeting its new challenges.

No Child Left Behind is controversial, with vocal supporters and critics. The materials presented here are not intended to engage debate about the pros and cons of the law. They are designed to help school leaders communicate with parents and the public about the law and its effects in each community. These were written primarily for district superintendents and principals, since they are often the first to be called to comment on school issues. But these materials can be readily adapted for use by teacher leaders, PTA presidents, school board members, and others. This Guide also contains links to many other resources on the law and other education issues.

You will most likely want to adapt these for your community, picking and choosing the issues that are most relevant and modifying them with some specifics from your district and state. Many of the materials are designed so that they can easily be converted into brochures or flyers. For more information on No Child Left Behind, visit the Learning First Alliance web site at www.learningfirst.org or the U. S. Department of Education web site at www.ed.gov, and consult the web site for your state department of education.

Guide Resources

The Practical Guide documents can be viewed in pdf, html, or Word. The National Association of Secondary School Principals has an abridged version of the guide called Communicating NCLB: A Principal's Desktop Guide available in booklet form. Order booklet from NASSP store.

Please note that some users with older versions of Word may have to complete an extra step to download the Word documents. If a gray dialog box appears during the download process, click the cancel button. The Word document will then open.

  • Framing the Discussion and Tips for Community Outreach
    PDF (278Kb) | Word (248Kb)
  • Talking Points for School District Leaders
    PDF (268Kb) | Word (261Kb)
  • Talking Points for Principals and Other School Leaders
    PDF (255Kb) | Word (270Kb)
  • Dialogue Strategies
    PDF (210Kb) | Word (256Kb)
    • School/District Personnel Dialogues
      PDF (327Kb)
    • Leadership Dialogues
      PDF (313)
    • Parent/Student/Community Dialogues
      PDF (318)
  • No Child Left Behind: Key Provisions and Timelines (updated July 2004)
    PDF (71Kb) | Word (171Kb)
  • No Child Left Behind: Summary of New Flexibility (New document)
    PDF (43Kb) | Word (98Kb)
  • Tips for Parents: 35 Things You Can Do to Help Your Children Succeed in School
    PDF (180Kb) | Word (223Kb) | Customizable Handout (175Kb)
  • Communicating about NCLB: Additional Resources (updated July 2004)
    PDF (79Kb) | Word (209Kb)
  • No Child Left Behind: Frequently Asked Questions and Glossary
    PDF (239Kb) | Word (272Kb)
  • Learning More About NCLB: Resources for Educators and Policy Makers (updated July 2004)
    PDF (86Kb) | Word (282Kb)
  • Raising Student Achievement: Resources for Schools and Districts
    PDF (345Kb) | Word (349Kb)

NOTE: These materials may be updated and supplemented occasionally.

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