Family Engagement

This is not your mother’s or father’s parent involvement anymore! Parent involvement, now more appropriately called family engagement, has been proven to improve student success. This opens up a new world for school communities.

While we have always been told that a parent’s involvement in school is essential, we didn’t seem to focus on what kind of involvement increased student achievement. We focused a ton of energy on how to get parents to schools and then tracked how many of us showed up!

We raised money, tutored and ran book fairs. We taught new parents how to navigate the school system.  We read to our kids, made nutritious breakfasts and monitored test sessions. What we didn’t do was coordinate with a school team and align our efforts to academic goals. What we didn’t do was track how our involvement improved the core work of schools – learning.

Today’s research is clear: utilizing the various skills of a school’s community, and aligning those skills with a school’s goals in a focused and sustainable approach, yields the best outcomes for a child’s learning.


Obama’s Homework Assignment – “To really help our kids, we have to do so much more as parents. We have to change expectations about how hard kids should work. And we have to work with teachers and leaders to create schools that demand more from our kids.”

Boston Public Schools program for family engagement – “Every school will welcome every family and every student, actively engaging them as partners in student learning and school improvement.”

The benefits of family and community engagement (pdf)

Changes needed for successful family engagement

Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis – “Working hand in hand with families”

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