What is Family Engagement?

The Harvard Family Research Project redefines Family Engagement as the shared responsibility of families, schools, communities (including businesses) to support student learning and success. It is a continuous process for early education to young adulthood that occurs across multiple settings where children learn. It encourages education-community partnerships to “move from random acts of family involvement to effective strategies to promote student success.”

In addition, the Harvard Family Research Projects supports “systemic family engagement as a core component of educational goals such as school readiness, student achievement and school turnaround.” Family engagement should be integrated into structure and processes designed to meet school goals including training and professional development for both teachers and parents, teaching and learning, community collaboration and use of data for continuous improvement and accountability.

Family engagement, or “parent involvement,” can also be defined as the term as “the participation of parents in regular, two-way and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities, including ensuring:

  • That parents play an integral role in assisting their child’s learning;
  • That parents are encouraged to be part of their child’s education in school;
  • That parents are full partners in their child’s education and are included, as appropriate, in decision making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child.

Family involvement in children’s learning improves academic performance, attendance, graduation and dropout rates, reduces at-risk behaviors and is positive for lifelong health! Be a partner in your child’s education!  Contact your local school and ask how you can be a partner in the education of your child.

Why is Family Engagement Important?

An extensive body of research exists that demonstrates positive outcomes associated between family engagement and lifelong health, development and learning. According to studies on family engagement:
• Improves academic performance, attendance and graduation rates
• Reduces dropout rates and at-risk behaviors such as alcohol and drug use; and
• Positively impacts attitudes, behaviors and overall well-being
(National Family, School and Community Engagement Working Group, 2010)

Family engagement enhances connectedness and builds valuable networks of support for student learning and healthy development and wellness. Imagine the impact of creating one meaningful connection per family per year!


Websites and Pages:

A Life-Changing Parent’s Guide For Their Kids Online Safety 

National PTA Standards for Family-School Partnerships

National Network of Partnership Schools – Promising Practices Report 2016

Resource Documents:

The Handbook on Family and Community Engagement was created with funding and support from the U.S.Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education to the Academic Development
Institute and the Center on Innovation & Improvement. 2011

Beyond Random Acts: Family, School, and Community Engagement
as an Integral Part of Education Reform.  
This paper was prepared by the Harvard Family Research Project with support from SEDL for the National PIRC Coordination Center, a project of SEDL in collaboration with the Harvard Family Research Project and the Miko Group, Inc.


Partners in Education – A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships

Redefining Family Engagement for Student Success – Harvard Family Research Project

How does CHL approach Family Engagement?

house homeOur work is aligned with both the PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships and the National Network of Partnership School’s Six Types of Involvement in Successful School-Family-Community Partnerships. By providing planning services and developing engagement strategies designed to increase active participation, communication and collaboration between parents/caregivers and staff and administrators and the community, CHL encourages and promotes the activities and interactions that supports student success and, by extension, the development of healthy and successful children, youth and young adults.

CHL’s services include:

  • family2Assessment of parent engagement strategies, using national standards, to identify measurable indicators of successful family engagement programming;
  • Facilitation and support directed to the development of results-based approaches to family engagement programming that align with current goals and action plans;
  • Comprehensive strategic planning and technical assistance that adopts a multi-sectoral approach to family engagement programming, bringing together schools, community-based early education programs, community service providers, and families to create linkages/ and or a “community of practice” focused on optimal student success, healthy development and wellness.
  • Use of the PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships and other nationally recognized approaches to assist schools and community-based providers in identifying and adopting effective strategies for engagement.
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