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.”

family2In 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.