Family Involvement/Engagement

Parent, school and community ties have been identified as a key element in systemic education reform (Byrk, 2009). A new definition of family involvement identifies the term as family engagement and defines it as a shared responsibility, across multiple settings from cradle to career. Central to the discussion of the family engagement paradigm is how institutions engage and recognize families, and how shared student data can be used to effectively bring families, teachers, administrators, and out-of-school providers (after school and summer) to the table and engage everyone around student learning and performance. To have the greatest impact, family engagement should be an integrated strategy that has a place across multiple programs, rather than a sporadic or discrete activity.

Evidence Base for Family Involvement:

Articles and Websites

Allen, J. (2009). Effective Home–School Communication. Family Involvement Network of Educators (FINE) Newsletter 1(1). Retrieved February 1, 2009, from

Bryk, A.S., Sebring, P.B., Allensworth, E., Luppescu, S., and Easton, J. Q. (2009). Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Epstein, Joyce L. and K.C. Salinas. (2004) “Partnering with Families and Communities.” Educational Leadership. 61(8), 12-18.

Family Involvement Network of Educators– FINE A ten-year old initiative of the Harvard Family Research Project, the FINE site provides research briefs, articles, newsletters, and highlights of best practices for educators concerned with family involvement in education.

Harvard Family Research Project:  This website contains numerous resources on complementary learning, out-of-school time, family involvement, and evaluation.

Jeynes, W. H. (2005). “Parental Involvement and Student Achievement: a Meta-Analysis” (Family Involvement Research Digest). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project. Retrieved January 1, 2007, from

Morgan, Julie M. and Louis Soares. “The Social Life of College Information: Relationships and Experiences as Tools for Enhancing College Decision Making.” 2010, Center for American Progress.  Literature on the college decision-making process is reviewed and discussed. Research on the role of socio-cultural factors and consumer decision-making indicates that students & families are greatly influenced by their relationships with others and their own experiences when getting information and making decisions about college. Early experiential learning about college and infusing families’ social networks with people who are knowledgeable about college are strategies suggested to provide support in decision-making. .

National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement:  A joint project of HFRP and Headstart, this site provides information on the adoption of research-informed practices for promoting integrated, systemic, and sustained parent, family, and community engagement in Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

“Parent and Community Involvement in a College/Career Ready Culture.”  Texas Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper #2, SEDL:
A comprehensive literature review on parent & community involvement finds two types of parental involvement that are important indicators of college attendance and completion: (1) postsecondary planning & (2) parental support and encouragement. These indicators apply across cultural and socioeconomic boundaries. Parents often need assistance with these endeavors due to inadequate information and other barriers (e.g. language, inflexible work schedules, ‘conditioned mistrust’ of schools). A comprehensive bibliography, suggested strategies with research citations, and descriptions of model programs are included.

US Department of Education (June 2010). Supporting Families and Communities: Reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Online at:


Epstein, Joyce L. and Associates. (2009) School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action, 3rd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.