Seeing Is Believing: Promising Practices for How School Districts Promote Family Engagement

seeingisbelievingHarvard Family Research Project (HFRP) and the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) have teamed up to bring you this ground-breaking policy brief that examines the role of school districts in promoting family engagement.

Seeing is Believing: Promising Practices for How School Districts Promote Family Engagement spotlights how six school districts across the country have used innovative strategies to create and sustain family-engagement “systems at work.”  Our findings point to three core components of these successful systems: creating district-wide strategies, building school capacity, and reaching out to and engaging families.

Drawing from districts’ diverse approaches, we highlight promising practices to ensure quality, oversight, and impact from their family engagement efforts. We also propose a set of recommendations for how federal, state, and local policies can promote district-level family engagement efforts that support student learning.

Key policy recommendations include:

  • Creating infrastructure for district-wide leadership for family engagement
  • Building district capacity for family engagement through training and technical assistance
  • Ensuring reporting, learning, and accountability for family engagement
  • Helping districts understand, design, and implement strong evaluation strategies.

Read this report to learn how to:

  • Help administrators, educators, parents, community members, and policymakers understand that family engagement is a shared responsibility
  • Approach family engagement by fostering district-wide strategies, building school capacity, and reaching out to families
  • Compare your district’s family engagement strategies to an emerging set of promising practices
  • Talk with stakeholders about ways that public policies can support district-level family engagement efforts.

Family Engagement Practices in CA Schools

PPICReportA recent report by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) identifies promising family engagement strategies from a review of 15 high-need districts in the state, noting that effective strategies are culturally appropriate and aim to support student learning at home.

Family Engagement Guide for PTA Leaders

This Family Engagement Guide contains information on why family engagement in schools matters, how to grow family-school partnerships to enhance student achievement and ways to support student success and learning at home. Throughout the resource, the word “parent” refers to parents, guardians and caregivers who have the primary responsibility for raising children and are involved in their development, learning and growth.


PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships

Assessment Guide_CoverThe PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships Assessment Guide is based on extensive research over the past 20 years. It was developed with the guidance and support of prominent education leaders and practitioners in the field of family engagement across the country. It provides specific goals for each of six accepted family engagement standards, as well as indicators for measuring whether those goals are being met.

PTA recommends that every school district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) seeks to address each of the standards and that the various indicators be used to facilitate local conversations among parents and educators about how best to build stronger family-school partnerships and measure progress based on the priorities and needs of the community.

Download the complete Assessment Guide. (Also available in Spanish.)

Download the Summary.

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