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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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FINE Newsletter, Volume I, Issue 3
Issue Topic: Family Involvement and Out-of-School Time

Tips & Tools From Harvard Family Research Project

With a renewed emphasis on school improvement in today’s educational climate, many schools and districts are investing in strategies to promote teacher effectiveness. One such strategy is building teachers’ capacity to reach out to and engage families in support of their children’s learning through the use of teaching cases.

Harvard Family Research Project’s Teaching Case series supports teacher training and professional development in the area of family engagement. Each case highlights a particular challenge that schools, families, and communities may encounter in supporting children’s learning. Accompanying instructor’s notes encourage readers to think critically about major issues in the case.

In this month’s newsletter, we feature the teaching case After School for Cindy: Family, School, and Community Roles in Out-of-School Time. Highlighting the roles that family members, school staff, and community organizations play in one child’s out-of-school time, this case demonstrates the importance of family engagement across learning contexts.

About After School for Cindy
Second grade teacher Nikki believes that participation in a formal after school program would help her student Cindy academically at school. However, Cindy's single working mother Marla prefers to keep Cindy with her in the afternoons after her numerous struggles with securing quality affordable care in the community. What are the roles of family, school, and community in promoting children's learning and development in out-of-school time?

Go to After School for Cindy: Family, School, and Community Roles in Out-of-School Time.

About the Teaching Cases
Harvard Family Research Project's Teaching Cases help prepare teachers and other professionals to partner effectively with the families of children in elementary school. These research-based case studies reflect critical dilemmas in family–school–community relations, especially among low-income and culturally diverse families. Each teaching case includes a narrative, discussion questions, recommended reading, instructor notes, and expert commentary.

After School for Cindy and many others are available for free on Harvard Family Research Project's website. In addition, a collection of teaching cases entitled Preparing Educators to Involve Families: From Theory to Practice, is available for purchase from Sage Publications.

Access Harvard Family Research Project's Teaching Cases available for free online.

Purchase Preparing Educators to Involve Families: From Theory to Practice.

This article is part of the August 2009 FINE Newsletter. The FINE Newsletter shares the newest and best family involvement research and resources from Harvard Family Research Project and other field leaders. To access the FINE Newsletter Archive, visit

© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project