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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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Dear FINE Member,

FINE is back from winter break and is kicking off 2008 with new ideas—yours and ours—for how to improve our work. This month, we want to thank you for sharing your feedback and provide a look at the results of our FINE Member Survey and a preview of what's ahead for FINE.

New From FINE

  • Results of the FINE Member Survey

    With over 9,000 members as of this announcement, FINE continues to grow rapidly. The FINE Member Survey, administered in October 2007, was designed to help us learn more about you, how you use FINE resources, and your perspectives on how we can better serve the field. Here are some preliminary results:


    • FINE members represent a range of roles and professions. Parents, teachers, principals, social workers, government representatives, researchers, after school providers, parent liaisons, funders, and policymakers all filled out the survey.
    • Once they join, FINE members stick around. Twenty-three percent of survey respondents had been a FINE member for 3 or more years.
    • Members rely on FINE for a variety of reasons. Eighty-five percent of survey takers said that they use FINE to keep track of what is going on in the field. Other common uses include improving family involvement in a classroom, school, or district (62%); dissemination to others (57%); providing professional development or training (52%); academic or scholarly research (45%); and “making the case” to decision makers (43%).
    • Members use some FINE resources more than others. FINE members found the monthly announcement (74%) and the research digests (67%), in particular, to be “very useful” in their work.
    • Members offered ideas for making FINE even better. The FINE members who took our survey suggested new ways we could help them in their work. Suggestions included providing information on specific topics, reorganizing the format of the announcement, offering resources and examples from the field, providing information on funding and professional development opportunities, and enhancing member dialogue and interactivity.
  • New in 2008

    Looking ahead, FINE and Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) will be busy with a number of exciting projects, including:

    • A redesigned HFRP website
    • A new and improved format for the FINE monthly announcement, designed in response to your suggestions in the FINE survey
    • A double issue of The Evaluation Exchange focused on building and evaluating the family involvement field
    • New complementary learning research and case studies
    • Lessons learned and best practices in statewide and district family involvement

    Stay tuned!


  • Kentucky CPAC Report

    The Commissioner's Parents Advisory Council (CPAC) has submitted its report, The Missing Piece of the Proficiency Puzzle, to the Kentucky education commissioner. The report sets state standards for parent involvement, issues recommendations for implementing them, and includes a rating tool to evaluate parent involvement.

Articles and Reports

  • The Family: America’s Smallest School

    A new study conducted by the Education Testing Service (ETS) examines factors that influence learning gaps, beginning in early childhood and persisting into adulthood, and found large discrepancies in home life variables and achievement. The authors suggest that reform efforts focus not only on improving schools, but also on improving home and community learning environments.

  • The School Community Journal

    The fall/winter 2007 issue of The School Community Journal is now available. This issue includes articles related to home–school communication, preservice teacher preparation, and cross-cultural policies and practices.

  • Skills for Smart Systems

    The most recent edition of Voices in Urban Education from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform explores how school systems, other agencies, and the community can build their capacity to nurture partnerships that support student learning.

  • Evaluation of Chicago Public Schools Community Schools Initiative

    Now almost 6 years old, the Chicago Public Schools’ Community Schools Initiative (CSI) recently published a summary report detailing positive findings and emerging challenges from its evaluation. The report describes CSI’s progress in a number of key areas, including parent engagement and community partnerships.

  • “Teaching Low-Income Parents to 'Work the System'”

    Edwin Darden, director of education policy at Appleseed, argues in this Education Week commentary that the spirit of No Child Left Behind’s parent involvement legislation should not be left behind in discussions about reauthorization. He discusses the legislation's responsibility for empowering parents, especially low-income parents, to hold their schools accountable.

  • “Parents Are From Mars, Teachers Are From Venus”

    In Teacher Magazine, Bill Ferriter shares his thoughts about improving communication between parents and teachers. His outline of “scoring points with the opposite group” offers some best practices that teachers and parents can use to build the foundation of a good relationship.


  • Other Kinds of Families: Embracing Diversity in Schools

    Editors Tammy Turner-Vorbeck and Monica Miller Marsh showcase strategies for working with families outside the “so-called norm.” A diverse group of authors explore such issues as multigenerational views of school for immigrant families, the educational needs of gay and lesbian families, the representation of adoption and adoptive families in children’s literature, and the experiences of homeless students and their families with the educational system.

Upcoming Events

  • PTA Take Your Family to School Week

    The PTA's annual Take Your Family to School Week will occur February 10–16 this year. During this week, PTAs across the country will celebrate their Founder's Day and encourage family engagement with teachers and schools.

  • Dads Make a Difference

    The 9th Annual National Fatherhood & Families Conference, hosted by the Fathers and Families Coalition, Inc., will take place March 4–7 in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference will include sessions about strengthening families, working with incarcerated fathers, and engaging males in the education and healthy development of children.

  • Family Partnership Initiative Training-of-Trainers Institute

    WestEd is offering a series of institutes this spring to help develop trainers to enhance partnerships between families and staff. The Institute is designed for staff in state-funded, center-based programs and family child-care home networks serving children from birth through 12 years old and their families.

  • National Conference on Family Literacy

    The 17th annual National Conference on Family Literacy will take place March 30–April 1 in Louisville, Kentucky. Participants will learn about legislation, research, technology, and practical strategies in family literacy and related fields.

Funding Opportunity

  • Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grant

    The Lowe's Foundation is accepting applications through February 15th for its Toolbox for Education Grant Program, which aims to increase parent involvement and build strong community spirit and school traditions that improve educational opportunities for children. Award amounts are $2,000–$5,000. Eligible applicants include individual nonprofit public K–12 schools and associated parent groups with 501(c)(3) status.

Contact Us

If you experience a problem reading this newsletter or have questions and comments concerning our work, we would love to hear from you. Please send an email to


The FINE Team at Harvard Family Research Project

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