You are seeing this message because your web browser does not support basic web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing and what you can do to make your experience on this site better.

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.

Terms of Use ▼

Dear FINE Member,

As we celebrate the launch of our new website, this month's FINE newsletter focuses on the role of technology in family involvement.  

Just as technology is changing education during the school day, it is also influencing family involvement.  Parents are using technology to get involved in their children’s education in multiple ways, including partnering with schools and engaging with their children’s online activity at home. This month’s featured resources speak to the benefits and challenges associated with families’ uses of technology to support learning and development.

Other resources this month address policy, and topics including immigrant parents, parent leadership, out-of-school time, and child literacy. We hope that these resources are helpful to your work, and we look forward to hearing from you in our member survey.

New FINE Research Digests

  • Tapping Into Technology: The Role of the Internet in Family–School Communication

    This research digest from HFRP’s Suzanne Bouffard presents findings from a recent study about the role of email and websites in family–school communication. The results, drawn from a larger study of education in the U.S., suggest that Internet-based family–school communication is relatively common and associated with benefits for high school students. However, the study also cautions that gaps in Internet access raise equity concerns.

  • Family Computing and the Academic Engagement and Achievement of Low-Income, Urban Adolescents

    This research digest from Computers for Youth addresses middle school students’ home computing and its relation to family involvement in learning, academic engagement, and math achievement. Findings from the 1st year of a 3-year study suggest that family use of computers can predict adolescent engagement in school and foster a connection between adolescents and their parents around learning. The digest also includes recommendations for practitioners about how to promote family computing.

More Resources From HFRP

  • HFRP Director Testifies Before House Committee on Education and Labor

    HFRP Director Heather Weiss was one of five witnesses to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor at the June 11 hearing on House Resolution 243, the Education Begins at Home Act (EBAH). This bipartisan legislation would create a federal funding framework to help states develop, deliver, and evaluate home visitation as a core component of early childhood services. A transcript and a video of Weiss’s testimony are available at the link above.

  • Promising Practices for Partnering with Families in the Early Years

    This new book, edited by Mary Cornish of Plymouth State University, focuses on research-to-practice issues related to partnering with families of children ages birth through 5. The book, which is organized around five aspects of family-centered partnerships, analyzes family involvement practices across a variety of early childhood settings and programs. The book features a chapter written by HFRP Director Heather Weiss along with former HFRP researchers Margaret Caspe and M. Elena Lopez.

Technology Resources

  • Evaluating Online Learning

    The U.S. Department of Education has released a review of  K–12 online learning program evaluations. Meant as a resource for online program evaluators, the report highlights evaluations of seven programs, addresses the challenges of online program evaluation, and includes recommendations for evaluating online learning. Both challenges and recommendations consider parents among key program stakeholders.

  • Children and Electronic Media

    At a recent forum at Princeton University, Nancy Willard, Director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, spoke to parents about Internet safety. Released in conjunction with that forum, The Future of Children's latest issue, Children and Electronic Media, helps parents navigate cyberspace with their teens. Links to the new volume and Willard's guide to social networking safety are available in the Future of Children e-newsletter at the link above.

  • The Impact of the Internet and Technology in English Public Schools in Quebec 

    The Quebec English School Boards Association Task Force on the Internet and Related Technologies recently released findings from their online survey about the challenges and opportunities that the Internet and related technologies pose for schools, school boards, educators, students, and others in Quebec. Included among the report’s recommendations for maximizing the Internet in Quebec’s public schools is involving and informing parents about issues related to Internet use in schools.

  • Community Involvement in Public Education

    The Learning First Alliance recently published a three-part interview with writer Dave Eggers, founder of urban tutoring centers that encourage family involvement. In the first installment, he describes how he involves communities and families involved his centers. To promote community involvement in public schools, Eggers has also created Once Upon a School, a website where adults can share ideas for projects to support their local public schools.

Policy Resources

  • Breaking Down Barriers: Immigrant Families and Early Childhood Education in New York City

    The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) recently released a report from a study conducted by the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF). As part of a larger Breaking Down Barriers project funded by CLASP, CACF conducted a qualitative study to learn more about the experiences of immigrant families in accessing early care and education. The report includes recommendations for improving early care and education services for immigrant families.

  • A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education

    A task force of education researchers, practitioners, and policy makers convened by the Economic Policy Institute has released A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education.  This short version of a longer report, released in the context of No Child Left Behind reauthorization, is based on the premise that schools alone cannot reduce inequalities in education. It recommends that education policies address education in a wide range of contexts, including child health and support for parents and communities.

  • Perceptions of California Public Schools

    A recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California assessed California adults’ perceptions of K–12 education in the state. Among the many findings was the belief among parents that college preparation was the most important goal of the public school system. 

Other Family Involvement Resources

  • The Overall Benefit of Parent Involvement in Education

    A recent Science Daily article describes a study of parent involvement conducted by an economist at the University of New Hampshire and her colleague from a research consulting firm. Their findings, which frame parent involvement in terms of school-level economic benefits, confirm the positive association between parent involvement and student academic outcomes.

  • Increasing Child Literacy

    A recent article in the Harvard Education Letter addresses the research-based link between talking to infants and children and greater literacy outcomes, including kindergarten readiness skills. The article highlights current programs that are encouraging parents to engage their children verbally throughout the day.

  • Parents and Communities as an Education Priority

    President of the National Education Association Joel Packer recently spoke with Wendy Puriefoy, president of the Public Education Network and a convener of the Forum on Education and Democracy. In the interview, they speak about the Forum’s recent Democracy at Risk report, including the importance of parent and community involvement in improving education. A transcript of the podcast can be found at the link above. (A link to the audio podcast is also available on the site.)

  • Strategies for Improving Out of School Time in Rural Communities

    A recent Child Trends brief describes the challenges that many rural out-of-school programs face in recruiting students and sustaining membership in their programs. The report suggests strategies for programs to use to obtain resources, one of which is involving parents as partners.

Upcoming Events and Awards

  • Minigrants for Public Schools and Libraries

    The Ezra J. Keats Minigrant Program for Public Schools and Public Libraries is accepting applications for $500 grants. These mini-grants are meant to support parents, educators, and children in literacy and learning. Public schools and libraries anywhere in the United States are eligible to apply. The deadline for application is September 15, 2008.

  • School Improvement Grants for Community Involvement

    The Lowe's Toolbox for Education grant program is now accepting applications for its fall 2008 cycle. K–12 schools or parent groups associated with nonprofit, K–12 schools are eligible to apply for awards of up to $5,000 to support school-improvement projects, including projects that encourage parent involvement and community building. Deadline for application is October 17, 2008.

  • Minnesota Parent Involvement Week

    Sponsored by the Minnesota Parent Center, the Minnesota Parental Information and Resource Center (PIRC), and the Minnesota Department of Education, Parent Involvement Week highlights the role parents play in student success. In particular, the event will focus on ways that parents can support their children, schools, and their communities. More information will be available on the Minnesota PIRC website closer to the event, which will take place September 14–20, 2008.

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

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