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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,

This month's FINE newsletter shines the spotlight on a crucial topic for practitioners, policymakers, and many others: building the future of the family involvement field. As part of our commitment to innovation and continuous improvement, we at HFRP believe that it is time for a national conversation about where the field is now and where it needs to go in the future. What progress have we made? What factors have helped and hindered progress? What role do policies play? Most importantly, what steps do we as a field need to take next?

The latest issue of The Evaluation Exchange explores these and other questions about the current state of and future directions for the family involvement field, as we indicated in the last FINE newsletter's “sneak peak.” The full issue is now available on our website and, in the spirit of facilitating a field-building conversation, we invite your comments and reactions. Emphasizing the role of policy in building the field, this month's FINE newsletter also shares additional resources and information about policy initiatives related to family involvement. In particular, we highlight examples of how HFRP staff are influencing policy in the U.S. and internationally.

We hope that all of these resources will inform your thinking about the family involvement field and your ideas for future progress.

New From FINE

  • The Evaluation Exchange: Building the Future of Family Involvement

    The spring 2008 issue of The Evaluation Exchange is now available! As we described in March's sneak preview, this issue examines family involvement in policy, practice, and research, focusing on where the field is today and where it needs to go in the future. The issue includes contributions from Rudy Crew, Superintendent of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and many leaders in the family involvement arena; highlights a range of innovative school-, district-, and state-level family involvement efforts; and spotlights the Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs) and other programs effectively evaluating family involvement initiatives.

  • Subscribe to The Evaluation Exchange

    To sign up to receive The Evaluation Exchange for free in print or online, visit our subscription center at the link above.

New From HFRP

  • HFRP in Qatar

    HFRP Director Heather Weiss recently spoke at the Supreme Education Council annual symposium in Qatar. Delivering the keynote address at the Parents: Partners in Education symposium, Dr. Weiss addressed the potential of family involvement for school reform in Qatar, highlighting the research-based positive link between comprehensive parent involvement in education and child academic outcomes. She recommended that schools, families, and communities collaborate to create parent involvement plans.

  • HFRP and After School Policy

    The House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education sponsored a special hearing on after school in March. Priscilla Little, associate director of HFRP, presented testimony on the benefits of complementary learning, including the role that 21st Century Community Learning Centers play in equalizing opportunities for youth to participate in after school programs.


  • Organized Communities, Stronger Schools: A Preview of Research Findings

    The Community Involvement Program at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University has released a report describing the positive impacts of grassroots community organizing efforts in seven U.S. urban school districts. Across the districts, school-level improvements included more parent engagement. In addition, organizing groups in some districts encouraged policy reform related to parent and community involvement.

  • Parents in the Future of Federal Education Policy

    A recent report from the Forum for Education and Democracy revisits the release of A Nation at Risk report from 25 years ago and proposes a revitalized long-term education policy in the U.S. Among the recommendations in the proposal are efforts to increase family involvement in schools.

  • National Family–School and Community Partnership Bureau in Australia

    The Australian government has announced the funding of a national Family–School and Community Partnership Bureau in order to improve the relationships between families and schools. As part of its goal, the Bureau plans to highlight best practices of schools and communities where family–school partnerships are working well.

Articles and Reports

  • State-Level Efforts to Promote Parental Involvement

    A recent article in Education Week examines how states are supporting parental involvement. It highlights recent efforts in Maryland, including an awards program for parents who have made significant contributions to schools in their communities and a parent advisory council. The article also includes other state-level strategies, including the state Parental Information and Resource Centers.

  • "Building the Parent–Teacher Relationship”: Part I

    In its “Ask the Mentor” column, Teacher Magazine recently published a two-part Q&A with Karen Mapp and Anne Henderson, authors of Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships. The experts address topics including parents' and teachers' perceptions of one another, creative strategies for reaching out to and welcoming parents, and the roles of administrators in parent involvement. Free registration to Teacher Magazine is required to read the article.

  • "Building the Parent–Teacher Relationship”: Part II

    The second part of Teacher Magazine's Q&A with Karen Mapp and Anne Henderson is available at the link above.

  • Family Involvement in After School Activities

    A new publication of the Met Life Afterschool Alert highlights the benefits not only of after school activities for children but also of family involvement in those activities. The brief suggests that after school activities may provide a bridge between families and schools, helping families engage where school-based obstacles may make it difficult.

  • "Listening to the Voices of Latino Parent Volunteers"

    An article in the recent Delta Kappa Pi Record presents findings from an interview study of Latino parent volunteers. Findings from the qualitative study suggest that parent volunteer voices can play an important role in schools' abilities to increase parental involvement among Latino parents.

  • Parent Expectations and Planning for College: Statistical Analysis Report

    A recent report released by the National Center for Education Statistics analyzes the 2003 National Household Education Surveys Program Parent and Family Involvement Survey. The report highlights characteristics related to parental educational expectations and family- and school- planning for postsecondary education.

  • Getting Ready for School: Palm Beach County's Early Childhood Cluster Initiative 2008

    A report from Chapin Hall Center for Children presents findings from a second-year evaluation of the Early Childhood Cluster Initiative programs, which were established in 2005 in the Palm Beach, Florida area and modeled after the Perry Preschool Program. Findings suggest that the programs continue to refine sustainable parent involvement efforts.

  • The Benwood Plan: A Lesson in Comprehensive Teacher Reform

    A recent report from Education Sector Reports shares the success of a community partnership plan to reform schools in Chattanooga, Tennessee. With funding from the Benwood Foundation and local organizations, school officials created the Benwood Initiative to improve teaching in the schools. The successful Initiative also funded parent involvement programs.

Online Tools

  • Resources for Families and Schools to Strengthen School Communities

    A newly developed website from the Academic Development Institute highlights parent involvement in education. The site provides partnership resources for parents and schools and offers a link to Solid Foundation, ADI's guide for building a school community.

  • Collaborating With Families of Children With Disabilities

    The IRIS Center and the PACER Center have created an online module to help educators think about and improve family involvement, particularly involvement among families of children with disabilities. The interactive module provides participants with a scenario, information, and a self-evaluation tool. It also includes commentary from parents and an expert in the field of family involvement.


  • Developing Caring Relationships Among Parents, Children, Schools and Communities

    A new book by Dana McDermott at DePaul University examines parent involvement in schools from the perspective of adults as learners, acknowledging the impact of parent–teacher relationships on both children and adults. The book frames the school–family relationship as dynamic and collaborative. It promotes a “caring decision-making process” and offers a model for educators to put theory into practice.

Upcoming Events

  • Southwestern Fatherhood Institute Training

    "Dads Make a Difference” is the theme for the Southwestern Fatherhood Institute Training, which will be held in Tucson, Arizona, July 8–9 2008. The practitioner-oriented institute will offer topics including how to develop male involvement programs, how to develop services for incarcerate fathers, and practical tools for working with young fathers.

  • Museum/Community Partnership Conference

    To be held June 20–22 in Philadelphia, “BRIDGES: A Museum/Community Partnership Conference” will explore how museums and other learning institutions and community organizations (CBOs) can work together towards a shared vision of engaging underserved families in science enrichment activities. BRIDGES is specifically designed for programs whose primary audience is family groups. The conference will bring together two-person museum/community teams to explore best practices for developing and sustaining these innovative programs and form the basis for building a new museum/community network to help nurture and expand science programs that serve families. Transportation, hotel, and meal costs will be paid by a National Science Foundation grant. To apply, teams should complete an online application at the link above.

  • The Scholarship of Engagement: Dimensions of Reciprocal Partnerships

    Tulane University's Center for Public Service and the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement will host the Eighth International Research Conference on Service-Learning and Community Engagement in New Orleans, October 25–28, 2008. The conference will focus on research-based campus–community collaborations.

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