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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 Members,

At this moment of political change, the FINE Newsletter focuses on family involvement and the policies that support it. We explore the changing definitions of family engagement in the 21st century and look at the growing role for family involvement in education policy.

Two articles unpack the possibilities for family involvement policy: One provides a historical account of the federal role in out-of-school learning, while the other offers practical policy recommendations to build strong family involvement systems. In addition, articles from federally funded Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs) shed light on how to build systems that improve family involvement policies and touch the lives of families, children, and educators in the field.

We also offer you a collection of accessible family involvement instruments for use in evaluating your own family involvement efforts, as well as a comprehensive listing of new resources, articles, news, opportunities, and events in the family involvement field.

We eagerly await your feedback on the topics explored in this FINE Newsletter, and we encourage you to pass this issue on to interested friends and colleagues.

Harvard Family Research Project Commentary

Redefining Family Engagement in Education

Heather Weiss The current political moment offers an opportunity to elevate the role of family involvement in education policy. Harvard Family Research Project's Heather Weiss and Elena Lopez discuss the need to develop a broader definition of family engagement—one which focuses on the multiple contexts in which children grow and learn, from birth through adulthood—in this era of changing federal policy.

Resources & Research From Harvard Family Research Project

The Federal Role in Out-of-School Learning

The Federal Role in Out-of-School Learning Four decades of research demonstrate it is necessary to redefine learning—both where and when it takes place—if the country is to achieve its national goal of educating all children. Commissioned by the Center on Education Policy, this report from Harvard Family Research Project makes a research-based case for federal provision of out-of-school complementary learning supports from birth through high school, particularly for poor children, so that all students gain the skills that economists, educators, and employers agree are necessary for success in the 21st century.

Resources & Research From Harvard Family Research Project

From Periphery to Center: A New Vision for Family, School, and Community Partnerships

Handbook of Family-School Partnerships Written by Harvard Family Research Project's Heather Weiss and Naomi Stephen, this chapter—which will appear in the Handbook of School–Family Partnerships, edited by Sandy Christenson, Ph.D. and Amy Reschley, Ph.D.—presents a comprehensive, integrated family, school, and community partnership framework that can help level the playing field for disadvantaged children and ensure that they have access to the parental involvement and community engagement practices of their more advantaged peers in order to enhance their learning.

Voices From the Field

An Aligned Family Involvement System in Kansas

Jane Groff Jane Groff from the Kansas Parent Information Resource Center talks about how the adoption of statewide family involvement standards by the Kansas State Board of Education has resulted in the development of a common vision for family involvement across state education systems and agencies.

Voices From the Field

A Model for Statewide Family Involvement Leadership in Colorado

Colorado State Flag Tina House from the Colorado Parental Information and Resource Center talks about her organization's efforts to break down siloes and partner with family involvement stakeholders across the state of Colorado.

Tips & Tools From Harvard Family Research Project

Data Collection Instruments for Evaluating Family Involvement

Data Collectoin Instruments for Evaluating Family Involvement As evidence mounts that family involvement can support children's learning, there is an increasing call in the field for common data collection instruments to measure home–school communication and other aspects of family involvement. This resource from Harvard Family Research Project compiles instruments developed for rigorous program impact evaluations and tested for reliability.

Family Involvement News

May 2009 News

Father and daughter reading together We at Harvard Family Research Project are committed to keeping you up-to-date on what's new in family involvement.  View our list of links to upcoming and current reports, articles, events, and career opportunities in the family involvement field, as well as a new annotated list of family involvement storybooks featuring Latino families. 

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