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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,

In this issue of the FINE Newsletter, we discuss how schools, programs, and other community institutions can facilitate continuous family engagement so that once engaged, families understand not only why their continued involvement is important, but also how they can remain effectively engaged as their children grow and develop. We highlight some of the pivotal entry points—and entry mechanisms—that can help build parents’ capacity to effectively support their children’s growth and development.

This issue’s Commentary explores ways in which educators, community leaders, and other stakeholders can help create the conditions for continuous family engagement through targeted approaches. These include relationship-building outreach strategies, transition programs that help families adjust to their young children’s school entry, and college readiness activities that reflect the developmental needs of adolescents and allow families of all educational backgrounds to take concrete steps to support their children’s ability to enter and succeed in college.

Our Voices from the Field selection features reflections from former Head Start parent, Nikia Parker, who started out as a “hard to reach” parent but developed a strong, positive relationship with her family’s Early Head Start home visitor, which enabled her to not only effectively support her own children, but also take on advocacy and leadership roles within the larger Head Start community.

In our Tips and Tools section, we feature an article by Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Mandy Savitz-Romer and Suzanne Bouffard, drawn from their new book, Ready, Willing, and Able: A Developmental Approach to College Access and Success, which provides five important ways that educators can help families support the developmental competencies that foster college readiness.

We also highlight related Harvard Family Research Project Resources & Research, including our new research-to-practice brief, Ready for Success: Creating Collaborative and Thoughtful Transitions into Kindergarten, which profiles promising collaborative transition programs in six states, and Family Engagement and Children with Disabilities: A Resource Guide for Educators and Parents, a compilation of resources that both special educators and families can use to help promote positive and productive family engagement that benefits students with disabilities. In addition, this issue features the 2007 and 2008 entries to the Family Involvement Bibliography series. Finally, we recently launched a new area of our website devoted to parent and family engagement in early childhood education; we invite you to visit this page to find related project updates and resources.

As always, we invite your feedback on the topics we explore in this FINE Newsletter and encourage you to pass on this issue to interested friends and colleagues. We've made it even easier to share FINE content with your social networks: Find the "share" button on the left of every page and send interesting articles via email or through other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. And join the conversation about this issue on our Facebook page.

Harvard Family Research Project Commentary

Creating Conditions for Effective and Ongoing Family Engagement

In this Commentary, Harvard Family Research Project’s Senior Research Analyst, Heidi Rosenberg, looks at the ways in which schools, programs, and other community institutions can help facilitate continuous family engagement to help children succeed. Approaches include relationship-building strategies, kindergarten transition programs, and college readiness activities that reflect the developmental needs of adolescents.

Voices From the Field

We Were a "Hard-to-Reach" Family

Nikia Parker, an advocate and leader within the Head Start community for the past 10 years, reflects on her family’s early experiences accessing Head Start services that changed the course of their lives forever. She speaks of her transformation from being a “hard-to-reach” parent to an actively engaged parent, and attributes this metamorphosis to the strong relationship she developed with her family’s home visitor.

Resources & Research From Harvard Family Research Project

Ready for Success: Creating Collaborative and Thoughtful Transitions into Kindergarten

Because early social performance and academic achievement are predictors of later school success, ensuring that children get off to a good start in kindergarten is critical. This brief, by Harvard Family Research Project’s Christine Patton and Justina Wang, examines important elements of high-quality kindergarten transition strategies and profiles promising practices from six states that take an integrated and collaborative approach to helping kindergartners enter school ready for success.

Family Engagement and Children with Disabilities: A Resource Guide for Educators and Parents

This resource guide highlights research reports, journal articles, examples of best practices, and tools that provide information on facilitating a comfortable and effective family–school partnership in the interest of successful outcomes for children with disabilities.

Bibliographies of Family Involvement Research Published in 2007 & 2008

This bibliography series compiles family involvement research literature, organized by both date and topic. The two latest additions, covering resources published in 2007 and 2008, fill in the years previously missing from our series and create a library of family engagement work over the last decade.

Tips & Tools

Helping Families Pave the Path to College: Supporting the Development Processes That Facilitate College Readiness

In their recent book, Ready, Willing, and Able: A Developmental Approach to College Access and Success, Mandy Savitz-Romer and Suzanne Bouffard of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, provide insight into the critical social and emotional factors during adolescent development that greatly enhance young people’s college readiness. They offer examples of developmental tasks and competencies that students need as a complement to the traditional areas of preparation in order to plan for and succeed in college.

Family Involvement News

September 2012 News

Father and daughter reading together We are committed to keeping you up to date on what's new in family engagement. View our list of links to current reports, articles, resources, and events in the field.

Contact Us

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The FINE Team at Harvard Family Research Project

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