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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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FINE Newsletter, Volume I, Issue 2
Issue Topic: Family Involvement Policy

Voices From the Field

Tina House of the Colorado Parent Involvement Network for Education discusses a collaborative approach to providing statewide leadership for family engagement.

Collaboration among previously siloed organizations and agencies plays a key role in supporting family involvement efforts in Colorado. One year ago, in support of the Colorado Department of Education’s efforts to better align family engagement across agencies, the Clayton Early Learning Parent Information Resource Center, the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition Parent Information Resource Center, the Colorado PTA, and Titles I and III at the Colorado Department of Education joined forces to create the Colorado Parent Involvement Network for Education (COPINE).

Today, COPINE members—who work from the grassroots level to the state policy level—work together to foster parent involvement in education throughout the state. These stakeholders and partners include community-based public and private organizations, policymakers and legislators, parents, health and human services organizations, early childhood educators, and pre-K to college and career initiatives.  

COPINE’s long-term goals are to decrease the dropout rate and improve student achievement. In pursuit of these goals, COPINE emphasizes creating a system valuing partnerships that operate from an assets-based approach that shares responsibility for family involvement. COPINE works to create parent–school partnerships by targeting systems-level change throughout Colorado.  COPINE does this is by coordinating efforts among partners to provide guidance to stakeholders at multiple levels—from building best practice models for district technical assistance to advising on state-level policies related to family engagement .  

One way COPINE creates change that fosters parent–school partnerships is by incubating models that can then offer best practices to school districts. Right now, the network is in the early stages of implementing a pilot project that will collectively leverage the resources and expertise of all COPINE members in a select district. Through this pilot project, COPINE will show what effective family engagement can look like when key players purposefully link, align, and leverage their efforts across all the people and places that support student learning.

COPINE also plays an important role in creating a statewide infrastructure to support family engagement. In addition to advising on multiple councils and committees, the network has been instrumental in collaborating with elected officials to get two parent involvement bills passed in the state legislature. This legislation will create a Parent Involvement Advisory Committee to the state Commissioner of Education and will create workplace-leave policies that support parent involvement in education.

Across its coordination and guidance efforts, COPINE advocates for and includes the voices of parents into policy-related discussions. For example, COPINE has taken an active role in helping develop family-friendly language for the state’s new accountability system, which uses a growth model of student achievement. Through parent representation and purposeful coordination of efforts, state-level conversations about education reform and student achievement regularly consider how to communicate with and support families.

Although COPINE has only existed for just over a year, its efforts are gaining attention across the state and providing an innovating model for other states that want to support systemic family engagement.

To learn more about COPINE, visit

This article is part of the May 2009 FINE Newsletter. The FINE Newsletter shares the newest and best family involvement research and resources from Harvard Family Research Project and other field leaders. To access the FINE Newsletter Archive, visit

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