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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 III, Issue 4
Issue Topic: Expanded Learning and Family Engagement

Family Involvement News

We at Harvard Family Research Project are committed to keeping you up to date on what's new in family involvement. This list of links to current reports, articles, events, and opportunities will help you stay on top of research and resources from HFRP and other field leaders.

New from Harvard Family Research Project

  • Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework: Promoting Family Engagement and School Readiness from Prenatal to Age 8
    This framework, developed by the Office of Head Start with assistance from the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (of which HFRP is a partnering organization), is a vital tool for early childhood education and care providers seeking to build effective family engagement strategies. While the framework is intended for Head Start and Early Head Start programs, its lessons are useful and applicable to a much broader audience of early childhood programs.
  • Webinar 8: Evaluating Family Engagement Strategies: Addressing Measurement Challenges
    This webinar, part of the U.S. Department of Education-sponsored Achieving Excellence and Innovation in Family, School, and Community Engagement series, highlighted promising approaches for evaluating family engagement strategies, addressed challenges in defining and measuring outcomes, and provided guidance for building evaluation into a family engagement plan from the beginning. An archive of the webinar presentation, resources related to evaluation, and presentation slides are all available for download.
  • Webinar 9: Bringing it All Together: Family and Community Engagement Policies in Action
    The final installment in the U.S. Department of Education-sponsored webinar series Achieving Excellence and Innovation in Family, School, and Community Engagement, this webinar examined the different roles of federal, state, and local entities in promoting family, school, and community engagement (FSCE) policy. In addition, the webinar highlighted innovative examples of systemic, integrated, and sustained FSCE at every level and identifies opportunities for practitioners, program staff, advocates, and education officials to weave FSCE policies into their own work. An archive of the webinar presentation, resources related to family engagement policy and practice, and presentation slides are all available for download.

Articles & Reports

Policy Perspectives

  • A Conversation with Dr. Karen Mapp, Consultant on Family Engagement
    Karen Mapp, Director of the Education Policy and Management Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education and consultant to the U.S. Department of Education, shares insights into the policies and practices that can inform family engagement on a national scale in this interview with Anna Hinton, Director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Parental Options and Information.
  • Learning from the Extremes (PDF)
    This research paper argues that both the developed and developing world can learn from innovative education programs created in extremely impoverished environments. Based on their research on these programs, the authors argue that governments should adopt four major strategies to support children’s education, one of which is to supplement formal schooling by investing in families and communities.

Professional Development

  • Simulations Help School Leaders Hone People Skills
    This Education Week article discusses the implementation and evaluation of a program that allows principals and teachers to practice having difficult conversations with parents, students, community members and teachers.  Based on the medical student training model in which trained actors play the role of patients, principals and teachers engage in discussions with actors who play specific characters (e.g., the concerned mother of a girl who is bullied by classmates). Evaluation results showed participants improved in several areas, including cultural awareness and ethical judgment. (Note: Access to this article requires a subscription to Education Week.)

School–Community Partnerships


  • Linking Home-Based Child Care And State-Funded Preschool: The Community Connections Preschool Program Evaluation
    Community Connections, an innovative program in Illinois, provides support to home-based childcare providers and opportunities for children in home-based care to receive pre-kindergarten programming. Family engagement is an important part of the program, which was recently evaluated by Child Trends and the National Center for Children in Poverty. The evaluation found that participation in the program improved both the quality of materials available in home-based care centers and parent-reported developmental gains for children.
  • Back to School: How Parent Involvement Affects Student Achievement
    This report from The Center for Public Education describes several kinds of parent involvement and discusses research findings on which kinds of involvement are most effective in boosting student achievement.

Home Visits

  • Before the First School Bell, Teachers in Bronx Make House Calls
    This New York Times article describes the efforts of a public school in the Bronx, the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science, to visit the families of each incoming sixth-grade student before the start of the school year. The article is accompanied by a seven-minute video documenting the process.
  • Teachers Increasingly Use Home Visits to Connect with Students’ Families
    This Washington Post article highlights a growing national trend toward teachers visiting students’ families in their homes. The article documents a home visit in the Washington D.C. area, part of a Flamboyan Foundation program aimed at addressing parents’ mistrust of schools.
  • The Teacher Home Visit Program 2009–2010 Evaluation Report
    This report presents evaluation results from the Teacher Home Visit Program, a family engagement program that aims to increase students’ academic success and personal growth through home visits and school-based events. The program was evaluated across three St. Louis area school districts and included early childhood centers and elementary, middle, and high schools.

Community Organzing

  • Chicago Community Group Breaks Down Home-School Barriers
    A case study of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s (LSNA) work with predominantly immigrant families in Chicago is featured in this Education Week article. LSNA provides a parent mentoring program that helps families learn how to effectively assist teachers in their children’s classrooms. This program not only promotes parent engagement in schools but also helps address the isolation that many immigrant families feel in their neighborhoods, helping them to feel more comfortable with the American education system.
  • What Can Community Organizing Teach Us about Parent Engagement? Five Simple Ways to Rethink the Bake Sale
    The Annenberg Institute for School Reform highlights ways in which community organizations can support meaningful parent engagement in student learning, with contributions from Dr. Soo Hong, author of A Cord of Three Strands.



This article is part of the December 2011 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

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Published by Harvard Family Research Project