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FINE Newsletter, Volume V, Issue 4
Issue Topic: Innovative Approaches to Preparing and Training Educators for Family Engagement

We at Harvard Family Research Project are committed to keeping you up to date on what's new in family engagement. 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.


Preparing Educators to Engage Families: Case Studies Using an Ecological Systems Framework, Third Edition

This completely updated third edition presents research-based teaching cases that reflect critical dilemmas in family–school–community relations, especially among families for whom poverty and cultural differences are daily realities. The cases explore family engagement issues from the early years through preadolescence.

Using Leadership to Promote Strengths-Based Family Engagement Approaches
This web conference, hosted by the HFRP FINE team and driven by participants’ questions, explores how two leaders—Sandra Gutierrez, national director of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, and Trise Moore, Family and Community Partnership director for the Federal Way Public Schools district—use strengths-based approaches in their work with families.

How to Get the Most Out of a Parent–Teacher Conference
This blog post from Mind/Shift features HFRP’s Heidi Rosenberg and references our Parent–Teacher Conference Tip Sheets. The post frames parent–teacher conferences as an important form of home–school communication, notes the importance of focusing on the “whole child” and discussing nonacademic strengths and interests, and concludes with a sampling of best practices from HFRP.

Announcing the FINE Parent University Network
The Parent University Network is a subgroup of the Family Involvement Network of Educators (FINE). Parent Universities are parent education programs that offer a variety of opportunities, including courses, trainings, and other activities to help parents ensure their children’s success. HFRP has identified 140 Parent Universities and is committed to helping them connect on key issues and learn about innovative and promising practices from each other.

Are you a Parent University professional? If so, we encourage you to join the Parent University Network by emailing the word JOIN to


2012–2013 Fall to Fall Series: Advancing Family Engagement through Professional Development in Family Services
The Fall to Fall series was launched by the Office of Head Start (OHS) in November 2012, and will continue through December 2013. Every other month, OHS promotes training and technical assistance resources (available through the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center [ECLKC]) that may be used to support staff development around each of nine relationship-based competencies outlined in Head Start and Early Head Start Relationship-Based Competencies for Staff and Supervisors Who Work with Families.

Free Courses for Continuing Education Units

Through a recent partnership between Frank Porter Graham’s Center to Mobilize Early Childhood Knowledge (CONNECT) and Quality Assist, Inc. (QA), learners can access free, self-guided, and self-paced online courses. A course on “Building Powerful Family Partnerships” is coming soon.

Understanding How Program Foundations Work Together to Strengthen Parent, Family, and Community Engagement

This new webinar series from the Office of Head Start National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement is designed to help programs develop leadership strategies to improve relationships between families and staff; identify, gather, and use data for continuous improvement in PFCE; and create professional development opportunities to support family engagement goals.


The Impact of Family Involvement on the Education of Children Ages 3 to 8

This report, co-authored by MDRC and the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University, reviews 95 studies on how families’ involvement in children’s learning and development through activities at home and at school affects the literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional skills of children. The review also offers recommendations for additional lines of inquiry and discusses next steps in research and practice.

NCES Releases First Findings Report on Parent and Family Involvement in Education in 2011–2012

This report presents findings from the Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey of the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012 (NHES:2012). The survey collected information about parent involvement in education, such as help with homework, family activities, and parent involvement at school. For home-schooled students, the survey asked questions related to the student’s home-schooling experiences, the sources of the curriculum, and the reasons for home schooling.

Family Involvement Essential in Preventing Summer Learning Loss

This publication from Child Trends lists family involvement as one of the five elements of successful summer learning programs. The report explains why family engagement is helpful to summer programs and provides suggestions for how programs can reach out to families effectively. 


Webinar on Family–School Relationships

In this webinar—sponsored by the Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)—host Karen Mapp explores the practices and policies needed to develop and sustain effective family–school partnerships. 

“Flipping” Communication with Parents

This blog post from Education Week suggests ways for educators to “flip” communication with parents by using technology. The author suggests that, by creatively using tools such as classroom blogs, Twitter accounts, district Facebook pages, and other social media, in addition to more traditional means of communication like print newsletters, teachers and school leaders can help to engage parents in meaningful ways by providing information in a format that is convenient for their fast-paced and technology-driven lifestyles. 

Arizona Teachers Engaging Families to Help Students Adjust to Common Core

This article from describes how some teachers in Arizona school districts are using family engagement strategies to help their students meet the new standards associated with the Common Core curriculum. For example, many teachers have begun to send home regular newsletters and updates that describe activities that families can do together to reinforce the skills that students are learning in school. 


National PTA Supports ESEA Bill

The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) includes several provisions, such as funding for family engagement efforts and reauthorization of the Parent Information and Resource Centers program. The National Parent Teacher Association praises the bill’s attempts to include family engagement more prominently in federal education policy. 

Family Engagement in Education Act Introduced in Congress
This blog post from Education Week provides a quick overview of the Family Engagement in Education Act, which was introduced in Congress in July 2013.


This resource is part of the December 2013 FINE Newsletter. The FINE Newsletter shares the newest and best family engagement research and resources from Harvard Family Research Project and other field leaders. To access the archives of past issues, please visit

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