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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 IV, Issue 3
Issue Topic: Facilitating Continuous 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 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.


  • Ready for Success: Creating Collaborative and Thoughtful Transitions into Kindergarten
    Christine Patton and Justina Wang look at the complex set of issues that 3.5 million young learners and their families face each year as these children make the transition from preschool or other early learning settings 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 examines important elements of high-quality kindergarten transition strategies and profiles promising practices from six states that take an innovative, integrated, and collaborative approach helping kindergartners enter school ready for success.


  • Ready, Willing, and Able
    This new book from Harvard researchers Mandy Savitz-Romer and Suzanne Bouffard explains how adolescent development is linked to college readiness. Its authors argue that identity, motivation, self-regulation, and relationship management are all essential developmental competencies for college readiness, and that families and schools need to address these in addition to the more traditional academic college preparation considerations in order for students—especially first-generation students—to be successful in matriculating to college.
  • Multicultural Partnerships Involve All Families
    Developed by the National Network of Partnership Schools, this book serves as a toolkit for elementary and middle schools and educators who work with diverse student populations. It provides research-based information about how to effectively involve families of different cultural backgrounds through a variety of engaging activities.
  • Involving Immigrant and Refugee Parents in Their Children’s Education
    This compilation of reports and articles from Bridging Refugee Youth & Children’s Services provides refugee and immigrant families and teachers with tools and strategies to help build family involvement. Schools and families will find this resource useful when working to break down cultural and linguistic barriers in order to build trust and engagement.


  • Family Engagement and Community Partnerships Fostered by Collaboration and CommunicationWritten by Stephanie Hirsch, the Executive Director of Learning Forward, an organization dedicated to effective professional development, this article describes seven important factors in developing effective community partnerships and learning communities for the purpose of school improvement. Hirsch cites family engagement as an important factor in school improvement, and argues that involving diverse stakeholders—including families—in conversations about school improvement, and improving communication among stakeholders—are important to creating effective learning communities.
  • Chicago’s Democratically Led Elementary Schools Far Outperform Chicago’s “Turnaround” Schools
    This study assessed the potential of two different strategies for improving very high-poverty urban elementary schools in Chicago: school-based democracy and school turnarounds. The study’s authors argue that school-based democracy strategies, which included the election of Local School Councils, inclusive principal leadership, active parent and community partners, and teachers who were engaged in school-wide improvement efforts, were more effective than “turnaround” models that were managed by non-elected overseers and relied on widespread staffing changes.


  • USDOE Waivers and Family Engagement
    In this article published by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Sara McAlister argues that the United States Department of Education should hold states that qualify for NCLB waivers to stricter standards when it comes to family and community engagement. The author points to recent research that illustrates how sustained, systematic family engagement helps in “turning around” failing schools.
  • Parents Shaping Education Policy
    In this paper published by the American Enterprise Institute, authors examine the current education policy climate, in which mobilization of parents to affect school reform is becoming common. The authors look at the history of parent involvement in school reform efforts and provide recommendations for how “parent power” can be harnessed most effectively to improve failing schools.


  • The Expanding Learning and Afterschool Project’s Toolkit for Expanding Learning
    The Expanding Learning and Afterschool Project, in partnership with the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems (CBASS), released a new Toolkit for Expanding Learning. The toolkit is designed to aid city and state agencies, school districts, intermediaries, and Statewide Afterschool Networks as they develop plans for afterschool, summer learning, and expanded learning time initiatives in their communities.

This resource is part of the September 2012 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 archive of past issues, please visit

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