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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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In this issue:

Where are we on parent involvement?
Based on a decade of research, Public Agenda reports that teachers consider lack of parent involvement a serious problem. This finding challenges us to discover how to revitalize the relationship between teachers and parents. In this issue of the FINE Forum, we share the wisdom of educators who committed to doing that and more. They show how to develop more positive relationships by supporting teachers, exposing them to the exemplary practices of their peers, and to hands-on projects with parents and community members.

The Dynamics of Teacher-Parent Conversations
In Questions & Answers, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot of the Harvard Graduate School of Education tells us that “in terms of the socialization of children, there's no more important dialogue than that between parents and teachers.” Through her method of portraiture she seeks to make palpable the intricate dynamics of teacher–parent conversations. Teachers who build alliances with parents listen to them, empathize with their perspective, and provide specific information about their child. They develop the listening, observing, and documenting skills that should be part of teacher education.

Preparing Teachers for Urban Schools
Program Spotlight focuses on providing teachers in graduate school the opportunity to learn from and participate in the life of an urban school. Dennis Shirley of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College conducts his courses on curriculum and instruction and the social context of education in a Boston high school. Influenced by his research on community organizing in education, he engages his students to observe, study, and participate in organizing efforts in the high school. One effort, improving attendance for Parents' Night, focused on transforming teacher negativism into a positive relationship-building experience for teachers and parents.

One Teacher's Experience as an Educator Involved in Community Organizing
Teacher Talk expands on the theme of transformation discussed in the Program Spotlight, written from the perspective of one teacher in the high school.

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Published by Harvard Family Research Project