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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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Welcome to our blog series New Directions in Family Engagement, where we share the latest research, policy, and practice trends that are shaping a new era of family engagement.

Because children learn anywhere, anytime, our blogs focus on family engagement in diverse contexts. A human-centered approach and equity lens to developing relationships with families is central to this series. Contributors also focus on the importance of building systems that promote meaningful and effective engagement for all families.

Read about the diverse voices that contribute to emerging trends in family engagement.

older children in library_blog post_november2016


Learning Pathways: Leading Our Children to Success in School and Life
November 2016
Now is the time to join together to build a learning pathway for our children’s future. Harvard Family Research Project looks at how promoting children’s learning both in and out of school, with family engagement as a continuing element, is fundamental to a more equitable society.

Photo Credit: The Grable Foundation | Brian Cohen



Growing Stronger Families and Stronger Communities
November 2016
For the past 20 years, the National Center for Families Learning has named an outstanding Family Teacher of the Year. In this blog, read what the educators awarded this honor have learned about family engagement over the span of their careers.

parents discussing the development of an app
An App For and With Parents
September 28, 2016
Sandra Gutierrez, founder and national director of
Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, describes how developing a free, bilingual app placed parents’ voices at the center of the development process. The result: an innovative family engagement app that will be relevant, useful, and engaging for families and their children!
photo from Brooklyn Public Library
Pinkerton Foundation’s Neighborhood Literacy Initiative: Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
September 8, 2016
Danielle Pulliam, program officer at The Pinkerton Foundation, shares the benefits and lessons of collaborative community programming and the central role of the library in the Neighborhood Literacy Initiative.
photo of children and families at a NURTURES free and experiential SCI-Fun Community event at partner locations such as the Toledo Botanical Garden, University of Toledo Ritter Planetarium, and the Toledo Zoo.
How the National Science Foundation Supports Family-Oriented STEM Learning

August 30, 2016
Joan Walker, of the National Science Foundation (NSF), shares NSF’s funding opportunities for projects to engage families in children’s STEM learning.
photo of two paths in the woods
Three Lessons in Developing a Systemic Approach to Family Engagement
July 26, 2016
Allison Rowland describes how the second-largest school district in California worked collaboratively to develop a systemic family engagement framework while putting family voice front and center.
photo of two paths in the woods
The Road Less Traveled: Engaging Families in Early Math
July 12, 2016
Holly Kreider and Kimberly Brenneman highlight how the Heising-Simons Foundation is making grants to build the knowledge base on how families influence children’s early math development over time, while simultaneously raising awareness about the importance of math in the early years.

Why We Need a Human Centered Approach to Family Engagement
February 16, 2016
M. Elena Lopez on how cultivating empathy can inspire educators to respond with more inclusive and equitable practices to engage families.

Five Lessons Learned About District Leadership for Family Engagement

February 8, 2016
Michele Brooks, the former assistant superintendent of family and student engagement for Boston Public Schools, shares her insights on district leadership for effective and sustainable family engagement.


Reimagining the Parent-Teacher Conference
October 16, 2015
Heather B. Weiss details four emerging trends that engage families and teachers together in ongoing, meaningful conversations about children’s learning and development.


Family to Family: Remaking Family Learning
September 16, 2015
Margaret Caspe shares how family engagement is being revitalized through community initiatives that connect learning spaces.


Attending to Children’s Year-Round Learning
August 27, 2015
M. Elena Lopez on effective ways — including state and local partnerships — to support family involvement in children’s learning and development in and out of school.

Making Learning Fun

June 16, 2015
Heather B. Weiss and Gregg Behr on how maker education provides an accessible and fun pathway to connected learning for families.


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