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FINE Newsletter, Volume V, Issue 2
Issue Topic: Changing the Conversation: Sharing Education Data With Families

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.


Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Simulation
This simulation activity, created by the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (of which HFRP is a part), helps early childhood educators explore and practice everyday strategies to develop a positive, goal-directed relationship with a family in a virtual Head Start center. While the simulation was designed for Head Start/Early Head Start professionals, early childhood educators outside of Head Start can access the simulation and will find the relationship-building strategies useful in their own work.

Tips for Administrators, Teachers, and Families: How to Share Data Effectively
This new resource from HFRP helps administrators, teachers, and families identify the best ways to share student data in meaningful ways, on a regular basis, to strengthen family–school partnerships and promote student learning. The tip sheets include examples of data-sharing practices that illustrate the roles of administrators, teachers, and families in adopting a data-driven approach to supporting student learning. The tip sheets complement our existing Parent–Teacher Conference Tip Sheets and are especially designed to help promote ongoing communication about student progress among teachers, families, and students throughout the year.


Schools Are Using Social Networking to Involve Parents 
This Education Week article highlights digital-engagement initiatives that target parents, such as the Houston school district’s “parent super centers” and New York City’s school news text-subscription service for parents. These initiatives are designed to address low-income families’ frustrations over being unable to help their children with their school work, and are intended not only to help connect families to the school community, but also to familiarize parents with concepts being taught in the classroom. Some school districts have taken further steps to help address the socioeconomic disparity in digital access by providing computers for parents to take home and keep after technology trainings, and by offering at-home Internet services free of charge.

The Dicey Parent–Teacher Duet
This opinion piece from the New York Times explores the sometimes tenuous relationship between teachers and parents. Drawing on the voices of educators and school administrators, the author illustrates some common challenges in negotiating the parent–teacher relationship, such as the limits of email communication. The author also offers some suggestions for both parents and teachers in order to engage in a productive partnership through consistent and thoughtful dialogue.

How Teachers Are Explaining the Common Core to Students and Parents
This article looks at the way teachers in an elementary school in Indiana are making the language of the Common Core Standards accessible to students and parents. Teachers discuss the creation of specific “learning periods” based on the Common Core Standards that help teachers, parents, and students work together to ensure that standards are adequately addressed in weekly lessons.

Data-Sharing: Federal Rules and Best Practices to Improve Out-of-School-Time Programs and Student Outcomes
Produced by Partnership for Children and Youth, this report highlights how best to enhance out-of-school-time (OST) partnerships between community-based organizations and schools. By looking at how to assess and share data, in the context of both federal regulations and constructive collaboration, the report provides practical information on fostering OST–school partnerships by using data to align programming goals. The report includes examples of successful data-sharing practices from current OST–school partnerships.


The Nation’s Report Card: What Every Parent Should Know About NAEP This brochure (also available in Spanish) helps parents who may not be familiar with the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) understand more about the value and use of the test. Published by the National Center for Education Statistics, the brochure provides an overview of the purposes of NAEP, offers some statistical data from NAEP results, and provides a snapshot of how students are performing nationally.

Cultivating Readers 
Offered in both English and Spanish, this free publication from the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) provides parents with tips for helping young children develop literacy skills. Outlining key concepts to address three different age brackets (birth–2, 3–5, and 6–8 years), this resource suggests specific literacy-themed activities for families. It also includes a calendar that highlights enjoyable learning activities for families throughout the year. 

Advice for Parents: Helping Your Child Succeed in School—and Life
This handbook, from the What Kids Can Do organization, provides parents of middle school and high school students with tips on how they can be a supportive and positive influence in their adolescents’ lives. The resource is designed especially for parents who were unable to finish their own schooling, and subsequently, may not be entirely familiar with how to help their adolescents manage the academic and social dynamics of school life. The handbook and accompanying resources provide parents with tips in seven areas: homework, managing stress, self-control, motivation and challenge, keeping at it, curiosity and resourcefulness, and self-confidence.


How Disrespect Hurts Kids
This blog post, part of the Bridging Differences dialogue series between Deborah Meier and prominent educators and academics in the field of education, argues that teachers need to be cognizant of the ways parents may interpret parent–teacher communication. Drawing from her own experiences as an educator, Meier discusses the influence of parents’ perceptions of the school culture on students’ behavioral tendencies.

Interactive Homework Spurs Parent Involvement, Study Finds
This blog post highlights findings from a study on the impacts on parent engagement of interactive homework and parent–teacher communication. The study examined the implementation of the Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork, or TIPS, program among 200 eighth-grade students. The students were required to discuss what they had learned in school with their parents once a week, and half of the teachers were asked to reach out to parents about the assignments in weekly five-minute conversations. The study examined the impact that the overall program—as well as different components of the program—had on students’ homework turn-in rates and on family members’ attendance at parent–teacher conferences.


Office of Head Start 2nd National Birth to Five Leadership Institute—Data Driven Leadership: Your Role in School Readiness
This conference, which will be held in National Harbor, Maryland, from April 28–30, 2013, will focus on the potential of data to promote school readiness and inform quality program improvement. For those who cannot attend, you can follow the conference on Twitter using the hashtag #HSLeads13.

This resource is part of the April 2013 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