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FINE Newsletter, Volume I, Issue 3
Issue Topic: Family Involvement and Out-of-School Time

Family Involvement News

We at Harvard Family Research Project are committed to keeping you up-to-date on what's new in family involvement.  This list of links to current reports, articles, events, and opportunities will help you stay on top of what's happening in the family involvement field.

New From Harvard Family Research Project

  • Seeing is Believing: Promising Practices for How School Districts Promote Family Engagement

    Produced jointly by Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) and the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), this ground-breaking policy brief examines the role of school districts in promoting family engagement. The brief spotlights how six school districts across the country have used innovative strategies to create and sustain family engagement “systems at work.” It highlights promising practices and proposes a set of recommendations for federal, state, and local policies.

  • Uses of Title I for Promising Practices in Parent and Community Engagement

    Sponsored by the United Way and the Coalition for Community Schools, this webinar features Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) and the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) discussing state- and district-level best practices for family engagement. In addition, the American Association of School Administrators shares examples of how Title I is used in community planning, parent and family engagement, school-level planning for integration of funding streams, and professional development to help school leaders and faculty with family and community engagement. An archived version of the webinar can be accessed via the link above.

Public Service Announcements

  • Family Involvement During the Summer

    In an online public service announcement, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks about the importance of family involvement during the summer months. To help students sustain learning over the summer and to avoid summer reading loss, Secretary Duncan encourages parents to engage with their children in learning activities such as reading and visiting museums and libraries.

Articles & Reports

  • Family Engagement in Diverse Families

    The National Association for the Education of Young Children has released an integrated literature review on the family engagement of ethnically diverse families in early childhood settings. The review can be used by early childhood programs to support their development and implementation of strategies to partner with families across ethnic backgrounds.

  • Parent–Child Relationships in Adolescence

    A recent study of high school students conducted by the University of Sydney has found that adolescent relationships with teachers and parents have a strong influence on a range of academic outcomes. Second only to teacher–child relationships, parent–child relationships are shown to be more predictive of academic success than peer relationships.

  • Parents and Youth Internet Safety

    A recent report from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, prepared for the Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking of State Attorneys General of the United States, addresses child safety in online technology. The report includes a review of research related to youth online safety and addresses the role of parents in helping youth be safe Internet consumers. The full article is available for purchase or registration through Teachers College Record.

  • Family Engagement as an Indicator in Estimating Pre-K to Third Grade Costs

    According to a  recent brief from the Foundation for Child Development that presents a framework for assessing prekindergarten to  third grade costs, one of the core elements that needs to be examined in cost studies is family engagement. The authors suggest that providing high-impact supports across grades should include family engagement and that schools should allocate one family engagement coordinator for every 100 children.

  • Parent Involvement in Kansas Schools

    A new report from the Kansas Parental Information Resource Center (PIRC) highlights schools and school districts across Kansas that are effectively aligning their parent involvement work with the PTA’s new National Standards for Family School Partnerships. The report is meant to share promising practices and to encourage other schools and districts to adopt practices that reflect the National Standards.

  • Parent Involvement and High School Dropout Prevention

    A recent report by Civic Enterprises shares findings from a survey of public school teachers and principals regarding the high school dropout problem. In this study, a follow-up to a 2006 survey of students, the majority of teachers and principals surveyed cite parent involvement as a factor in high school dropout rates as well as an area for improvement in their own schools’ efforts.

  • Physical Activity and Family Involvement

    A recent Chapin Hall Issue Brief shares findings from a study of Chicago public high school students on how they spend their out-of-school time, particularly with regard to engaging in physical activity. Researchers found that youth who reported low or moderate levels of engagement in fun activities with their families also reported being inactive or moderately active.

  • Father Involvement in Children’s Learning

    A recent report from the National Center for Fathering and National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) presents findings from a survey of father involvement. A follow-up to a 1999 survey, this new data show gains in father involvement in school as well as increases in fathers’ interactions with teachers, school officials, and other parents.


  • Families, Schools, and the Adolescent: Connecting Research, Policy, and Practice

    Edited by Nancy E. Hill and Ruth K. Chao, this recently released book presents new research on family–school partnerships in the context of adolescence. Chapters address a range of topics including parent–teacher communication, academic socialization practices among diverse families, and the potential role of technology in family–school partnerships.

  • The Parents We Mean to Be

    A new book by Richard Weissbourd, The Parents We Mean to Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children's Moral and Emotional Development, suggests that parents have more influence than peers or media on children’s moral development. The author suggests that parents should focus on helping their children mature as much as, if not more so than, on making them happy. The book offers concrete strategies for doing so.

  • Parents and “The Nurture Assumption”

    In a recently revised edition of her 1998 book, Judith Rich Harris challenges the assumption that parents have the strongest influence on a child’s development. Instead, in The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do, Harris emphasizes the importance of peers and teachers in shaping a child’s development.

This article is part of the August 2009 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 FINE Newsletter Archive, visit

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