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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 VI, Issue 5
Issue Topic: The Role of Organizations in Anywhere, Anytime Learning

Family Involvement News


Family Engagement Bibliography Series 2012 and 2013
Stay up-to-date on recent research in family engagement by accessing Harvard Family Research Project’s 2012 and 2013 family engagement bibliographies. The bibliographies include citations from journal articles, dissertations and theses, research briefs, papers, reports, and books. 

Creating a Conversation About Anywhere, Anytime Learning
In this Web conference, host Heather Weiss and expert panelists Gregg Behr, Terri Ferinde Dunham, and Lori Takeuchi explored ways that families, afterschool programs, and community organizations can work together to offer all children quality learning opportunities anywhere and anytime.

How Families, Schools, and Communities Are Reshaping Family Engagement to Reach All Learners
Learn about the three key principles of the expanded definition of family engagement in this recent Web conference hosted by HFRP. Expert panelists Betsy Nikolchev and Carmen Ponce joined the conversation and discussed how their program—Stretch to Kindergarten—puts these principles into action.

Supporting Ongoing, Constructive, and Meaningful Conversations About Student’s Progress
HFRP has created a list of resources that can help support continuous and meaningful conversations between parents and teachers. This dialogue is most successful when it is supported by strong principal leadership and thoughtful preparation on the part of teachers.


Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach
A two-generation approach to improving child and family well-being aims to create opportunities for families by simultaneously equipping children and their parents with the tools they need to thrive.  In this report from KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, read about this approach to reducing poverty which involves early childhood education, parent job training and other  strategies for families to achieve financial stability. 

Engaging Diverse Families: Two Principals Share Their Stories
Simple changes to everyday practices can have incredible impacts on family engagement in diverse school communities. In this interview, two principals share how they work collaboratively to prioritize and improve family-teacher relationships in their schools. By addressing barriers that may be keeping families from being involved and by working to celebrate diversity in their schools, these two principals encourage other schools to value family engagement of any magnitude and to work to understand the real needs of the families they serve.

Teacher Toolbox for Family Engagement
A must-read for educators and families of young children! This three-in-one resource comes from the Office of Head Start’s National Centers on Quality Teaching and Learning and on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. Designed to encourage collaboration between teachers and families as children transition into school, these tip sheets offer ideas for sharing behavior expectations with children, engaging children in conversations, and creating a caring community.


Talking Common Core with Parents
First-grade Los Angeles teacher Jane Ching Fung provides six easy strategies for talking about Common Core with parents, a task which she describes as necessary for families to be accurately informed about new standards and to feel welcomed into the conversation about their student’s academic performance. Among her six recommendations are the need to “get acquainted” with Common Core, to start talking about Common Core early, and to try “show and tell” strategies such as student-led conferences to disseminate information to families. The overarching theme of her advice from one teacher to another: Be patient with families and prepared to help them through the transition.

Expect Success: A Family’s Guide to Preparing Students for College and Careers
This resource from the New York City Department of Education offers families a clear roadmap for how students can be successful in the classroom, what courses are required for graduation and college readiness, and how students can prepare for the college process. The guide also offers ideas for how families can be engaged in their children’s learning during the high school years. 

The Case for Dedicated Dads
When fathers are involved in their young children’s learning, children perform well in school, exhibit healthy behavior, and increase their learning. So how can schools capitalize on the positive impact of paternal involvement? This article from The Atlantic highlights tips from various organizations that can make it easier for fathers to get engaged, including addressing institutional barriers to paternity leave, being mindful of fathers’ work schedules when scheduling school events, and adopting simple and accessible strategies for informing fathers about how they can become involved in their children’s education. 


Connecting the Dots: Raising A Reader Builds Evidence Base for its Parent Engagement and Early Literacy Program
This Child Trends report examines the process that the Raising A Reader (RAR) program has taken to use data and evidence to increase its impact and effectiveness. First, RAR used research about the importance of family involvement in promoting children’s literacy to develop a strong foundation for program elements. Second, it conducted numerous small-scale evaluations and used the emerging knowledge base to strengthen its operations and consistency in program implementation. Third, RAR continues to refine its measurement tools so that it can collect reliable and valid data to demonstrate its effectiveness. Altogether its continuous data collection for learning and improvement position it for an impact evaluation that can provide a higher standard of evidence for its effectiveness.

Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality (FPTRQ) Project
Strong relationships between families and early care and education providers and teachers contribute to young children’s school readiness and increase family engagement. Sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Head Start and Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the FPTRQ project has developed a series of resources and instruments that programs can use to understand the quality of relationships among families and providers/teachers in early care and education settings for children from birth through age five.

America After 3PM: How Are Kids Spending Their Time After School?
This report from the Afterschool Alliance looks at how children spend the hours between 3 and 6 p.m.—the time after school ends and before parents typically return home from work. The report shows that afterschool participation has increased over the past decade—as many as 2 million more children participate in afterschool programs today than did in 2009. The full report also examines barriers to participation, including evidence suggesting that there simply aren’t enough afterschool programs to meet families’ and students’ needs. For an in-depth look at the results from your state data, check out this interactive tool!

Education Report Card Reveals Most States Still Below Average
According to data from the Center for Education Reform (CER), on average states could be doing a better job in creating and implementing policies designed to increase family access to information about school choice, teacher quality, and online learning. This report card, which measures states’ Parent Power Index (the percentage of parents with access to educational information and options for informed decisions for their children) rated states at an average of 67.4 percent. The president of the CER says that this report carries with it many implications for the recent gubernatorial elections across the country as families take a stand on their right to access information and make informed choices. 

Immigrant Parents and Early Childhood Programs
Growing demographic changes in the American education landscape present new challenges to educators and families as they work to improve family─school connections. This report from the Migration Policy Institute focuses on how practitioners of early childhood education and care programs can work with parents to break down barriers to family engagement. Authors Maki Park and Margie McHugh propose that, by reinvesting in adult education for immigrant families and raising awareness about gaps in early education access, program managers can help immigrant families engage in their children’s early education experience.


Families, Powered On: Improving Family Engagement in Early Childhood Education Through Technology
How parents engage with children during at-home technology use appears to be important in building children’s technology literacy is among just one of the findings in this recent policy brief from the RAND Cooperation. The final issue in a series of reports on technology and early childhood education, the brief describes a variety of ways in which parents and other family members can be involved in supporting young children’s effective use of technology both, through family involvement at home and at school, and through school-home conferencing. 

Technoteaching―Five Simple Ideas
Interested in embracing technology in your classroom but not sure where to begin? Authors Nicole Ponsford and Julie Wood offer five not-too-techy suggestions to help teachers incorporate digital resources in their practice. From having a family member Skype with a class to using Twitter, e-coaching, and radio, these five ideas for taking on technology can help teachers make their classrooms come to life. With encouraging and sometimes whimsical language, Ponsford and Wood assure educators to simply “take one (digital) step at a time.”

Engaging Families with Video at Parent-Teacher Conferences
In this video from the Colorado Department of Education Results Matter Video Library, an early childhood education teacher illustrates how she shares videos of children’s development and learning with parents at parent–teacher conferences. This clip can be viewed online and may be downloaded at no cost for use in educational and professional development activities.

One Step at a Time: The Effects of an Early Literacy Text Messaging Program for Parents of Preschoolers
This study from the National Bureau of Economic Research evaluates the effects of a READY4K!, a text messaging program for parents of preschoolers designed to help them support their children’s literacy development.  The authors find that the program positively affected the extent to which parents engaged in home literacy activities with their children as well as parental involvement at school. 


2015 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year
The National Center for Families Learning is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year, which will award $20,000 to an exemplary teacher who engages families in the educational process. Educators working with families through schools, libraries, and many other community-based organizations will be considered; nominations are due December 31, 2014.


This resource is part of the December FINE Newsletter. The FINE Newsletter shares the newest and best family engagement research and resources from Harvard Family Research Project and other field leaders. To access the archives of past issues, please visit


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Published by Harvard Family Research Project