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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 II, Issue 1
Issue Topic: Family Engagement Across the Developmental Continuum

Tips & Tools From Harvard Family Research Project

With a renewed emphasis on school improvement in today’s education climate, many schools and districts are investing in strategies to promote teacher effectiveness. One of these strategies is building teacher capacity to meaningfully reach out to and engage families in support of their children’s learning through the use of teaching cases.

Harvard Family Research Project’s Teaching Case series specifically supports teacher training and professional development in the area of family engagement. Each case highlights a particular challenge that schools, families, and communities may encounter in supporting children’s learning. Accompanying instructor’s notes encourage readers to think critically about major issues in the case.

In this month’s newsletter, we feature Making a Decision About College: Should I Stay or Should I Go?, which considers the ways in which schools can support students who have significant family obligations to make appropriate choices about where to attend college. 

About Making a Decision About College: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Marisela Castillo, a senior in high school, has been accepted to pre-medical programs at several prestigious East Coast universities; however, attending these schools would require her to live away from her home in Los Angeles, where she has adopted many household and family responsibilities to help her mother.  Marisela struggles to decide if she should leave home to attend school, given that she would not be able to meet some of her family obligations. What roles should teachers, counselors, and parents play in helping students like Marisela make appropriate decisions about college?

Go to the Making a Decision About College: Should I Stay or Should I Go? teaching case.

About Harvard Family Research Project's Teaching Cases
Harvard Family Research Project's Teaching Cases help prepare teachers and other professionals to partner effectively with the families of children in elementary school. These research-based case studies reflect critical dilemmas in family–school–community relations, especially among low-income and culturally diverse families. Each teaching case includes a narrative, discussion questions, recommended reading, instructor notes, and expert commentary.

Preparing Educators to Engage Families (Sage) book cover

Making a Decision About College: Should I Stay or Should I Go? and many other cases are available for free on Harvard Family Research Project's website. In addition, a collection of teaching cases entitled Preparing Educators to Engage Families: Case Studies Using an Ecological Systems Framework (Second Edition), is available for purchase from Sage Publications.

Access Harvard Family Research Project's Teaching Cases available for free online.

Purchase Preparing Educators to Engage Families (Sage).

This article is part of the April 2010 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