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21st Century Community Learning Centers Summer Institute

This workshop, Redefining After School Programs to Support Student Achievement, provides an overview of current evaluation research, describes elements of effective after school programs, and discusses a theory of change approach to designing and implementing effective after school programs.

Priscilla M. D. Little (July 27, 2004) Conferences and Presentations

Free. Available online only.

ARIS Parent Link: Five Lessons in Linking Families to Student Data Systems

In this Voices from the Field article, Shael Polakow-Suransky, the New York City Department of Education's Deputy Chancellor in the Division of Performance & Accountability, discusses five lessons gleaned from the ARIS Parent Link data system, one of the many tools NYC schools employ to help educators and families evaluate student learning and support student achievement. 

Shael Polakow-Suransky (October 2010) Research Report

50 Years of Family Engagement in Head Start

With Head Start’s 50th anniversary right around the corner, Kiersten Beigel from the Office of Head Start shares the vision for family engagement and ways that different federal agencies can join together to realize it.

Kiersten Beigel (December 11, 2014) Research Report

A Click Away: A Q&A With Chip Donohue About the Benefits of Online Distance Learning for In-Service Teachers

In this Q&A, Chip Donohue talks with HFRP about early childhood educators’ participation in online distance education courses and discusses how the topic of family engagement is being integrated into these classes.

Harvard Family Research Project (December 5, 2013) Research Report

A Day in the Life: Family Engagement in Citizen Schools

Emily Schneider-Krzys, the Deputy Program Director of Citizen Schools in Texas, explains how the Citizen Schools program’s focus on creating networks, building intentional relationships, and establishing consistent communication helps to engage families and support student learning.

Emily Schneider-Krzys (August 2009) Research Report

A Decade of Urban School Reform: Persistence and Progress in the Boston Public Schools

HFRP staff members Abby R. Weiss and Helen Westmoreland describe the evolution of Boston Public Schools' family and community engagement efforts in a chapter of this book.

Abby R. Weiss , Helen Westmoreland (March 2007) Research Report

A Field is Born: Reflections on a Decade of Afterschool

Priscilla Little, an independent consultant working in afterschool research and evaluation, reflects on the transformation of afterschool from being  merely a “safe haven” for kids whose parents are working to a core component of a holistic education. She also highlights six strategies for engaging families in afterschool programs.

Priscilla Little (June 28, 2012) Research Report

A Human-Centered Approach to Family Engagement

A human-centered design approach – an approach that is based on observation, empathy, optimism, collaboration, and experimentation – opens new possibilities for educators to motivate and sustain family engagement.

Harvard Family Research Project () Research Report

A Meta-Analysis of the Efficacy of Different Types of Parental Involvement Programs for Urban Students

In this Research Digest, William Jeynes highlights key findings from his recent meta-analysis examining the effectiveness of different types of school-based parental involvement programs. His study found that programs that emphasized shared reading, teacher–parent partnership, checking homework, and teacher–parent communication all had statistically significant positive effects on student outcomes. Jeynes discusses why the effects of school-based programs are greater than the effects seen with “voluntary” expressions of parental engagement.

William H. Jeynes (February 7, 2013) Research Report

A Mixed Method Approach to Understanding Family-School Communication

This paper presents the initial findings from an ethnographic case study, focusing on the mixed-method research strategy used in the MacArthur Comprehensive Child Development Project Follow-up Study. The aim of the study was to expand the understanding of children's developmental trajectories as they traverse the elementary school years. This paper presents three case study vignettes of children in the second grade, each highlighting a different aspect of family-school communication from the perspective of the children's parents, and highlights the methodological strengths of ethnography. The third vignette uncovered the complexity and contradictions and race, racism, and informal communication between home and child for one African-American child. (Available in ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED422111)

Heather Weiss , J. Dirks, K. Friedman, G. Hanley, H. Kreider, E. Levine, E. Mayer, C. McAllister, P. Vaughan, J. Wellenkamp (July 1998) Research Report

A Model for Statewide Parent Involvement Leadership in Colorado

Tina House of the Colorado Parent Involvement Network for Education discusses a collaborative approach to providing statewide leadership for family engagement.

Tina House (May 2009) Research Report

A New Approach to Transitions: Welcoming Families and Their Ideas into Kindergarten Classrooms

Ken Smythe-Leistico is the director of Ready Freddy: Pathways to Kindergarten Success at the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development. In this profile, Ken discusses the Ready Freddy program—created in collaboration with Pittsburgh Public Schools, families, and community partners to increase the likelihood that children will have a successful kindergarten year.

Ken Smythe-Leistico (March 15, 2012) Research Report

A New Tool for Understanding Family–School Relationships: The Harvard Graduate School of Education PreK-12 Parent Survey

This tool, developed through a partnership between the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Survey Monkey, provides educators with free access to a set of survey questions, or scales, to help them collect and analyze data about their family engagement work. These scales also provide educators with an efficient way to assess the progress of their work and identify areas for improvement.

Beth Schueler (February 7, 2013) Research Report

A Review of Activity Implementation in Out-of-School Time Programs

This Snapshot examines the range and scope of activities being implemented in current out-of-school time programs to set a context for understanding the links between program activities and positive outcomes for youth.

Suzanne Bouffard , Priscilla M. D. Little (August 2003) Research Report

Free. 4 Pages.

A Review of Out-of-School Time Program Quasi-Experimental and Experimental Evaluation Results

This Snapshot provides an overview of what the quasi-experimental and experimental evaluations in the HFRP's OST Database reveal about the impact of out-of-school time programs on an array of academic, prevention, and youth development outcomes. It also includes a resource list of other out-of-school time evaluation reviews and related evaluation information.

Priscilla M. D. Little , Erin Harris (July 2003) Research Report

Hard copy out of stock. Available online only.

A Special Education Plan for Anabela: Does Supporting Her Needs Mean Holding Her Back?

A mother advocated strongly for her daughter's special education placement at a new school, but now appears under-involved to the teachers. The classroom and resource room teachers disagree about whether to retain the girl in second grade, and the classroom teacher must make a recommendation to the principal, knowing the family has opposed retention in the past.

Peggy Vaughan (2002) Teaching Case

Free. Available online only.

A Strong Start for Family Engagement in Massachusetts

Through its Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge funds, Massachusetts has created strategic partnerships with museums and libraries, public television, family and community programs, community nonprofits, and public transportation to build a robust and growing statewide family engagement system.

Nathan Driskell (December 11, 2014) Research Report

A User's Guide to Advocacy Evaluation Planning

A User's Guide to Advocacy Evaluation Planning was developed for advocates, evaluators, and funders who want guidance on how to evaluate advocacy and policy change efforts. This tool takes users through four basic steps that generate the core elements of an advocacy evaluation plan, including what will be measured and how.

Julia Coffman (Fall 2009) Tool for Evaluation

Free. Available online only.

Academic Achievement

This issue of FINE Forum explores new forms of and strategies in family involvement, all of which share a common goal: expanding and deepening family and community roles to help students meet high standards.

Harvard Family Research Project (Winter 2001/2002) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

Academic Parent–Teacher Teams: Reorganizing Parent–Teacher Conferences Around Data

Maria C. Paredes, Director of Community Education at Creighton School District in Arizona, discusses one of the district’s family engagement strategies that was developed—in part—from data she collected demonstrating that parents were more interested in attending academically-oriented activities than other types of events such as potlucks or family-fun nights. 

Maria C. Paredes (October 2010) Research Report

Accomplished Teachers and Their Interactions With Parents: A Comparative Analysis of Strategies and Techniques

This study found that teachers with National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification have more positive attitudes, are more tenacious in their approaches, and have more strategies for engaging families than noncertified teachers.

Rick Ginsberg , Lauri Hermann-Ginsberg (March 2005) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

Adolescence: Are Parents Relevant to Students' High School Achievement and Post-Secondary Attainment?

Analysis of National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS) data shows that parents' high educational expectations positively affect students' academic achievement in high school.

Evanthia Patrikakou (September 2004) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

Advocacy and Policy Change

This 32-page issue of The Evaluation Exchange describes new developments in evaluating advocacy and policy change efforts that attempt to inform or influence public policy at the local, state, or federal levels.

Evaluation Exchange Issue

Free. 32 Pages.

Advocating for the Rights of Undocumented Families

Moria Cappio and Melanie Reyes from The Children’s Aid Society share their experiences reinventing family engagement strategies in their East Harlem Early Head Start/Head Start program to reach out to immigrant families by including parent civic advocacy. Cappio and Reyes also describe how using an advocacy evaluation tool helped them navigate these uncharted waters.

Moria Cappio , Melanie Reyes (May 2010) Research Report

African-American and Chinese-American Parent Involvement: The Importance of Race, Class, and Culture

African-American and Chinese-American parents use alternative forms of social capital to support their children's education.

John Diamond , Ling Wang, Kimberly Gomez (May 2006) Research Report

Free. Available online only.

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