An increasing body of research tells us that children whose parents are involved in their education get better grades, are better behaved and have better futures. The challenge often lies in how we engage parents to support their student’s success. Thankfully, we are surrounded by an abundance of resources and experts.
Locally, in Indiana, we have the Indiana Partnerships Center (IPC), which works to engage, equip and empower parents to be involved in their student’s education. IPC partners with stakeholders to strengthen parent engagement efforts, promote best practices and advocate for reform. They are our local expert on parent engagement.
Nationally, the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) is a hub of information that promotes family and community engagement in education. It is HFRP’s belief that a clear and commonly shared framework and definition of family engagement can—and will—inspire policy investments in family engagement, which will, in turn, contribute to school improvement and student success.
The three core principles of HFRP developed for family engagement policy are:
- Shared Responsibility – First, family engagement is a shared responsibility in which schools and other community agencies and organizations are committed to reaching out to engage families in meaningful ways and in which families are committed to actively supporting their children’s learning and development.
- Continuous – Family engagement is also continuous across a child’s life and entails enduring commitment but changing parent roles as children mature into young adulthood.
- Comprehensive – Finally, effective family engagement cuts across and reinforces learning in the multiple settings where children learn—at home, in prekindergarten programs, in school, afterschool programs, faith-based institutions, and the community.
HFRP also has great online resources for engaging families, including the Handbook of School–Family Partnerships. This handbook presents a comprehensive, integrated family, school, and community partnership framework that can help level the playing field for disadvantaged children and ensure that they have access to the parental involvement and community engagement practices of their more advantaged peers in order to enhance their learning.