Research: Best Practices for Educators
Ready, Willing, Able Research Report
Ready, Willing, Able is a 2013 research report by the New York City nonprofit group Public Agenda, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundation. Its research is derived from over 1,500 interviews of Kansas City parents and how they hope to contribute to their children’s education. Read the report on the Public Agenda website. Because this research focuses directly on parents, it is a useful resource for educators and parents alike in developing parent and school engagement practices. It offers key findings and excellent recommendations for partnering with parents.

Not surprisingly, the research indicates that parents differ in their interest, capacity and willingness to collaborate with schools. Parents were found to be of three types: help seekers (wishing to help their students improve); school helpers (wishing to be directly involved with schools); and potential transformers (wishing to be more involved in shaping schools). This leads to the conclusion that parents need differentiated school engagement.

Parent Engagement Information and Tools
The Michigan Department of Education has developed a number of resources to support districts in the development, assessment, and implementation of parent engagement policies, programs, and plans. Their website includes links to parent engagement standards, assessments, rubrics, tools, and sample policies for school staff to use in their parent engagement programs. Visit the Michigan Department of Education website.

Family and Community Engagement Network
The FCE Network (FCE Network website) began in 2009 under the guidance of the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL website) and its planning partners. They include Jane Quinn, Children’s Aid Society; Karen Mapp, Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Anne Henderson, Annenberg Institute for School Reform.

Boosting Parent Involvement: Results from a National Survey of Parents
The 2011 Parent Involvement Survey (in English and Spanish) obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 846 parents of children attending public schools.  Among other things, the study found that parents want to be involved in children’s education but do not understand the factors that affect public education quality. The study highlighted parental perceptions and their attitudes towards education (both sometimes very inaccurate), barriers to their involvement, and strategies schools can use to enhance parent involvement. A parent involvement PowerPoint highlights key findings. Read more about the survey on the Public Agenda website

Research-Based Best Practices - Family Engagement
Washoe County Schools in Reno, Nevada uses a framework and rubric to assess the effectiveness of family engagement at each school. The rubric is an excellent tool for other schools to use in evaluating their family engagement practices. The framework highlights eight important things schools can do to increase family engagement.
  1. Build meaningful relationships with families.
  2. Help families understand standards and assessments and monitor their children’s progress.
  3. Help families work alongside teachers and staff.
  4. Provide families with training, materials, and help them use technology.
  5. Provide professional development and support to school staff regarding family engagement strategies.
  6. Acknowledge and address differences of the families served.
  7. Provide support advocacy and the sharing of power.
  8. Guide families through transitions between grade levels and other critical points.