The planning process made possible by this initiative was innovative and unique. It helped strengthen schools’ and communities’ action plans by emphasizing a holistic view of students in which families supported and advocated for their successful journey to high school graduation. By adopting an outcome-focused approach and using local data, local United Way sites designed different models of family engagement that removed barriers and built stronger connections between families, schools, and communities.
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We evaluated the United Way Worldwide’s Family Engagement for High School Success initiative, which aimed to support the families of disadvantaged high school youth by increasing involvement in their children’s education. This initiative, funded by AT&T, is part of United Way Worldwide’s national strategy to significantly reduce the nation’s high school dropout rate by 2018. In November 2009, AT&T granted 15 awards to local and state United Way sites to plan projects that will increase family–school–community partnerships.
The Family Engagement for High School Success Toolkit is designed to support at-risk high school students by engaging families, schools, and the community. Created in a joint effort by United Way Worldwide (UWW) and Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) as part of the Family Engagement for High School Success (FEHS) initiative, the toolkit has two parts:
Part 1 focuses on the comprehensive planning that goes into the development of a family engagement initiative.
Part 2 focuses on the early implementation process.
The recently released The Family Engagement for High School Success Toolkit: Planning and implementing an initiative to support the pathway to graduation for at-risk students distills the successes and lessons learned throughout a 5 month planning process at 15 United Way pilot sites—where community stakeholders worked together to create family engagement action plans—and through the first year of implementing the initiatives.
Join us as Jennifer Enderlin from AT&T moderates a two-part webinar series designed to introduce the main themes of the toolkit and explore the central components of planning and implementing family engagement strategies for at-risk high school students.
This resource, produced by the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (co-authored by HFRP’s Christine Patton and M. Elena Lopez), discusses the importance of families’ support for their children’s learning and development as children transition to new environments. The resource positions the transition to kindergarten as a pivotal point for establishing the kinds of practices that can help sustain gains children have made in their early learning settings, and offers examples of successful program practices that Head Start and Early Head Start staff can use to help children and families with this transition.
Family Involvement Network of Educations (FINE) provides excellent resources and research to support family involvement
The Family Involvement Storybook Project uses children's storybooks with family educational involvement themes to boost young children's achievement by promoting family engagement in learning and literacy skills. This project focuses on culturally diverse low-income families, with a special emphasis on Latino families. It provides information and tools to support the use of commercially available children's storybooks, as well our own research-based storybook, to promote family involvement in school, home, and out-of-school time settings. These resources are available online on the Storybook Corner.
Family support for learning is important for all students, but it may be particularly important for children with disabilities. One of the main tenets of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Action is parents’ participation in decision making related to their children’s education. However, despite legislative support for parental involvement, little information has been available until now to examine the actual level of family support for education that is given to middle- and high-school-age students with disabilities.
Adolescence is a time of rich experiences for girls as they approach the boundaries of womanhood. It is also a time filled with the risks born of gender, sexuality, class, and race discrimination. For African American female adolescents to have viable options for future education and employment, the contexts of school and family must create a safe and supportive environment for them (Collins, 2000).
Read research findings from a qualitative study of eight African American mothers of successful high school daughters.
The U. S. Department of Education has adopted using data for school improvement as one of its major education reform priorities. However, as states, districts, and schools develop new approaches to track academic progress, both accessing and understanding data are often out of reach for average parents. While school leaders and teachers have begun to share and analyze student data, parents are too often left out of the conversation. This is unfortunate, because data use presents a great opportunity for parents to become involved in their children’s education with a focus squarely on student achievement.
In this brief, Christine Patton and Justina Wang, from Harvard Family Research Project, look at ways of helping to make the transition into kindergarten a positive experience that will serve as a foundation to help children reach their full potential throughout their school years. The brief highlights promising practices in six states—New Jersey, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Virginia, and California—where local- and state-level leadership support a variety of initiatives to ensure successful transitions into kindergarten. The authors examine effective collaborative approaches in which state departments of education, advocacy organizations, school districts, early education teachers, kindergarten teachers, families, and community members work together to help kindergartners enter school ready to begin this pivotal new phase of their lives
Although family engagement tends to decline as students enter adolescence it remains important at this stage of youth development, and is related to healthy behaviors and higher rates of college enrollment. This resource guide represents a sampling of research reports, best practices, and tools to guide you in conceptualizing and creating effective family engagement strategies for high school students.
This section of the Harvard Family Research Project website is a unique new source for information on using children's storybooks with family involvement themes to engage families in their children's education and encourage family–school–community partnerships, all while supporting literacy.
The Storybook Corner offers resources to help educators, families, and those who work with families promote the awareness, discussion, and practice of family involvement in children's education in a wide range of settings. Launched in partnership with Reading Is Fundamental, Storybook Corner provides a list of storybooks with family involvement themes and tools for using the storybooks, as well as our own original bilingual online storybook. The Storybook Corner is a part of the Family Involvement Storybook Project, a unique way to move research into practice