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Professional Development
part of the Education Reform Network
Professional Development logo

Family Involvement

Staff development that improves the learning of all students provides educators with knowledge and skills to involve families and other stakeholders appropriately.


Educators who wish to strengthen the bonds among individuals and organizations who contribute to the education and welfare of a community's youth must be knowledgeable about various ways in which families and community members can be involved meaningfully in the affairs of the school for the benefit of students. The following links support this standard:

  • Critical Issue: Establishing Collaboratives and Partnerships
    Overview of collaboration with external partners Provides links to model program and other resource. Audiotape available from experts in the field.
  • Attend to parents to improve student learning
    It is important for all educators to become familiar with the standards for parent-school relationships based on the work of Joyce Epstein. The six standards are communication, parenting, student learning, volunteering, school decision making and advocacy, and collaborating with community.
  • Community: Clear Connections
    One of the most important alliances a school can foster is a partnership with parents. Yet, despite consistent findings regarding the important role that parents can play in the educational process, both educators and parents continue to struggle to define exactly what that role should be.
  • Family Matters: Student Learning Improves When Families Get Involved
    Joyce Epstein, director of the Center for School, Family, and Community Partnerships at John Hopkins University, has identified six types of family involvement: parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making, and collaborating with the community. This article outlines five steps in a school improvement process that links family involvement efforts to improving student learning.
  • National Network of Partnership Schools: Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships
    Purpose of the Center is to conduct and disseminate research, development, and policy analyses that produce new and useful knowledge and practices that help families, educators, and members of communities work together to improve schools, strengthen families, and enhance student learning and development.
  • New Skills for New Schools: Preparing Teachers in Family Involvement
    1997 report on how to prepare teachers to work with families.
  • Pathways to School Improvement
    Comprehensive set of tools to help school leaders. Survey provided, scored and linked to critical issue topics.
  • The Parent Factor: Schools Embrace Parental Involvement
    This article focuses on ways to engage parents in understanding better what students are supposed to learn by helping to improve report cards and using curriculum nights as a time to learn more about curriculum.