Increasing & Sustaining Family Engagement - Challenge Map

Increasing & Sustaining Family Engagement

Increasing & Sustaining Family Engagement

The Challenge

Schools are looking to increase and sustain family engagement across the board, but particularly at the middle- and high-school levels. Many caregivers are busy or over-committed; they can’t make it to traditional events like PTA meetings or open houses. Districts understand this challenge and are seeking ways to help families stay connected with what is happening at their children’s schools. They strive to both ensure parents and caregivers are informed about key initiatives, and to actively gather family input. Districts are looking for ways to identify the critical issues families should be involved in, and inclusive ways to engage families as partners in finding solutions. Deepening the relationship between schools and families may also include finding ways to enhance the home learning environment.

Challenge Stats


Respondents reported their schools or districts have made progress on this challenge


Staff from suburban districts responded this challenge is widespread


Staff from rural districts responded this challenge is widespread


Staff from urban districts responded this challenge is widespread

In the Words of District Staff

We are trying to make sure we engage and meet the needs of all of our families and this is difficult to do remotely. We also are trying to feed many in our community.
District-level leader
Spring 2020

“Admittedly we can do a much better job of getting parents in for these programs. And sometimes I would argue that the parents that are coming to these programs, are not necessarily the parents or families that need the help as much as the families that don't come to the programs.”

“After school and evening doesn't always [work]... I have many parents who work nights, or third shifts. So, even for awards assemblies, there's never a good time for everyone to come in. So that's a huge challenge. A lot of my students go home to empty houses, go to daycare after school...because parents are trying to work.”


Family Engagement topic page - From Digital Promise, an introduction and key findings from the research on the outcomes of family engagement, and how schools can overcome barriers to implementation, including links to additional resources.

National Standards for Family-School Partnerships - From the National PTA, process for building successful partnerships, from raising awareness about the power of family and community involvement, to taking action to cultivate involvement through specific programs and practices, and celebrating success as your school sees increased involvement and its impact.

Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Interactive Framework - From Head Start, the interactive Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework connects users to research, resources, and regulations related to program foundations, program impact areas, family engagement outcomes, and child outcomes.

Engaging Families in Education - This brief from the National Conference of State Legislatures examines four potential policy options for engaging families in education: two-generation strategies, capacity-building systemic school practices, technology-supported strategies and home-visiting services.

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