My Best Posts, Articles & Interviews On Parent Engagement

I’ve written quite a few articles on parent engagement, and decided to bring them together in one list. You might also be interested in seeing all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.

Here are my picks for My Best Posts, Articles & Interviews On Parent Engagement:

Involvement or Engagement? is the title of my lead article in this month’s issue of ASCD Education Leadership.

I wrote Parent Involvement or Parent Engagement? for Learning First.

Jeez, What Was Ron Clark Thinking?

What’s really wrong with ‘parent trigger’ laws is the title of a piece I wrote for The Washington Post.

Teacher Home Visits Are Important, But The Post’s Jay Mathews Misses The Point

You can read my article in Teacher Magazine, What ‘Star Wars’ Can Teach Educators About Parent Engagement, without having to register first at this link.

Why paying parents to attend school events is wrong is a piece I wrote for The Washington Post.

The ‘Parent Trigger’ doesn’t help schools or parents is the headline of a piece at The Washington Post.

The national teacher organization “Teachers Count” published an interview with me that focuses on parent engagement issues.

Here We Go Again: Private Foundations Have A Place (And Have To Be Kept In Their Place)

Can The Brookings Institution Really Be That Clueless?

John Norton interviewed me for one of my favorite blogs (and I say that not just because of this interview :))
You might want to read Expert Advice about Parent Engagement: An Interview with Larry Ferlazzo.

Some Of These “Parent Academies” Just Don’t Get It….

I had a great and stimulating experience as a guest in an Ed Week chat on Engaging Parents. If you’re interested, you can read the chat transcript.

Teacher Magazine published an article I wrote about teachers making home visits to parents. It’s part of a series written by members of the Teacher Leaders Network. You have to register (for free) to read the entire article, but it’s a quick process.

Home Visits and Hope for the Future is a piece Carrie Rose and I co-wrote for ASCD Express.

Response: The Difference Between Parent “Involvement” & Parent “Engagement” is the last post in a three-part series on parent engagement I published in my Ed Week Teacher column. Links to the preview two posts in the series are included.

Here are two short pieces I wrote for Ed Week:

‘Back To The Future’ For Parent Engagement

Follow-Up: Parent Engagement vs. Parent Involvement

Chart: Useful Summary Of The Differences Between Parent Involvement & Parent Engagement

Q & A Collections: Parent Engagement In Schools is my newest post over at Education Week Teacher.

It brings all my posts on…parent engagement together in one place.

Here’s a newer four-part series on parent engagement I wrote for Ed Week.

The Difference Between Parent “Involvement” & Parent “Engagement”: Selected Tweets From #PTchat

I was a guest during #PTchat on Twitter discussing the difference between parent engagement and parent involvement (you can see the tweets here).

As a follow-up to that conversation, I was a guest on PTchat Radio, and you can listen to it here.

Q & A Collections: Parent Engagement In Schools brings together all my Ed Week posts related to parent engagement from the past three years.

I was recently interviewed by Val Brown on parent engagement.

It was part of the Center for Teaching Quality “microcredential series.”

If you find it useful or interesting, you can read and/or listen to other commentaries I’ve done on the topic.


Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

The Best Overviews Of Parent Engagement

There are lots of ideas out there about effective parent engagement/involvement. Here are a few resources that provide useful overviews of the field. You might also be interested in seeing all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.

Here are my choices for The Best Overviews Of Parent Engagement:

Involvement or Engagement? is the title of my lead article in an issue of ASCD Education Leadership.

I wrote Parent Involvement or Parent Engagement? for Learning First.

Solving the Parent Involvement Puzzle is an interview with Anne T. Henderson, who is probably the premiere researcher in the world on parent involvement/engagement issues.

Anne also provided testimony to the United States Senate in 2007 on Effective Strategies for Engaging Parents and Communities in Schools.

The national teacher organization “Teachers Count” published an interview with me that focuses on parent engagement issues.

“Title I and Parent Involvement: Lessons from the Past, Recommendations for the Future” is a new report written by Karen Mapp, one of the authors of the influential parent involvement book, Beyond The Bake Sale. It has a lot of useful information.

Building Local Leadership for Change: A National Scan of Parent Leadership Training Programs is the title of an important new report published by the Annenberg Institute For School Reform. Here’s a short summary from them:

The New York Senate recently authorized the City University of New York to create and operate a Parent Training Center for public school parents that will teach them to more effectively participate in school governance and support students’ educational success — reflecting a growing nationwide interest in parent leadership training.

In this report, Anne Henderson, senior consultant for community organizing and engagement work at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, describes four successful parent leadership training programs around the country, each with a different focus: leadership training, immigrant families, child learning support, and understanding and navigating the educational system. She then examines their structures, curricula, and best practices, and presents the findings of evaluations on their effectiveness.

In her analysis, Henderson offers up six key practices related to program success, as well as recommendations specific to New York City — strategies that can be used by cities and districts nationwide looking to implement similar initiatives.

Anne Henderson, the premiere researcher and writer on parent involvement/engagement issues in the United States, testified before a U.S. Senate hearing on the the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Senate has posted her testimony. It shares a great list of concrete public policy steps that can be taken to encourage parent engagement in schools.

Renee Moore has an excellent article in Teacher Magazine titled Reaping What We’ve Sown: How Schools Fail Low-Income Parents (free registration is required to access the whole piece, but it’s a quick and easy process). As John Norton accurately describes it, the article:

“…challenges those who question whether low-income parents as a group care about their children’s education. All too often, Renee writes, it’s not a lack of caring but a community-wide sense that inequities in the system that have been perpetuated for generations will not change.”

The Handbook on Family and Community Engagement is a new book that can be downloaded free. It’s been put together by Academic Development Institute and the Center on Innovation & Improvement and looks very impressive. You can read more about it here.

Family-School-Community Partnerships 2.0: Collaborative Strategies to Advance Student Learning is the lengthy name of an excellent report released by the National Education Association. It highlights sixteen family-school-community partnerships, including the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project. Here are important links:

You can access the entire report here.

Here’s an overview of the report.

And here’s some commentary on it from Learning First.

Beyond school councils: Engaging parents to help their children succeed at school is a very good report from an organization called People For Education. It’s located in Ontario, Canada.

“Let’s Read Them a Story! The Parent Factor In Education” is a new book from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The link will take you to a free PDF version of it. The book is pretty impressive — good statistics, great cartoons from The New Yorker, and excellent advice for how parents can help their students succeed academically. It’s a bit weak on advice for teachers, but I guess you can’t have everything.

Thanks to Sheila Stewart, I’ve learned about an excellent report on parent engagements issues from the Ontario Ministry of Education. Their Capacity Building Series: Parent Engagement is a must-read for those interested in parent engagement.

Q & A Collections: Parent Engagement In Schools is my newest post over at Education Week Teacher.

It brings all my posts on…parent engagement together in one place.

The Power Of Parents: Research underscores the impact of parent involvement in schools is a new accessible report from Ed Source (done in collaboration with New America Media.

It provides a well-written summary of a fair amount of parent involvement research, and is definitely one of the best overviews out there. It could have been THE best, but it was a little surprising to me that most of the research it cited (with a few exceptions) was ten years old or more. There have been a fair number of more recent studies (so many, in fact, that I have a lengthy collection to review for a chapter in an upcoming book), and their report could have been the best thing out there if they had incorporated more of them.

Nevertheless, it’s still an excellent piece of work.

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

The Best Reasons Why Parents Should Be Looked At As Allies & Not Targets Of Blame

“Blame” has certainly been a theme of many school reform discussions — including blaming teachers and blaming parents. Here are some commentaries on why no one, including teachers, should get sucked into that morass. You might also be interested in seeing all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.

Parents Are Our Allies is a post I wrote excerpting an article by Pedro Noguera.

Parents Aren’t to Blame for the Achievement Gap: A History of Injustice Is! is the titled of a piece in the Huffington Post written by a teacher. It a good perspective on look at the assets of parents, and the importance of not “blaming” them.

Teachers Have Got To Stop Blaming Parents is a post I wrote.

Next, let’s go after the parents! is a good post by my Sacramento colleague Alice Mercer about one of the ramifications of the ongoing school reform debates.

“Parents Agree – Better Assessments, Less High-Stakes Testing” is a post I wrote about a recent survey.

A Parent’s Advice to the Chicago Teachers Union was written by Diane Ravitch. She a comment left by a parent on her blog. Here’s part of the parent’s statement:

For every irate, blustering, nasty parent you’ve encountered, I guarantee you there are 2 or 3 or even 9 who feel differently. And a lot of them will have your back, stand with you, speak out for you, support you fully: but you have to approach them, one on one. You have to make the first move, reach out, and ASK their help.

Teachers and Parents: Natural Allies in Defending Our Schools is a useful post by Anthony Cody at Education Week.

Organized Parents, Organized Teachers was produced by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform as part of AISR’s ongoing efforts to support community organizing for better schools and collaborative, effective partnerships between community members, parents, and teachers.”

Building Parent-Teacher Unions is an important article about the extraordinary work going on in St. Paul Minnesota. Here’s how it starts:

On a Saturday afternoon in early March, some 60 people packed into a classroom at a technical high school north of Saint Paul, Minn., to discuss the strategic course of Saint Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) Local 28’s upcoming contract negotiations. The remarkable thing is that most of them were not card-carrying union members, or even teachers. They were students, parents and community activists concerned about their schools and the attack on public education.

During the session, one group focused on the needs of teachers by answering the simple, yet important, prompt, “If you had the best school in the world, what would teachers deserve?” The other focused on students and asked, “If you had the best school in the world, what would students look like?”

The answers from the two groups mirrored each other. They called for wages and working conditions that sustain a teaching career and long-term professional growth, smaller class sizes, a focus on interdisciplinary and experiential learning, an emphasis on teaching over testing, and time set aside to allow students to learn, process and grow.

The session reflects what SPFT President Mary Cathryn Ricker calls the “new model” of community involvement, “with teachers, and parents, at the center of advocating for their profession, as opposed to teachers standing on the sidelines.”

Trusting Teachers Is a Means to Authentic Parent Engagement is an interesting post by Kim Farris-Berg over at Education Week.

If you need another reason why parents should be looked at as allies and not targets of blame, check out:

Parents Add Heft to Bond, Tax-Measure Campaigns is an Education Week article worth reading.

Here’s an excerpt:

Though the specifics may differ from community to community, parents throughout the country are increasingly becoming advocates for bond and tax measures needed to fill budget holes and better the quality of schools.

Their outreach often goes beyond knocking on doors, posting on Facebook, and running ads on local TV stations: In Baltimore, for example, the nearly three-year campaign included a 3,000-person rally and weekly parent bus rides to lobby state legislators in Annapolis, the capital.

According to Michael Griffith, the senior policy analyst for the Denver-based Education Commission of the States, parents are vital in pushing local voters to pass both bond measures, which typically pay for lengthy infrastructure projects, and tax or levy measures, which pay for district operating expenses.

“While in most school districts these measures have to go through the school board or the district’s fiscal agent to be put before the community, it is the parents that have to rally to support the measure,” Mr. Griffith said. “Whether it be organizing a campaign or voting for the measure, parent involvement is crucial to getting these measures passed.”

Parent involvement at L.A. schools getting new look is an article looking at various ways parents are organizing around school issues.

It ends with an important quote from Charles Kerchner, “a professor at Claremont Graduate University who studies labor and education politics”:

“When there are disputes between unions and districts,” he said, “the side parents align with typically wins.”

It’s not like we really need more reasons Why Parents Should Be Looked At As Allies & Not Targets Of Blame, but here are two articles that make another reason clear:

Portland Public Schools parents rally for teachers as negotiations impasse continues (video)

Highland Park parents walk out of BOE meeting, host vigil in support of staff

Parents’ campaign leads to reforms at Cudahy elementary school is an article in the Los Angeles Time describing a successful effort by parents and teachers to replace an ineffective principal.

Here’s an excerpt:

United Teachers Los Angeles also worked with parents, organizing meetings to help plan strategies. Mario Andrade, the union’s representative at Teresa Hughes, said 25 of the school’s 40 teachers had signed a letter calling for a new principal. The departure last September of a popular kindergarten teacher who no longer wanted to work with Cortez-Covarrubias helped spark the unified effort by teachers and parents to work for change, he said.

Ingrid Villeda, the teachers union representative in the south area, said the Cudahy success offered lessons to union members to go beyond their insular concerns and work broadly with parents to improve their schools. She also said the efforts demonstrated that parent-led reform is possible without the controversial state parent trigger law, which allows parents to petition for changes at low-performing campuses but has been criticized for sowing discord and confusion.

St. Paul’s teacher talks have been a public affair is the headline of a Minnesota newspaper article that shows why the work of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, led by Mary Ricker, is a national model for parent engagement.

Here’s are some excerpts:

The St. Paul district and teachers union negotiating teams have huddled behind closed doors in increasingly tense contract talks.

But some of the most important conversations may have played out outside the bargaining room, where the two sides have curried public support and enlisted allies.

Long before raising the specter of an educator strike, the St. Paul Federation of Teachers launched an outreach effort with parents and ramped it up as talks grew more contentious. Now, a parent campaign is pressing school board members to yield ground on educators’ proposals…..

The St. Paul teachers union’s unprecedented outreach effort has gotten national attention.

The federation invited parents and residents to book readings and discussions before it presented its contract proposals nine months ago. Then, when the district brought in a state mediator and the talks moved behind closed doors, the union intensified efforts to keep its proposals in the spotlight.

Members knocked on doors. They produced videos featuring district nurses, counselors and social workers, whose ranks the federation wants to increase. The union made and distributed yard signs and launched an online signature drive.

When families attended the district’s annual school choice fair, teachers were there to greet them and pass out fliers in several languages. Educators also invited parents to join them when they rallied in front of schools last month in support of the union’s proposals.

That outreach seems to be paying off since union leadership this past Monday called for a strike vote.

Parents have started an “I stand with SPFT” Facebook page, which quickly drew more than 900 members, including some teachers. On it, parents have shared contact information for board members and district administrators. They have urged each other to turn out for a union rally at the Feb. 18 school board meeting and have aired various frustrations with the district and questioned its cost estimate for union proposals.

I’ve previously posted about why what’s happening in St. Paul, Minnesota is a national model of parent engagement.

Check out this latest article from the Pioneer Press, titled St. Paul parents hope to keep momentum after teachers contract deal, to learn why I say that…

Here’s how the article starts:

When a teachers strike loomed last month in the St. Paul Public Schools district, parents joined forces on Facebook, peppered the school board with emails and rallied in front of district headquarters.

When the district and teachers reached a contract agreement, union leaders credited parents. The superintendent called them “amazing.”

Now, some of those parents are asking: What’s next?

Protecting Classrooms From Corporate Takeover: What Families Can Learn from Teachers’ Unions is a good article in YES Magazine that was written by Amy Dean.

It’s gives a number of very good examples of teachers unions working with families and other community members.

I’m a little disappointed, however, with the headline — it would have been nice to communicate that it’s a two-way street — we can learn from families, too.

A New Teacher Union Movement is Rising is an article by Bob Peterson, head of the Milwaukee Teachers Union.

Here’s how he concludes the piece:

It is no longer sufficient to just critique and criticize those who are attempting to destroy public education. Teacher unions must unite with parents, students and the community to improve our schools—to demand social justice and democracy so that we have strong public schools, healthy communities, and a vibrant democracy.

I’ve written a lot about the tremendous parent engagement work of the St. Paul teachers union.

They’ve come out with a must-read report on their work titled Power Of Community.

What It Takes to Unite Teachers Unions and Communities of Color is an important article that appeared in The Nation.

Karen Lewis Talks Protests, Politics & Getting Back in the Mix is a great interview over at EdShyster’s blog.

Here’s an excerpt of Karen Lewis, from the Chicago Teachers Union, talking parents:

What I kept saying was that *we need to build alliances with our natural allies, who are the parents.* Once we start building alliances with parents, then we stop blaming each other. Right now the system has us blaming them for not doing their jobs and not preparing their kids for school, and has them blaming us for being lazy or not doing what we need to do. Building alliances makes a difference because you’re stronger, because people can’t just pick you off. I’ve always talked about trying to recreate the strength of the union by sharing it with other folks who lack power.

Feedback is welcome.

If you found post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

“The Best Research Available On Parent Engagement”

There is a substantial amount of research available on parent engagement/involvement, and I thought bringing together a few of the best resources would be useful. You can also see all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.

Here are my picks for The Best Research Available On Parent Engagement:

The Harvard Family Research Project has a wealth of resources.

I discovered a very good article in the “Middle School Journal” that’s about three years old. It’s titled “What Research Says: Varieties of Parent Involvement In Schooling” and was written by Vincent A. Anfara, Jr. & Steven B. Mertens. It gives a good overview of parent involvement research, but what makes this piece particularly unique is its discuss of historical patterns of family involvement in schools over the years.

Awhile back, I wrote a post about a very unusual study. The post, titled Parental Involvement Is Equal To Spending $1,000 More Per Student?, concluded:

“Parental effort is consistently associated with higher levels of achievement, and the magnitude of the effect of parental effort is substantial. We found that schools would need to increase per-pupil spending by more than $1,000 in order to achieve the same results that are gained with parental involvement.”

You can read more about it at that post. Even though it supports my position on the importance of parent engagement, I wrote that I was a little wary of quantifying it in that way.So I contacted Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post about it. She had invited readers to submit research that they had questions about, and she would have other experts review it. Well, she followed through immediately but, for some reason, I missed it then and just by chance discovered what she found. You can read everything she wrote about it here, but this is an excerpt:

The Washington Post’s expert pollster, Jon Cohen, looked at the research and gave it a nod.

He said the methodology is sound and that it is legitimate to estimate in dollar terms the value of parental help in the context of per-pupil school spending.

A belated thank you to Valerie. It seems to me that this research, and that fact that it’s been “validated” can be a very useful tool in encouraging parent involvement/engagement efforts.

The Flamboyan Foundation has developed a very accessible review of the most current parent engagement/involvement research. It includes some surprising info, particularly around issues related to homework. They’ve published it in two parts, and the great thing about it is that both are only two pages long!

The first is called Setting the Stage: The Parent Engagement Field.

The second is titled What Kinds Of Parent Engagement Are Most Effective?

The state of California has come up with a series of recommendations that are not very helpful, but includes a great summary of parent involvement/engagement research.

“Improving Parent Involvement in Secondary Schools through Communication Technology” is the title of a new journal article by Laura Bardroff Zieger from New Jersey University. Her thoughts on the possible uses of technology is interesting, but I think the real useful information is in a couple of sections where she provides good summaries and analyses of previous research on parent involvement/engagement.

Sarah Sparks at Education Week has published a very readable summary of new parent involvement research. Her post, Parents Need Differentiated School Engagement, Study Finds, explains that research has:

identified three main types of parents, each of which a school must address to have a successful family-involvement program:

• Help seekers: Roughly 19 percent of parents are most concerned with finding out their own children’s academic progress and learning how they can help their students improve.

• School helpers: This 27 percent of parents is the closest to the traditional picture of the “PTA mom and dad.”

• Potential transformers: Finally, 31 percent of parents said they were interested in and ready to be more involved in shaping how the schools operate.

The National Center For Family Literacy has announced the release of a treasure trove of research on family literacy.

Here’s their announcement:

We are pleased to announce the online publication of the 21st National Conference on Family Literacy Research Strand Conference Proceedings.This document is a collection of research papers from featured sessions presented at the NCFL conference in San Diego in March of this year.

This is the first time a published compendium of the presentations is available. This is possible in partnership with Goodling Institute at Penn State University.

Now more than ever, we must highlight and make accessible research on family literacy. These proceedings are another step in bringing family literacy, as a research-supported issue, to the forefront of policy, academic, and practice-based conversations.

In this publication, you will have the opportunity to explore many facets of the family literacy field as researchers address a range of pertinent topics. These proceedings papers were chosen because they are relevant and informative to teachers, administrators, and scholars.

We were encouraged by the success and feedback we received on the research strand presentations at the conference in March and hope that these proceedings will remind each of us of the work that is being done and continues to be done in the name of family literacy.

The compendium can be accessed on the Goodling Institute website by clicking here.

Anne Henderson, the well-known researcher on parent involvement, made a presentation to the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE) , and was gracious enough to her PowerPoint presentation.

She described her presentation as:

a short update on important new research, including a study from Great Britain that shows dramatic gains for special education students in schools where teachers and parents have collaborative conversations about learning, focused on skills that need to be strengthened. Information about this study is in the PPT…

What Roles Do Parent Involvement, Family Background, and Culture Play in Student Motivation? is from The Center On Education Policy, and, let me tell you, it’s a must-read for anyone interested in parent – and student – engagement.

Parental Involvement and Children’s School Achievement is a study from Canada that looked a parent involvement through a “lens” that I haven’s seen other research use — gender. Here’s a portion of their summary:

Fathers’ academic pressure was predictive of lower achievement, whereas mothers’ encouragement and sup-port predicted higher achievement. Both parents used more academic pressure with their sons, whereas using more encouragement and support with their daughters. The effects of parental involvement were mediated through children’s academic competence. This study demonstrates the interactive influences of parents’ educational involvement and children’s personal characteristics in predicting school achievement.

William H. Jeynes is a California professor who did some exceptional research on parent engagement in 2007 which I cited in my book, Building Parent Engagement In Schools.

He published this newer study I’m highlighting here a year ago and, for the life of me, I can’t believe I haven’t heard about it earlier. It’s titled A Meta-Analysis of the Efficacy of Different Types of Parental Involvement Programs for Urban Students and, like his earlier research, it’s not behind a paywall.

I feel this new study, as did his first one, includes some of the most valuable research on parent engagement that you’re going to find anywhere. It’s a meta-analysis of fifty-one other studies. It’s a typical academic paper but, if you’re interested in parent engagement, it’s definitely worth going through it.

Here’s an excerpt from his conclusions:

It is apparent that parental involvement initiatives that involve parents and their children reading together (i.e., engaging in “ reading”), parents checking their children’s homework, parents and teachers communicating with one another, and partnering with one another have a noteworthy relationship with academic outcomes. In addition, situation specific parental involvement efforts such as Head Start and ESL training for parents yielded effect sizes in the expected direction, albeit falling short of statistical significance.

Lesli Maxwell over at Education Week has written a good summary post, Immigrant Paradox Less Consistent in Young Children, Study Finds, about a new student related to English Language Learners. The study itself is lengthy, but has an interesting section on immigrant parents and schools. I was going to copy and paste that section because it’s pretty short, but it unfortunately is “protected” and won’t allow that action. So, just go to the study link and you’ll find the family involvement section on page 10 and 11. It’s worth a visit.

In my book on parent engagement and my more extended writing on the topic, I emphasize that one key difference between parent “involvement” and parent “engagement” is that we help parents develop their own sense of self-efficacy (confidence and competence) when we “engage.”

A new study reinforces its importance.

How Parents See Themselves May Affect Their Child’s Brain and Stress Level is an article summarizing the researchers conclusions.

Here’s an excerpt:

A mother’s perceived social status predicts her child’s brain development and stress indicators, finds a study at Boston Children’s Hospital. While previous studies going back to the 1950s have linked objective socioeconomic factors — such as parental income or education — to child health, achievement and brain function, the new study is the first to link brain function to maternal self-perception.

In the study, children whose mothers saw themselves as having a low social status were more likely to have increased cortisol levels, an indicator of stress, and less activation of their hippocampus, a structure in the brain responsible for long-term memory formation (required for learning) and reducing stress responses.

The PBS News Hour has done a segment titled Parents study up on how to improve college prospects for their children. I’ve embedded the video below, and you can also read the transcript at this link. In addition, they published a blog post about it. This “Parent College” sounds fine, though it does seem to have the same shortcomings of other parent academies that I’ve pointed out at My Best Posts On Parent “Academies” & “Universities.”

What I find most useful about the PBS report, though, was their discussing a recent study on parent engagement that was new to me. It’s called Does capital at home matter more than capital at school? Social capital effects on academic achievement.

“Five Stereotypes About Poor Families And Education” is a very useful excerpt from a new book by Paul Gorski that highlights some important research on parent engagement. It appears in Valerie Strauss’ blog at The Washington Post.

Here’s an excerpt:

There exist several common stereotypes about poor people in the U.S. that suggest that they are inattentive and, as a result, ineffective parents. Low-income parents or guardians who do not attend parent-teacher conferences can become targets of stereotyping—or worse, targets of blame—by those educators. According to Jervis (2006),

Judgments…can be self-reinforcing as ambiguous evidence is taken not only to be consistent with preexisting beliefs, but to confirm them. Logically, the latter is the case only when the evidence both fits with the belief and does not fit the competing ones. But people rarely probe the latter possibility as carefully as they should. (p. 651)

So, whereas a more well-to-do parent or guardian might be pardoned for missing structured opportunities for family involvement—she’s traveling for work—a low-income parent or guardian’s lack of this sort of involvement might be interpreted as additional evidence of disinterest in her or his child’s schooling (Pattereson, Hale, & Stessman, 2007).

I published a post titled The Importance Of Telling “Family Stories.” In it, I discussed an article that reviewed a number of studies that found value in parents telling their children about family stories.

The Washington Post wrote a more in-depth piece about one of those studies, and included a pretty useful “Do You Know” series of questions that teachers could easily give to students as an assignment. I love projects that require students asking their parents questions, and this one would be perfect.

Meta Analysis of the Studies of High Performing Family Literacy Programs comes from Toyota Family Literacy Program Research Project, and it looks pretty useful.

Here’s a description:

The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) announces the release of Toyota Family Literacy Program Research Project, a meta-analysis of high-performing family literacy programs in a variety of communities/cities across the U.S. NCFL invited seven cities that have shown exemplary development and implementation of Toyota Family Literacy Programs to participate in unique research projects. The research projects represent a culmination of data collected over the course of program implementation and identified positive outcomes related to the program itself, program participants, and program staff. The participating cities are located in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, and Florida.

Through the research projects, NCFL sought to identify positive outcomes for parents and children, as well as for teachers and other program staff, as a result of family literacy programs. Data collection ranged from scores on standardized assessments and surveys to focus groups, personal interviews, or document review.

The Power Of Parents: Research underscores the impact of parent involvement in schools is a new accessible report from Ed Source (done in collaboration with New America Media.

It provides a well-written summary of a fair amount of parent involvement research, and is definitely one of the best overviews out there. It could have been THE best, but it was a little surprising to me that most of the research it cited (with a few exceptions) was ten years old or more. There have been a fair number of more recent studies (so many, in fact, that I have a lengthy collection to review for a chapter in an upcoming book), and their report could have been the best thing out there if they had incorporated more of them.

Nevertheless, it’s still an excellent piece of work.

Parental engagement in learning and schooling: Lessons from research looks like a useful review of studies on the topic. It’s a report by the Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth for the Family-School and Community Partnerships Bureau.

Parental Involvement in Selected PISA Countries and Economies comes from OECD.

Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Homework is the title of an article in The Atlantic by Dana Goldstein. It describes research shared in a new book, The Broken Compass:Parental Involvement With Children’s Education by two professors which, at least according to Dana Goldstein, questions most the effectiveness of what most of us would typically consider parent involvement/engagement. Based on what The Atlantic article says, this new research apparently disproves most of what you’ll find shared in this post.I’m not convinced that everybody else is wrong and these professors are right, but I’ve just ordered the book to see for myself what they have found. I also recognized that a short article does not always provide the best summary of a full-length book. I’ll write a future post about my conclusions. (for more info, read “Questioning Parental Involvement”)

The National Center For Families Learning has just published a useful “Family Engagement Brief.”

I don’t think people familiar with parent engagement research will find anything new in it, but it provides a well-written and concise review of research on the topic, along with providing some case studies.

Analysis Offers Insights Into Tapping Parent Power to Increase Achievement is the headline of an Ed Week article that appears to do a very good job of dissecting a major new research study on parent involvement whose results seem to be all over the place.

I’m not going to even try to summarize it, but I was struck that one action researchers highlighted was the positive effect of providing interpreters and translated materials in urban schools.

The Strengths of Latina Mothers in Supporting Their Children’s Education: A Cultural Perspective is a new report from the Child Trends Hispanic Institute.

A new study has been released on the impact teacher/parent communication can impact students.

You can read a good summary of the study, titled ““The Underutilized Potential of Teacher-to-Parent Communication: Evidence from a Field Experiment” — here.

There were several interesting findings, including that fact the messages from the teacher to the parent that included specific suggestions of what their child could do to improve in school were effective in generating student improvement (as opposed to receiving just positive messages). Of course, that’s not a big surprise, but I thought it was particularly interesting that it didn’t result in more conversations between the parent and their child, but the same number with a different content. Those messages also resulted in a less positive teacher/student relationship.

To Help Language Skills of Children, a Study Finds, Text Their Parents With Tips is the headline of a New York Times article about a new study. It found that sending text messages to parents of very young children (like “Let your child hold the book. Ask what it is about. Follow the words with your finger as you read”) were more advanced academically than those whose parents did not receive them.

I thought that was interesting, particularly since another study that I’ve posted about in my other blog where adolescent students received encouraging texts was deemed a failure (I don’t have time right now to find that link but will add it later). Perhaps parents of very young children are in a more motivated frame of mind? I wonder how this experiment would work with parents of older children?

The Harvard Family Research Project has created what they call Family Involvement Bibliographies.

Here’s how they describe it:

Family engagement strategies are changing to respond to innovations in education and technology, concerns about equity and opportunity, and expectations about school readiness. Research continues to provide us with new insights and a solid base for innovation as well as continuity.

We are pleased to share the latest research that can inform policy, professional development, and practice. These new additions to our Family Involvement Bibliographies series include a wide range of research studies published in 2012 and 2013 on such topics as:

Children’s media use in America
Parent and teacher support among Latino immigrant youth
Transition to school
Family-school connectedness and children’s early social development
Preservice teachers’ multicultural teaching concerns and knowledge of parent involvement.

Parental involvement still essential in secondary school is the headline of a report on a new study examining parent involvement in the education of older children.

To no secondary teacher’s surprise, researchers found it was important…

Even though it doesn’t demonstrate anything earthshaking, I’m still adding it to this list because I don’t think there are many parent involvement studies focused on that age group.

Testing May Discourage Parent Involvement, Study Finds is the headline of an article in Heartland.

Here’s an excerpt:

Saying there was little research about how extensive testing in education impacted parental attitudes toward education, Jesse Rhodes studied the issue in early 2012.

Rhodes, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, found parents in states with more extensive assessment systems had more negative attitudes about education and were less likely to become engaged in their children’s learning.

Concerns about parenting in poorer families ‘misplaced’ is the headline of an article in The Telegraph.

Here’s an excerpt:

Common perceptions that poorer mothers and fathers are likely to be less involved in their children’s lives are unfounded, according to research.

A new study argues that less well-off parents are just as likely to help with homework, play games and read with their children as those from wealthier backgrounds.

The Maine Education Policy Research Institute has just published what appears to me to be a very useful study on parent engagement.

A summary of it can be found here, and the entire report can be viewed here.

I’ve only had a chance to scan it, but it looks helpful. One section that stood out to me was on student homework projects requiring family involvement. I don’t recall seeing previous research on that topic.

Parents’ belief that a child will attend college plays big role in early academic success is the title of a Science Daily article about a new study. It’s not going to be surprising to anyone, but is interesting nonetheless.

Here’s how it begins:

Numerous studies have shown that socioeconomic factors play a major role in students’ success in kindergarten. Children whose parents are more educated and have better jobs and higher incomes tend to have stronger math and reading skills than their peers.

Now, a study by researchers from UCLA and the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that the factors influencing children’s readiness for kindergarten include not only whether they attend preschool, but also their families’ behaviors, attitudes and values — and that parents’ expectations go a long way toward predicting children’s success throughout their schooling.

Online Chat (& Good Research Links) About Parent Engagement

The role of parents in young people’s education—a critical review of the causal evidence is the title of a new study.

Here’s the abstract:

There is currently a considerable body of research suggesting that parental involvement is linked to young people’s attainment at school. It is also generally agreed that a number of factors such as parental background, attention, warmth and parenting style are associated with children’s later life outcomes. However, although widely assumed on the basis of these associations, the nature of this causal link has not yet been established.

This paper summarises what would be needed to demonstrate that enhanced parental involvement produced better attainment and other outcomes, based on establishing an association, the correct sequence of events, sensitivity to intervention and an explanatory mechanism. It then reports on the findings of a systematic review of available and relevant studies, based on this approach. The search for evidence on the impact of attitudes, expectations and behaviour on attainment yielded 1,008 distinct reports. Of these, 77 were directly about the impact of parental involvement. These confirm that parental involvement and attainment are linked, and in the correct sequence for a causal model. There are several plausible mechanisms to explain why parental involvement might have an impact. And most crucially and unlike all other areas linking attitudes and behaviour to attainment, there is promising evidence that intervening to improve parental involvement could be effective.

To Help Language-Learners, Extend Aid to Their Families Too, New Study Argues is an important post from Ed Week’s Learning The Language blog.

Here’s how it begins:

A new report from the Center for American Progress makes the case that communities looking to improve education for school-aged English-language learners should also offer services to their parents.

The study, “The Case for a Two-Generation Approach for Educating English Language Learners,” finds that limited English skills for parents and students “can create a poverty trap for families” and argues that engaging them simultaneously improves the academic and educational well-being of both generations.

New Study Shows The Obvious – Regular Communication With Parents Helps Students

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

The Best Resources On Parent/Teacher Conferences

As regular readers know, I’ve been “curating” resources I’ve posted about over the past three years. You can see all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources On Parent/Teacher Conferences:

Don’t Treat Parent-Teacher Conferences ‘Like Trips to the Dentist’ is the headline of one of my Education Week Teacher columns.

Successful Student-Led School Conferences is from Middleweb.

Parent–Teacher Conference Tip Sheets (Hojas de Consejos Para Las Reuniones de Padres y Maestros) are two hand-outs — one in English and one in Spanish — that “are designed to support educators and families in conducting productive, successful parent-teacher conferences.” They’re from the Harvard Family Research Project.

Education Research Report provides a pretty interesting summary of a study done analyzing what actually happens in parent-teacher conferences. Check-out “In Parent-Teacher Conferences, It’s Often Not About the Student.”

Student-Led Conferences: A Growing Trend comes from Education World.

Acing Parent-Teacher Conferences is the headline of an article in The Wall Street Journal. There’s nothing particularly new or insightful there, but it does some decent advice. It seems to be an unusual article to find in the mainstream media.

Student-Led Conferences is a post by Peter DeWitt at Ed Week.

Why Parent Teacher Conferences Matter is a useful post from a middle school principal, Mr. Bernia.

Student-Led Parent Conferences: How They Work in My Primary Classroom is a nice post by teacher Kathy Cassidy.

Seven Ideas for Meaningful Parent-Teacher Conferences is an excellent post by Nancy Flanagan over at Education Week Teacher.

How to hold an effective conference with parents of ELLs is by Judie Haynes. This is how she begins:

Do you feel unsure of how to hold productive conferences with the parents of your ELLs? Sharpen your communication skills by reading these tips.

It’s Show Time is a post by Jessica Lahey where she offers some excellent advice to teachers about parent conferences.

Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferencing is a good post by Elena Aguilar over at Edutopia.

Here’s how she ends it:

Don’t underestimate the power of the positive, and lead with it. Be specific in the positive data you — tell an anecdote or show a piece of work. Make sure you truly feel this positivity — we can all sniff out empty praise. There is always, always something positive and praise-worthy about every single child. It’s your job to find it and that data with parents.

Matt Davis at Edutopia has published a nice post titled Five Resources for Parent-Teacher Conferences.

How To Do Student-Led Conferences is a good post by Pernille Ripp how to organize student-led conferences with parents and teachers.

Sligo Creek Elementary moves to group meetings for parent-teacher conferences is the headline of a newspaper article about an interesting twist on on family involvement.

Here’s an excerpt:

Parent-teacher conferences at Sligo Creek Elementary School in Silver Spring are taking on a new format.

Rather than teachers meeting with individual parents and families, the conferences are moving to a group setting starting this November

How to Get the Most Out of a Parent-Teacher Conference is a useful post over at Mind Shift.

Rethinking Parent-Teacher Conferences is the subject of The New York Times feature “Room For Debate.”

It includes responses from eight educators — my favorite being Jose Luis Vilson.

Teachers switching format of parent conferences is an article in St. Louis Today sharing how teachers in one school began moving their parent-teacher conferences into student-led ones.

Principal Connection / Tips for Better Parent-Teacher Conferences is a nice article by Thomas R. Hoerr in ASCD Educational Leadership.

Here’s an excerpt:

Too often, parent-teacher conferences are seen as one-way reports from teacher to parent, but a parent-teacher conference should be a collaboration. Teachers have information to share, but they also need to allocate time for questions and discussion. We all need to work to be good listeners (I sure do), and this can be difficult for people who are used to speaking to students from a position of authority. No matter how valuable our words, if we talk so much that parents can only listen, we’re missing a chance to work together and serve our students better.

Two recent posts by parents at other blogs both made the point that they are tired of having the focus of their conversations on measuring their children by numbers.

In What parents don’t want to hear at parent-teacher conferences, Journo Adviser says:

When my wife and I sat down at our daughter’s 5th grade parent-teacher conference last week, we hoped to get a sense that the teacher understood our daughter and her strengths and weaknesses. But we didn’t.

Instead, the teacher provided us with a litany of numbers and test results the school and the education-testing industry use to define our daughter and her education.

And, in EduSanity: The No Number Parent-Teacher Conference Challenge, Jason Endacott begins this way:

I met with my sons’ teachers yesterday for parent teacher conferences. Both of their teachers are amazing in their own unique ways, but they share a common love for young people that long ago convinced me that my boys were in good hands.

I started with Cooper’s second grade teacher and after exchanging the usual pleasantries, we sat down at the little table where my adult knees didn’t quite fit and I told her I wanted to issue a friendly challenge.

“Let’s discuss Cooper’s progress in your class without using a single number that you did not generate.”

NPR offered two separate shows on Rethinking A Fall Classic: The Parent-Teacher Conference.

Three Tips to Focus Parent-Teacher Conferences On Creating a Partnership is a useful post from MindShift.

Why Students Should Take the Lead in Parent-Teacher Conferences is from MindShift.

Supporting Ongoing, Constructive, and Meaningful Conversations About Student’s Progress is from The Harvard Family Research Project.

Parent Night: Declaring Students’ Independence is from Middleweb (not exactly on conferences, but close enough).

Five Ideas to Improve Parent Conferences is a great post over at MiddleWeb.

Conference Time: Chatting with Parents is a useful post appearing at Edutopia.

How parents can maximize their time with the teacher is a short and simple article from the Las Vegas Sun. It offers some decent advice.

Successful Parent/Teacher Conferences is by Keith Howell.

3 Ideas For More Meaningful 5 Minute Parent/Teacher Conferences is by Pernille Ripp.

Pernille Ripp has an excellent collection of resources on student-led conferences.

Edudemic has published a useful piece titled A Guide to Student-Led Conferences.

Here’s how it begins:

Parent-teacher conferences provide parents with updates on their child’s progress and opportunities to see their student’s work. They also open communication between school and home. However, students often are passive, or even absent, during traditional parent-teacher conferences. One way to fix this is to put students at the helm, as they are the ones who are responsible for their work and progress.

Student-Led iConferences is a useful and very practical post by Monica Evon.

Here’s how it begins:

By this time of year, parents have a clear understanding of how their child is doing academically as well as socially. Students need the opportunity to show their parents what they are have been learning in the classroom. Each child needs the opportunity to take a leadership role and teach his/her parent. My fourth graders prepared, organized and led the conference with their parents. Since my students are the experts, they were proud and excited to share their accomplishments. Our district has had student-led conferences for as long as I remember, but this was the first time I truly took the backseat.

How to Hold Effective Conferences With Families of ELs is a very useful post by Judie Haynes over at TESOL’s blog.

Parent Teacher Conferences: Something’s Got to Give is the title of a post at Peter DeWitt’s blog in Ed Week.

Here’s an excerpt:

How many of us have sat through pointless or less-than-informational parent-teacher conferences? It often goes a little something like this: Mom asks, “How is Jeff doing in your class? I see he earned a “C,” and I want to know why.” Jeff sits silently, afraid the teacher will “spill-it” about what he has been up to in class. The teacher responds, “Sometimes Jeff does his work and is on-task, but other times he struggles to focus and talks too much. He loves to get the class going and cuts-up too much. I also have a problem with Jeff turning in his work.”

….What if we asked Jeff to articulate and provide proof his own learning? What if he prepared evidence of his learning to show himself, his teacher, and his parents what he had achieved through his own effort? What if we put him at the center of the conference and the learning?

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled here and at my main blog.

The Worst Parent Engagement Ideas

I’ve posted a lot about good parent engagement/involvement ideas, but sometimes you can learn just as much from looking at bad examples. You can see lots of good ideas at all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.

Here are my choices for The Worst Parent Engagement Ideas:

Putting Parents in Charge is a condescending NY Times column on parent engagement that was written by Peg Tyre. Among other things, she talks about how parents aren’t “sophisticated” enough to truly know what a good school is because often times they will pick ones with “low academic achievement” — and that’s usually a code phrase for low test scores. Excuse me — perhaps many parents know that there is far more to getting a good education than being able to do well on a multiple choice standardized test! She calls for “substantive training programs” for parents so they can make choices about what “works best in schools.” I wonder who will make that determination? How much you wanna’ bet that not many teachers would be invited into that process? And it doesn’t look like many parents would be, either….

Family Engagement: Four Great Ways to Get Involved is a report on the Department of Education’s blog about a family engagement forum they recently hosted. If the blog post is an accurate indication of what occurred, then it’s a sad commentary about the level of the Department’s sophistication and leadership on topic — just bland obvious recommendations.

Are Parents Making The Grade?is a good post by Tara Zrinski challenging the perspective that punishing parents will enhance parent engagement in schools.

I’ve written several posts about the unhelpful idea being pushed in Florida to have teachers grade parents. Happily, it doesn’t look like its making any kind of substantial progress. Here’s a news report giving an update and a Florida newspaper’s editorial against it.

“Teachers at an East Harlem elementary school are bizarrely forbidden from communicating with parents without first getting a supervisor’s permission and from calling parents outside of normal school hours, the teachers handbook says.” Read more about the bizarre rules discouraging parent engagement in article at The New York Post.

NPR reports about it in a story titled In Hartford, Parents Don’t Always Pick Best Schools. School District officials just can’t believe that parents might use a different standard to judge their schools other than the arbitrary method of standardized test scores (maybe they need to read The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven”). Because parents don’t “understand” that test scores are the only true basis on which they should judge a school, the district believe that they need to initiate a campaign “to get more information out to parents because, the theory goes, good information makes for better school choices.” They’ve even hired an advertising consultant to help them do it. After all, what do parents like Myesha Simpson know:

“I love the school because I love the teachers, I love the way they teach, I love they way they solve their problems, I love the way they handle things,” Simpson says…She says that more information from the district might change the choices some parents make, but it won’t change hers.

No, instead of trying to learn from parents, hubris and a condescending attitude is the way to really connect with families….

The New York Times reports about the Office of Family Engagement:

In January, at a meeting of parent coordinators from a number of schools, employees of the office asked them to forge relationships with parents who they thought might speak out in support of the department’s policies, including its controversial push to close failing schools. The employees at one point used a nickname to describe the type of parents they were looking for: “Happy Harrys,” and not “Angry Sallys,” as two coordinators recalled it.

And on Tuesday, an employee at the office circulated a petition among nearly 400 coordinators citywide, asking them to round up parents’ signatures. The petition was in support of one of the mayor’s most concerted political efforts of the year: to persuade the Legislature to end the law protecting the most senior teachers in the event of layoffs.

You can read more about at Gotham Schools.

Of course, why should District staff spend their time asking parents for ideas, connecting them with other parents, and helping teachers and families work together to help students? Instead, let’s develop our political agenda, organize parent against parent and parent against teacher. That is what parent engagement is all about, isn’t it?

I’ve posted about a Florida legislator’s proposal to have teachers grade parents. I’ve also written about a Michigan prosecutors plan to jail parents who didn’t attend parent-teacher conferences. An Indiana legislator wants parents to perform community service if their child misbehaves in school, apparently targeting instances of bullying. I’ll admit that punishment can sometimes be effective for some people in some circumstances. But, as most teachers know. punishment generally just teaches the perpetrator to be more careful about being caught the next time. On top of that piece of common sense, punishing parents is just a simplistic approach to a complex problem. How about if, instead of lashing out at parents, we encourage schools, and provide them the resources they need, to put more energy into genuine parent engagement, including providing supportive family services?

Why paying parents to attend school events is wrong is a piece I wrote for The Washington Post.

In my book, I emphasize the importance of two-way conversation as opposed to the typical one-way communication schools use with parents — calls home to inform parents about problems with their children, notices given to students to carry home, “connect-ed” automated phone calls. Check-out Pearls Before Swine comic strip to get an idea about how NOT to define a conversation.

The ‘Parent Trigger’ doesn’t help schools or parents is the headline of a piece at The Washington Post.

An elementary school in Delaware was criticized for having separate meetings for parents from different ethnic groups (see Delaware schools: Race-based approach snarls plan for parental involvement). I’m sure it was a well-intentioned effort to help engage parents, but I think it sends the wrong message. Parents from different ethnic groups might have some different concerns (for example, ELL parents are probably more concerned about services for ELL students than native speaker parents), but schools can also play a key role in helping parents connect with each other about common concerns and build relationships with each other. I could easily see some natural small group divisions that might tend to divide along ethnic lines when it comes to working on specific issues, but, as in effective community organizing, it comes from a united larger group where relationships have been built and done in the context of “dealmaking” (I’ll support you and you support me).

I support the idea of high school ethnic studies classes that are designed to help students see that the greatest racial equality efforts have come when different groups have worked together, and which have regular joint projects between those different classes. I think those are a bit different, though, because in those cases students are a “captive audience” and teachers can ensure that message and those activities happen.
In parent involvement programs, it’s all voluntary, and schools need to work hard to make sure that divisions are not made worse in everything they do.

Parent Revolution, the charter school affiliated group behind the faulty and ill-conceived “parent trigger” mechanism in California the facilitates charter school takeovers of schools, has produced an awful video to publicize “trigger.” It begins with :

Our schools are failing because they are not designed to succeed. They are designed to serve the needs of special interests and bureaucrats — not children. The only way to change that is to give power to the only people who only care about children — parents.

Now, that’s what I call a positive message communicating the kind of cooperation we need to help our schools. Let’s start off with stomping on schools, then stomping on teachers and teachers unions (the “special interests”), and then let’s further increase the barrier by not acknowledging that most teachers are parents, too. And let’s not even mention the “special interest” of the charter school operator Parent Revolution works with. The video goes on to not offer even a sliver of possibility of parents working with teachers and schools to improve them. It’s amazing how much self-righteousness and hypocrisy can be combined into a four-and-a-half minute video.

One Delaware School District wants to use a portion of their Race To The Top monies to pay parents to come to certain school events. Very bad idea. New York City Mayor Bloomberg closed down an effort that including paying parents to do the same thing. New York City had started a heralded, and expensive, conditional cash transfer program heavily focused on school-related objectives. The program announced the results of an evaluation of the program in and it didn’t work, particularly for the school-related goals. It doesn’t work to bribe students, and it won’t work to bribe parents. How is the district going to handle it when some parents get the money and others do not? How about using that money to hire someone to work with parents to see if they want to develop a parent-directed Parent University. Or maybe use it to bring in the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project and use those resources to provide stipends so teachers can out to visit parents.

How a fifth-grader spent his summer vacation on worksheets is the title of a post from Gotham Schools. It describes a school giving students a book billed as a “parent involvement resource” to complete over the summer. It’s basically a collection of mind-numbingly dull worksheets. As a commenter on the blog suggests, why couldn’t the school just give the kid cash equivalent to the cost of the book so he could buy some books he wants to read?

With the on-going effort to force parents to be involved with schools or face punitive action, it’s interesting to read about an attempt two years ago in Washington, D.C. to require TANF (welfare) recipients to attend PTA and parent-teacher meetings. Susie Cambria writes:

Welfare and education advocates alike educated the CM [Council Member] about the real reasons for poor parent engagement (including the failure of schools to make attempts to engage parents) and convinced him there was a better way to achieve the policy and practice goal.

Here’s another bad idea to promote parent engagement in schools — a Michigan prosecutor wants to make it illegal for a parent to miss a scheduled parent-teacher conference. As I wrote in my post about an equally ill-conceived plan to make parent involvement mandatory in a San Jose school District (see “School to Parents: Volunteer or Else!”):

Why not make something mandatory… instead of putting energy into building trusting and reciprocal relationships with parents; learning their concerns, visions for themselves, and visions for their children; helping families find the energy and capacity within themselves to want to act; and then working together to do something?

In a “Hall of Fame” worthy example of how NOT to encourage parent involvement/engagement, the Charlotte Observer reports that a school secretary was fired for continuing to translate for parents who couldn’t speak English after a new principal banned her from doing so. The school in question is 42% Latino, and its motto is “Academy of Cultural and Academic Diversity.” The secretary, Ana Ligia Mateo, complained to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which ruled in June that there is “reasonable cause” to believe her civil rights were violated. She is now suing the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

The South Carolina Lt. Governor made some ridiculous comments about denying low-income parents government aid if they don’t attend PTA meetings. He went on to compare poor people to “stray animals” that will breed if they are fed. Here’s a thoughtful response to those comments that appeared in a South Carolina newspaper yesterday. It’s titled Bauer’s comments reflect our own misconceptions.

Mary Ann Zehr, who previously wrote for Education Week had a post titled A 5th Grader Is a Translator at School. Is That a Good Thing? It describes an Oklahoma newspaper article about how wonderful it is that a local school is using a Spanish-speaking fifth-grader to translate to parents. Mary Ann asked for reactions.Here’s the comment I left:

Mary Ann,

is terrible! Not only is the school using a student to get out of putting the appropriate resources into having the ability to communicate with parents, it’s putting both the child and the parents in an embarrassing and potentially damaging situation. It forces children to act much older than they actually are. The New York Times ran a story on issue:

URBAN TACTICS; Translating for Parents Means Growing Up Fast


I could understand it if there were just one or two parents who spoke a particular language (for example, one year we had a student and family who only spoke Swahili). But SPANISH? In a state that has over eleven percent of its students being Latino?

“Idaho schools tie merit pay to parent involvement” is a post I wrote about an incredibly idiotic plan. You can read more about it here.

Parent Involvement is Smart. Don’t Turn it Into Something Stupid is a post by NEA leader Lily Eskelsen. It’s about Idaho’s plan to tie teacher pay to the number of parents who show up to school meetings.

In yet another bizarre and punitive effort to force increased parent involvement, a Washington, D.C. City Council Chairman has announced plans to introduce legislation that would cut-off TANF benefits to parents who didn’t attend parent/teacher conferences and PTA meetings.

What An Awful & Misleading Video About Our Schools

“Twice a year, they’re going to publish in the local newspaper the list of parents or guardian who for whatever reason did not participate in the parent conference,” said Long.

That quote comes from an article about how one Louisiana school district is using a state law that allows them to act against parents who don’t participate in their child’s school. Yup, that’s a great idea. We all know how well shame works with our students, so let’s apply it to their parents. It will certainly build a great school community — NOT!

Tennessee state senator: Reduce welfare payments to families if children don’t do well in school is the headline in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It begins:

A Tennessee state senator has come up with what I believe is a first: Republican State Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville proposes to cut welfare benefits to parents whose children don’t make “satisfactory academic progress” in school.

Campfield believes that his bill would compel parents to work harder to ensure their kids excel in school. As you might imagine, his Senate Bill 1312 is triggering a lot of comment.

Here’s a Daily Show segment on his bill:

It appears that the School District in Austin, Texas laid-off all their parent engagement staff based in individual schools and then created a Central Office based department.

How did that work out for them?

Apparently, not very well.

Read all about it at A Failure To Communicate.

Even though Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had shown a brief glimmer of understanding about parent engagement at one point last year, it appears he has reverted to previous cluelessness.

In a rant blaming parents
for student learning difficulties, he states his newest idea:

Emanuel wants to tie after-school program enrollment to parents picking up report cards.

“You know, you vote, you get a sticker. We’ll give you a sticker when you pick up your kids’ report card, and then you can enroll them in after school [programs],” he said.

Yes, there are parents who have lots of issues. But, you know, not letting their kids enter an after-school program if they don’t pick up their report card is probably not going to help….

The Mayor is doing something that’s worse than the equivalent of calling into talk radio: Calling in might make you feel good and feel like you’re doing something, but it’s not making a bit of difference. But in the mayor’s case, what he’s wants to do is likely to make things even worse….

Come On, Now – Schools Giving “Stamps” For Each Parent Involvement Activity?

Diane Ravitch features a Tennessee parent in blog post reporting that her school parents group was told that instead of raising $20,000 for iPads, they had to raise that money to buy computers so students could use them to take the new Common Core standardized tests. Certainly, there might be pedagogical reasons why it might make sense to purchase computers instead of iPads — those might very well be worth discussing. However, asking parents to specifically raise money to support standardized testing has got to be added to list.

Here’s the latest addition to list, courtesy of NPR:

The Philadelphia school system was forced to cut millions of dollars from its budget, lay off hundreds of employees and shutter nearly two dozen schools to help close a billion dollar shortfall. Some principals are asking parents to “contribute” as much as $600 per student to help pay for basic supplies and the school superintendent threatened to delay the start of classes month until the city kicked in $50 million to cover the minimum level of staffing.

Utah Republican State Senator Aaron Osmond has introduced a bill that would make a new law:

students who fail to achieve academic proficiency would be required to participate in remediation, the cost of which would be charged in full or in part to their parents.

Here’s the response from a member of the State School Board:

“I think it’s better if we can find ways to engage parents in schools in positive ways and encourage these parent-teacher partnerships and not have to legislate what parents will do and what they will pay for if they don’t do it,” she said. “It can just come across, I think, as punitive or heavy-handed if you’re not careful.”

/15/916c9406-5dc5-11e3-be07-006c776266ed_story.html?wprss=rss_Copy%20of%20local-alexandria-social&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter”>Prince George’s schools charge PTAs that use buildings is an article in The Washington Post.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

The John Hanson Montessori Parent Teacher Student Association has offered after-school dance and chess lessons for years, believing that the enrichment programs help engage Prince George’s County students. The group charges a small fee to pay the course instructors, and until now had been using space at the school for free.

Or so the PTSA thought. Nicole Nelson, the PTSA’s vice president, said she recently received a bill from the school district asking for $2,502.70 in rental fees. Nelson believed it had to be a mistake, as the PTSA has barely $1,500 in its treasury, money it plans to use to honor teachers and to celebrate graduates….

Lawrence said he understands charging a PTA to use a facility on a weekend, when no custodial staff is on duty. But he does not think it makes sense to bill a volunteer parent group for after-school activities while custodial staff is still on duty.

A couple in the United Kingdom was given a substantial fine for taking their two children out of school for a one week vacation.

If you read the BBC article, it certainly doesn’t sound like justice was served.

Listen, I’m a teacher. It doesn’t make my job easier when parents take their kids to Mexico for a few weeks during the holidays, or when students miss school for a trip. But, come on, we live in the real world, and I understand that not everyone has the privilege of having vacation when I do. I also recognize that there are educational benefits for the kids in these trips.

As the father in the article says:

“The people who make these laws and policies don’t live in the real world.”

The Cobb County School Board is considering a member’s suggestion that if a parent doesn’t attend a teacher conference, then the parent could be banned from attending their child’s graduation.

Here’s a news report on the proposal:


You may have already heard about what happened in Salt Lake City recently — the parents of a number of students owed money on their children’s lunch account and, because of that, after those students were served lunch it was taken away and thrown in the garbage.

You can read about it in these articles:

Utah School Draws Ire For Taking Kids’ Lunches; Debt Cited is from NPR.

Utah school district apologizes for seizing kids’ lunches for unpaid bills is from NBC.

If parents don’t qualify for the free or reduced lunch program, of course schools should hold them responsible for paying. But, come on, this move does not make for a parent (or student) friendly environment. There are far more relational ways to work with parents on this issue.

It’s possible that the principal at this school might not have had many engagement parents. Now, there definitely will be, and I think they’ll be after his scalp (figuratively, of course).

I think this next school needs to rethink how they relate to parents:

Parents reprimanded for taking children out of school for family funeral is the headline of an article in the British newspaper, The Telegraph.

Here’s how it begins:

Two parents have received a written warning after their children missed school to attend their grandfather’s funeral.

Andrew and Danielle Overend-Hogg were told that their children, aged nine, five and three, had taken an unauthorised absence.

The letter also threatened that any repeat of the absence could lead to Teagan,nine, Isla, five and Elsie-Mae, three could lose their places at Sheffield’s Handsworth Ballifield Primary School.

The Director of Ofsted (which I think is close to the equivalent of the U.S. Department of Education in the United States — correct me if I’m wrong) in Britain wants to give head teachers (principals) the right to fine “bad parents.”

What is a bad parent, you might ask:

Wilshaw, Ofsted’s chief inspector, said in an interview with the Times that heads needed to demand more from parents, saying: “If parents didn’t come into school, didn’t come to parents’ evening, didn’t read with their children, didn’t ensure they did their homework, I would tell them they were bad parents.

“I think headteachers should have the power to fine them. It’s sending the message that you are responsible for your children no matter how poor you are.”

You can read more about it at The Guardian , The Telegraph, and at The BBC.

Charter school parents warned that late pick-ups could mean child-welfare report is the headline of an article in Chalkbeat: New York.

Here’s how the article begins:

A charter elementary school on the Lower East Side is telling families they will be reported to the city’s child-welfare agency if they make a habit of not picking up their child on time.

A Virginia court has ruled that parents cannot be charged with a crime if their kids come to school late.

Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post article, Va. Supreme Court: Parents can’t be charged when kids are late to school:

The court’s decision stemmed from a 2012 case in Loudoun County in which Maureen Blake, a divorced mother of three, was convicted of three misdemeanor charges for her children’s lateness and fined $1,000 for each count. Millette wrote in his decision that each charge was based on five instances in which the children, then ages 8, 10 and 11, were late, generally by about five to 20 minutes.

Blake stated that some of the tardiness was attributable to one child’s struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral problems on the part of the children or Blake’s own ADHD, for which she was receiving treatment.

What a dumb prosecution of a dumb law. Jeez, if our schools took to court every parent whose kids were five to twenty minutes late five times a year, we’d have a zillion court cases. More importantly, it would likely mean instead of their being late, they just wouldn’t come to school that day at all. Plus, it will really generate a lot of positive feelings among parents — NOT!

Even thought it’s been thrown-out, I’m still adding it to this list.

Detroit Parents Missed a School Meeting But Their 3rd Grader Is the One Who Might Be Punished For It is the headline of this news article (and video).

Here’s how it begins:

Parents of third graders at Coleman A. Young Elementary School in Michigan were recently asked to attend a mandatory parent meeting — during the workday — which addressed the importance of state testing.

Twenty-four parents were able to attend, but the children of parents who didn’t were threatened with suspension if their parents did not show up at a make-up meeting scheduled the following week.

Feedback is welcome.

If you found post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

The Best Examples Of Parent Engagement Through Community Organizing

I was a community organizer for nineteen years prior to becoming a high school teacher, so obviously have a strong interest in how organizing can related to schools.

You can also see all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.

Here are my choices for The Best Examples Of Parent Engagement Through Community Organizing:

What Can Community Organizing Teach Us about Parent Engagement? Five Simple Ways to Rethink the Bake Sale is a long title for a useful short article from the Annenberg Institute For School Reform.

Check-out How a neighborhood organization is bringing parents and schools together so the whole community benefits.

Schools can learn from program that puts parents in classrooms is the headline of a Chicago Tribute article on a unique parent engagement program sponsored by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, and on a new book about it.

Community Organizing for Stronger Schools:Strategies and Successes by Kavitha Mediratta, Seema Shah, and Sara McAlister has just been published. One of the chapters in my parent engagement book focuses on community organizing in Texas and quotes from the research the authors had done previously. You can read the introduction to the book at the link, too.

“The California Educator,” published by the California Teachers Association, has an article about The Algebra Project and how it’s being used to engage parents in Sacramento.The Algebra Project was begun nationally by civil rights pioneer Robert Moses.The article highlights how it was begun in partnership with a local community organizing group, the Sacramento Valley Organizing Community (SVOC). I was SVOC’s first Lead Organizer eighteen years ago.

Last week I posted about a new research article titled “Beyond the Bake Sale: A Community-Based Relational Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools.” You can read more about it on that post, but, at the time, the article was only available if you paid for it. Now, however, you can read it for free.

Community organizing is one of the four parent engagement strategies we outline in our book. A recent study by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform highlights its benefits for students, families,and schools. You can read more about the study here. You can also view a presentation about it here.

One of the chapters in our book highlights the work of the Industrial Areas Foundation in developing Alliance Schools in Texas. The IAF, as far as I can tell, were the first to begin talking about the difference between parent involvement and engagement almost twenty years ago.

If you’re interested in learning more about them, you can access a draft version of a paper describing theAlliance Schools and its philosophy here.

The Industrial Areas Foundation began making the distinction between parent “involvement” and parent “engagement” during its community organizing efforts in schools during the 1990′s, and Professor Dennis Shirley wrote about it in his 1997 book Community Organizing For Urban School Reform. Even though a chapter in our book focuses on the IAF’s work (I was an IAF organizer for the majority of my nineteen year organizing career), I’d encourage people to read Professor Shirley’s book. After he published that book, he wrote another in-depth study on the work of just one IAF organization in Texas — Valley Interfaith And School Reform: Organizing for Power in South Texas . If you go to that link, you can see the table of contents and read the introduction. I’d encourage you to do so.

Bruno Manno’s “Straw Mom” Argument is the rather odd headline of a good article on parent engagement and community organizing. It’s from the Annenberg Institute on School Reform.

“A Match On Dry Grass” is the title of a book and conference on community organizing and schools.You can see read descriptions of the different sites and methods discussed in the book here, as well as learning more about the conference.

Getting Started in Education Organizing: Resources and Strategies is a report published by Annenberg Institute for School Reform.

Why I Work With Parents, Not in the Classroom, to Reform Our Schools provides an interesting take on community organizing, parents and schools (unfortunately, there’s no commentary in it on how to work as allies with teachers).

Here’s an excerpt:

Unlike the Bloomberg administration, organizers work from the belief that the people who are directly affected by a problem are the best qualified to identify its solution. Every day, I work with smart, savvy parents who have taught me more about the root causes of inequality in New York City public school system than I could have ever learned in the classroom. Working alongside parents has also helped me develop an understanding of “choice” that is much more complex than reformers (and their opponents) would have you believe.

“Community Engagement: The Secret Ingredient”

LA groups model of community engagement is a good article from Ed Source about two groups in Los Angeles who appear to be doing some good parent engagement (and student engagement) organizing. I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t heard of either of them before.

Here’s an excerpt:

What sets InnerCity Struggle and Community Coalition, a similar organization in South Los Angeles, apart is that they organize both parents and youth and focus on ongoing education issues, said Peter Rivera, senior education program officer for the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles.

“They are not one-cause oriented,” he said. “They have a model of engagement you typically don’t see in districts.”

Unlike other groups that push for change, the two organizations have “street credibility that has been developed and cultivated over time,” said Steve Zimmer, an L.A. Unified school board member.

“They have deep respect for the young people they work with,” Zimmer added. “That’s why they’ve been effective. When I choose to embrace a policy they bring to me, I know it’s got some real strong roots. When I choose to challenge a policy in any way, I don’t do it lightly.”

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

The Best Posts & Articles For Learning About Newark’s $100 Million From Facebook

Last year, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced a $100 million contribution to Newark schools, and made a public commitment to parent and community engagement. I’ve written a lot since that time about how that second part hasn’t worked out real well.

It’s great that they recognized the importance of speaking to parents. However but just sending out canvassers who have no relationship with the people they’re visiting and knocking on doors without making an appointment is the worst form of what is often called “slash and burn” community organizing. It can provide the illusion of two-way “conversation” but, in fact, just be a form of one-way “communication.” It can allow those who are organizing it to say they are just doing what the people want done, without really involving anyone other than the parents who agree with them. It is not the way any effective organizer would go about building long-term engagement.

However, it is an excellent way to provide the illusion of community buy-in if you already have a set plan you are going to implement, which is appears to be exactly the case.

Here are my choices for The Best Posts & Articles For Learning About Newark’s $100 Million From Facebook:

Yesterday, the Non-Profit Quarterly published Newark Parents Pushed Out of Decision Making on Zuckerberg Donation.

“Mayor Booker’s reform plan was presented fully formed, without involving parents” is a parent quote from NPR’s story, Fight Ensues Over Facebook Money for N.J. Schools.

USA Today published Newark school woes transcend money.

One of the consequences of poorly done efforts like Newark’s and the parent trigger strategy is that it begins to pit parent against parent.Check out Meeting about Newark superintendent search turns into shouting match over charter schools.

Since the donation announcement, I shared my skepticism about the extremely expensive (and, in my opinion, useless) effort undertaken in Newark to go door-to-door to ask residents what they think should be done about the schools. It was paid for by part of the $100 million donation by Facebook’s founder. New Jersey newspapers reported that — surprise, surprise — the school district already had a plan in place they were, and are, going to implement. And it doesn’t look pretty. Read: Broken promises: Newark school plan kept many in the dark.

A New Jersey newspaper subsequently reported more on the plan, which includes a massive expansion of charter schools. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“In an ideal world, you would want results of the community engagement process to drive the reform proposal, not the other way around,” said Paul Tractenberg, a law professor at Rutgers-Newark who is helping to conduct the community survey, due out in late March. “This report has formed a cloud over how all of this will play out.”

Dana Goldstein offers some good perspectives on Newark’s community outreach effort in her post, $1 Million Survey on Newark Public School Reform Proves Inconclusive.

Here’s how a Newark newspaper described the outreach project, “The effort has produced a mountain of survey answers so vague and simplistic that they are of little or no use” which is okay because it was just “meant to generate excitement in the city.”

PENewark outreach to reform Newark schools is a waste of time, money, critics say is another local newspaper article describing the outreach process used. Shockingly to me, Frederick Hess (with whom I don’t ordinarily agree), articulate my perspective exactly:

“Once he’s banged on every door and heard a litany of complaints, I’m not sure how that will position him to better transform the Newark schools,” Hess said of Booker. “If they want the community and parents engaged in an improvement process, asking people to fill out a questionnaire on their doorsteps isn’t the way to do it. This feels more like the census than community organizing.”

There’s a big new article in The New Yorker about the donation but, if you don’t have time to read it, Salon has a very useful summary.

How Zuckerberg’s $100 Million for Newark Schools Actually Turned Out appeared in Non-Profit Quarterly.

Wow! New Book On Newark Schools Sounds Amazing

Quote Of The Day: A Lesson From Newark

PBS NewsHour Video: The School Mess In Newark

The $100 million question: Did Newark’s school reforms work? New study finds big declines, then progress is by Matt Barnum.

In Newark, a study about school changes rings true — and raises questions — for people who lived them is from Chalkbeat.

Bruce Baker has compiled an important analysis of a recent study about Mark Zuckerberg’s big donation to Newark schools.

Cory Booker’s massive overhaul of the Newark schools, explained is from Vox.

Mark Zuckerberg wanted to help Newark schools. Newarkers say they weren’t heard. is from Vox.

Feedback is welcome.

You can see all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to my main blog for free, or subscribe to this one for free.

You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

The Best Sources Of Parent Engagement Advice For Teachers

I’ve posted many resources providing parent engagement for teachers, and thought I’d bring them all together in a “The Best….” list. The resources listed here provide practical advice to teachers. You can see all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.

Here are my picks for The Best Sources Of Parent Engagement Advice For Teachers:

You can read my article in Teacher Magazine, What ‘Star Wars’ Can Teach Educators About Parent Engagement, without having to register first at this link.

Maybe This Is Why Attacking Teachers Is So Popular…And Why It’s So Important To Speak Positively About Our Students is the title of a post I’ve written at my other blog.

Parent Teacher Conference Dos and Don’ts offers some very helpful advice to teachers. It’s from New York State United Teachers.

Parent Communication: TO vs WITH is another excellent post about parent engagement from Chris Wejr.

How to Reach Out to Parents of ELLs is an article from Colorin Colorado that offers some useful advice.

Communicating With Parents is a nice column by teacher by teacher Gail Tillery.

“Meet The Parents” is a nice blog post by teacher Jason Renshaw offering some practical advice for teachers trying to connect to parents.

Making a Strong Home-School Connection by Being Culturally Responsive is from ASCD, and lists twelve helpful hints for educators.

Building Positive Relationships with Parents in School-Age Programs is a short article that offers some good basic advice.

I’m a big advocate of teachers and administrators call parents when kids are doing well — not just when there’s a problem. You can read a post I’ve written titled “Mr. Ferlazzo, I Need My Post-It, Too” to give you one example of the enormous impact a call like that can have on a family. Another great example can be found in Chris Wejr’s post over at Connected Principals. It’s titled Power of Positivity: The Friday 5. He tells about an effort that he and his vice principal make to call five parents each Friday with positive news. He includes a wonderful “transcript” of one.

How Parent-Friendly is Your Campus? is a useful post in Ed Week by Stephanie Sandifer. In the broader scheme of genuine parent engagement, I think there are far more important things that schools should be putting their energy into — like home visits and helping parents respond to neighborhood problems that affect both them and the school. However, many of the suggestions made in the post are pretty easy to do and can help parents feel welcome.

Parent–Teacher Conference Tip Sheets (Hojas de Consejos Para Las Reuniones de Padres y Maestros) are two hand-outs — one in English and one in Spanish — that “are designed to support educators and families in conducting productive, successful parent-teacher conferences.” They’re from the Harvard Family Research Project.

Teaching Secrets: The Parent Meet and Greet is the title of a useful article for teachers as Back-To-School Night approaches. It appeared in Teacher Magazine, and is written by one of my very talented colleagues in the Teacher Leaders Network, Marsha Ratzel.

Kenneth J. Bernstein has written a great column in Education Week titled “Teaching Secrets: Phoning Home.” At the beginning of each year, he calls the parents of all of his students.

The Alliance For A Better Community, a Los Angeles community organization, has published Engaging Parents in Pico-Union: A Manual for Educators by Educators. It’s a downloadable PDF of ideas that teachers in that L.A. neighborhood offered on how they engage/involve parents.

Edutopia has published a free downloadable “Home-to-School Connections Guide.”

Parents Shouldn’t Have to Talk Educationalese is a useful post from Peter DeWitt at Education Week.

“We need to make sure we use words that will build relationships not walls” is the last line of a post titled Hey, That’s My Kid You’re Talking About! It provides some good advice on how teachers speak with parents.

Building Trust With Parents is another excellent post by Chris Wejr.

Ideas to Increase Parent Communication in Schools is a very useful blog post by Eric Sheninger.

Parent Meetings: Bypassing the Dance of Blame is an excellent article by my Teacher Leaders Network colleague Dave Orphal.

Class Dismissed! Parent Communication Tips for ….. Younger Teachers is a very good article by Roxanna Elden, one of the best writers around.

I was the guest at #PTchat on Twitter to discuss the topic “Partnering With ESL/ELL Families.” The chat has been archived at Storify here, and contains a fair amount of useful information.

Words Of Wisdom That Teachers & Administrators Might Want To Keep In Mind

Engaging English Language Learner Families

Another Reason Why We Need To Be Careful How We Speak To Parents About Their Children
is a lengthy post I wrote about some recent research. If you’ve every called home about a student who was having a problem in class, I’d encourage you to read it.

“Four Ways to Increase Parental Efficacy” is from The Family Linkages Project.

It’s short, to the point, and helpful. It’s suggestions include:

Promote successful personal experiences for family members.

Help family members learn from others and each other.

Always offer encouragement,

Focus on emotional well-being and stress reduction.

The Power of the Positive Phone Call Home is a new blog post at Edutopia by one of my favorite bloggers, Elena Aguilar.

4 Ways We Can Connect With Parents is a very, very useful post from George Couros. It’s a definite “must read.”

Heidi Hass Gable has written a useful blog post containing advice to teachers about parent engagement. Here are two of her recommendations:

4) Listen to parents and listen to what they DON’T say. They may not articulate their concerns very well because fears and insecurities cloud their words/thinking. But whenever a parent is something with you, look for the underlying concern or question. Look for the unspoken. Read between the lines. But don’t assume – revert to asking questions again, if needed!

5) Be curious and open to new ways of thinking. Parents have a different experience and different point of view from the other teachers you spend most of your time with. They will see things differently, and that may be beneficial! Even when you think they “don’t understand” so would have nothing to add…

The Dicey Parent-Teacher Duet is another nice article in The New York Times by Sara Mosle.

Here’s how it begins:

The teacher-parent relationship is a lot like an arranged marriage. Neither side gets a lot of say in the match. Both parties, however, great responsibility for a child, which can lead to a deeply rewarding partnership or the kind of conflict found in some joint-custody arrangements.

Rethinking Difficult Parents is a nice post from Edutopia about a challenge that most teachers have to face during their careers. It offers some helpful advice.

Building Parent-Teacher Partnerships is a resource page from the American Federation of Teachers, and has some helpful info.

How To Connect With Families is a useful article in the summer issue of ASCD Educational Leadership. It’s by well-known parent engagement research Anne Henderson and Melissa Whipple. It includes some excellent suggestions.

Twenty Tips for Developing Positive Relationships with Parents is an older Edutopia blog post from Elena Aguilar which I just discovered. It’s a good one.

When a new school year starts, sending a letter home is a typical teacher activity.

Here are a few resources offering ideas for what to put in letters educators can send home to parents to start the year:

Joe Mazza has a Google Doc full of ideas.

Dear Parents… The Message I Send Home Prior To the First Day is from Matt Gomez.

9 Suggestions for the Welcome Back to School letter from the Principal is from Jonathan Martin.

My Beginning of the Year Parent Questionnaire is from Pernille Ripp.

What Message Are We Sending In Our First Contact With Parents? is a great post by Principal Chris Wejr.

Here’s an excerpt:

Although ongoing communication WITH parents/families helps the school, the students, and the families… it is also important that at this time of year, we work hard to lay the foundation and make that first communication with families a positive one. It is also a great opportunity to our story of who we are as teachers and to find out who our students are as children. Let’s our stories and listen to the stories of our families. Let’s work together as parents and educators to make that first meeting or phone call a positive, effective one.

Q & A Collections: Parent Engagement In Schools is my newest post over at Education Week Teacher.

It brings all my posts on…parent engagement together in one place.

5 Tips for Engaging Parent Volunteers in the Classroom is a useful post from Edutopia.

The Dos and Don’ts of Back-to-School Night is a good post with wise advice for teachers from Abner Oakes.

Here are just two of his points:

1. Don’t ask us to fill out a handout that asks questions such as, “Is there anything that you’d like to with me about your child?” Are we supposed to be listening to the teacher during the short time that we’re in the classroom or filling out this sheet? If a teacher really wants this info, send it home with us, so that we can do a thoughtful job.

2. As one parent said to me about these kinds of evenings, “I want to leave excited about the learning that’s happening, not about the mechanics.” And so don’t spend time talking about grading policy. That’s no doubt somewhere on the school’s or teacher’s website. When teachers spend time on this topic and not on an excited-about-learning topic, a clear message is sent to us: Grades are more important than the teaching and learning.

12 Conversation Starters on What Parents Want You (Teachers) to Know is a useful post by Joe Mazza at Edutopia. It’s sort of a companion to the USA article where several of us what teachers wanted parents to know.

Refining the Weekly Class Newsletter is an article at Choice Literacy about how one teacher and class used a…newsletter as a parent involvement tool.

Good Teachers Embrace Their Students’ Cultural Background is an article from The Atlantic.

Here’s an excerpt:

Culturally responsive teaching doesn’t mean lowering standards, Irvine says. Take dialect, for example. Teachers need to help students speak and write in Standard English, but they’ll be more successful in that effort if they begin by respecting the way a student and his family speak at home.

Creating a link between home and school can enrich all kinds of lessons. Teachers can ask their students to interview their communities and condense the information into a letter to the mayor. Parents can be invited into the classroom to talk about their work. Students can be asked to think critically about articles and texts, exploring them for signs of cultural bias.

How to Guide Parents in Homework Help is an article at ASCD Educational Leadership by Cathy Vatterott, who knows more about homework research than just about anyone.

It offers some excellent and practical advice.

Parents and Relationships is the title of a very good post by Steve Vessey, Superintendent of the Beaver Dam Unified School District.

8 Tips for Reaching Out to Parents is a very good list of suggestions by educator David Cutler that has been published by Edutopia.

Here is one of his suggestions:

6. Call Home to Report Good News

Parents rarely receive a positive call home. Twice a semester, I make a point to call and tell them how impressed I am with something their student did or said. It surprises me when parents nervously answer the phone, as if a student did something wrong. They are all the more relieved and proud when I have just good news to report. These calls let parents know that I care as much about recognizing success and improvement as I do about spotting struggle and weakness. These calls also reassure parents that I’m not out to make life more difficult for their child, that I’m fair in my assessments and feedback, and that I genuinely want to see students succeed.

19 Proven Tips for Getting Parents Involved at School is a useful slideshow created by Edutopia.

Spike Cook has written a nice blog post reflecting on Todd Whitaker’s article, Dealing With Difficult Parents.

Engaging And Communicating With Parents: A Teacher Guide looks like a great five-part Education Week Teacher series organized by the Center For Teaching Quality.

“Here Are Text Messages We’re Sending Home To ELL Students & Parents – Share Your Ideas”

How to Be an Effective Ally to Parents is from Edudemic, and offers some very good suggestions for how teachers can engage well with parents.

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

The Best Resources For Learning About Teacher Home Visits

I’m a big proponent of teachers making home visits, and I wrote a chapter about it in my book on parent engagement. I work closely with the Parent-Teacher Home Visit Project, which happens to be based in Sacramento.

I thought it might be useful if I brought together some of the related resources I’ve posted about over the past year.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning About Teacher Home Visits:

Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project is the title of an interview I did with Carrie Rose, the director of the Project.

Home Visits and Hope for the Future is a short article Carrie and I co-authored for ASCD.

Teacher Home Visits Are Important, But The Post’s Jay Mathews Misses The Point is a post I wrote.

I wrote about home visits for Teacher Magazine (free registration is required to access the entire article).

Starting At Home is a blog post written by Claus von Zastrow at the Public School Insights blog. It’s a commentary on my article in Teacher Magazine about teachers making home visits.

“Teachers increasingly use home visits to connect with students’ families” is a lengthy article that appeared in The Washington Post.

Before the First School Bell, Teachers in Bronx Make House Calls is a lengthy New York Times article — with an accompanying slideshow — about a school making summer home visits.

“Teachers make summer house calls” is the headline of an article in an Omaha newspaper.

Teachers, families making connections at kids’ homes is the headline of an article in the Denver Post. It tells about a home visiting program being done by parents with assistance from the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project.

The movie “Dangerous Minds” is engaging, but it’s one in a long line of nauseatingly paternalistic hero teacher films out there. However, it does have a great two minute clip of a teacher home visit that shows the importance of telling parents positive news about their children. It’s embedded below (unfortunately, it has been removed from YouTube by Disney):

There’s No Place Like Home…Visits is the title of an article in the National Education Association’s “NEA ” publication.

St. Paul teachers visit students’ homes in search of common ground is the headline of a good article in a Twin Cities newspaper.

More Districts Sending Teachers Into Students’ Homes is the title of a lengthy article in Education Week giving a national overview of parent teacher home visits.

The Parent Teacher Home Visit Project was recently invited to Flint, Michigan to talk about their work. The local television station produced short news clip:


Making New Promises in Indian Country is an article from The Atlantic about teachers making home visits on a reservation.

Home Visits Yield Hope and Cooperation is from the NEA Priority Schools Campaign, and is a very good story on teachers making home visits with help from the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project.

Teachers To Visit Homes Of 7,000 Students — In One Day!

Teacher’s Union Convention Considers Support For Making Home Visits

Here’s a video Mai Xi Lee, one of our school’s Vice-Principals, made about our school’s home visiting project and Parent University. For what it’s worth, that’s me speaking after the text introduction….

D.C. Public Schools Reinvent The Home Visit is an article — with audio — from a radio station on a school’s program to make home visits to families.Here is how it begins:

In the past, interaction with parents was almost always one-way: teachers telling parents what they should know. Often the meeting was about bake sales, report cards or discipline.

Kristin Ehrgood is the founder of the Flamboyan Foundation, which is working with teachers in 20 D.C. schools. She says she envisioned a two-way exchange where teachers learn from parents. “What are your hopes and dreams for your child? What do I need to do so I can be a great teacher for your child? That in and of itself changes the dynamic radically.”

St. Paul teachers build parent engagement, trust through home visits is a great local newspaper article about teachers making home visits to parents.

Here’s an excerpt:

Since the project’s beginning with just eight trained teachers, to now with more than 250, the St. Paul Federation of Teachers has been instrumental in ensuring the program’s run. Though in addition to their assistance, trainers still go over guidelines and “nonnegotiables” with interested staff. Teacher-home visits are voluntary. If a teacher does decide to participate in the program, they must go with another teacher to both ensure safety and to be a second point of contact for families. Teachers are also required to attend training and after the visit, their experience. And again, they must be compensated for work done outside of the classroom.

year Faber says he’s encouraged teachers to recognize the importance of diversity. He says parents and the neighborhood take note when visits seem targeted at one type of family, or student.

“Then it starts to become not about building relationships, rather the community gets the notion that is about fixing them,” Faber said.

Making College Readiness Home Visits

Home visits help Sacramento families see college path is an extensive article in the Sacramento Bee that features the staff and families at our school.

District officials turn to home visits to boost schools is a lengthy article in The Washington Post about teachers making home visits.

Here’s an excerpt:

Hundreds of D.C. teachers will spend weekends and evenings fall visiting students and their parents at home, hoping to lift academic achievement by creating stronger partnerships between families and the schools. The push to visit students on their own turf is a shift for the District’s school system, which often has been accused of alienating the families it serves. Now, the aim is to help teachers and parents become allies instead of adversaries in the day-to-day work of educating the city’s children.

One of the few good things that have come out of year’s NBC Education Nation is a short segment on the work of the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project.

Here’s the video (you can find the video and transcript here):

Home Visits for Relationships, Relevance, and Results is a thoughtful article in ASCD Educational Leadership. It’s by Julia Zigarelli , Rebecca Nilsen , Trise Moore , and Margery Ginsberg.

Teachers find home visits help in the classroom is a good article from the Associated Press.

Here’s an excerpt:

“We’ve figured out a way for people to sit down outside the regular school and have the most important conversation that needs to happen,” said Carrie Rose, executive director of the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project in the California capital.

The K-12 program began in 1999 as a faith-based community effort but quickly found support not only in the Sacramento school district but also with local teachers unions. The National Education Association has also endorsed teacher home visits, citing a “critical mass of research evidence” connecting high student achievement with involved parents.

No longer do parents only hear from teachers when there’s a problem, or during brief school conferences that leave little time to go beyond the surface.

Students won’t learn? Go visit their parents. is the terrible headline of a decent article in The Washington Post about teachers visiting families.

As the article points out, the purpose of the visits is to build positive relationships with families, not to punish students.

Teachers make house calls to improve performance is a nice article in Cabinet Report that give an overview of making home visits (plus, it describes what’s happening at our school!).

These Teachers Visit Every Student Before School Starts is a nice Ed Week article, including a number of links, about an annual home-visiting program by teachers in Kentucky.

You can read more about it here.

the Family is a good article form Teaching Tolerance about teachers making home visits.

Here’s an excerpt:

The social, emotional and academic benefits of home visits are well documented and widely acknowledged. But although the number of teachers doing home visits across the country is steadily growing, the consistency with which these visits are conducted varies greatly, a fact that limits the scope of their impact. More administrators, however, are taking note of the importance of home visits and grappling with the scalability challenge: How can a school or district launch and maintain a successful home-visit program that benefits all students?

All in the Family: How Teacher Home Visits Can Lead to School Transformation is an excellent article in NEA Today.

Here’s an excerpt:

This isn’t “parent involvement,” in the form of Valentine’s Day parties, or “parent communication,” in the form of one-way emails. Rather, this is about identifying parents and teachers as “co-educators,” who share respective knowledge about that student. It’s about helping teachers become culturally aware and parents seriously involved in their child’s education.


Feedback is welcome.

If you found post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

My Best Posts On Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2011 (So Far)

I usually just do a year-end list on parent engagement posts and many other topics, but it gets a little crazy having to review all of my zillion posts at once. So, to make it easier for me — and perhaps, to make it a little more useful to readers — I’m going to start publishing mid-year lists, too. These won’t be ranked, unlike my year-end “The Best…” lists, and just because a post appears on a mid-year list doesn’t guarantee it will be included in an end-of-the-year one. But, at least, I won’t have to review all my year’s posts in December…

You might also be interested in:

My Best Posts On Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2010

My Best Posts & Articles About Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2009

In addition, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog.

Here are my choices for My Best Posts On Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2011 (So Far):

Does The New York City Dept. Of Ed Have Any Clue What They’re Doing In Parent Engagement?

Southern States Targeting Immigrant Children

“Power of home visits and caring stressed to teachers”

“Complain at school and get a knock on the door”

What Do Students Think About Parent Involvement?

New York City Mayor Insults Parents — Again

“Involvement or Engagement?”

“Teachers’ visits to students’ homes can make big difference”

“Districts Use Web Polls to Survey Parents on Hot Topics”

Good Middle School Journal Article On Parent Involvement

Now It’s Hartford’s Turn To Show How NOT To Do Parent Involvement

Now It’s New York City’s Turn To Show Us How NOT To Do Parent Engagement

Again, Let’s Not Blame Parents

“Must-Read” Parent Tool Kit

More On Star Wars & Parent Engagement

Newark’s Outreach Effort Appears To Have Been A Sham

The Best Resources For Learning Why The Parent Trigger Isn’t Good For Parents, Kids Or Schools

Rahm Emanuel’s “Transactional” Perspective On Parent Involvement/Engagement

Why It’s So Important To Speak Positively To Parents About Their Kids

What Is With All These Proposed Punitive Measures Against Parents?

Parent Trigger Supporters Attack PTA, Compare Schools To Batterers

Feedback is always welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to explore the 700 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

My Best Posts On Parent Engagement Over The Past Six Months — April, 2010

Over the past two years, I have posted:

My Best Posts On Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2010

My Best Posts On Parent Engagement Over The Past Six Months

My Best Posts & Articles About Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2009

My Best Posts On Parent Engagement So Far This Year

It’s been six months since I shared my latest “picks” from my Engaging Parents In School blog, which I began when my book, Building Parent Engagement In Schools, was published.

So, here are my choices for The Best Posts On Parent Engagement Over The Past Six Months (not listed in any order of preference):

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to explore the 660 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

The Best Resources For Learning Why The Parent Trigger Isn’t Good For Parents, Kids Or Schools

As regular readers know, I have very serious concerns about the so-called “parent trigger.” This California law (which may be spreading to other states) allows 51% of parents whose children attend a “low-performing” school ( or parents who will have children attending that school in the future), to sign a petition and have major changes made — closing it down completely, replacing the principal and extending the school plus other changes, replacing the principal and firing 50% of the teachers, or converting it into a charter school.

I thought I’d put together a “The Best…” list of related resources today, especially since the California State Board of Education is reviewing potential regulations this week on how to implement the law.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning Why The Parent Trigger Isn’t Good For Parents, Kids Or Schools (not in order of preference):

I’m going to start off with my Washington Post piece titled “The ‘Parent Trigger’ doesn’t help schools or parents.”

What’s really wrong with ‘parent trigger’ laws is the title of my newest piece in The Washington Post.

And I’m going to follow it up with another post I wrote headlined If It Quacks Like A Duck — Thoughts On The “Parent Trigger”

Seeking Something Better Than the Trigger by David B. Cohen may be the best piece written so far on the topic.

Amina writes on California’s Trigger law: is a thoughtful piece from Justice Matters.

Strengthen and straighten out state’s parent empowerment process is from the President of the California State PTA.

The Los Angeles Times has a surprisingly good editorial titled A better ‘parent trigger’

State faces a moving target in implementing ‘parent trigger’ law is the title of an article in today’s Los Angeles Times. It offers good information and analysis.

Parent Empowerment or Parent Manipulation? by Martha Infante is a blog post at InterACT, the blog of Accomplished California Teachers.

Emily Alpert, a San Diego reporter on education issues (whose articles I like a lot), has written a good, short article on the parent trigger.

Parent Trigger Supporters Attack PTA, Compare Schools To Batterers is the title of another post I’ve written.

Parent ‘Trigger’ Law Draws Attention, Controversy is the headline of a new article in Education Week. It provides a good overview of what’s going on in California, as well as describing which other states are considering implementing similar laws.

Schwarzenegger’s misleading account of ‘parent trigger’ is the title of a Valerie Strauss piece in The Washington Post. The comments are pretty interesting, too.

I Think These Critiques Of Parent Trigger Laws Are Missing The Point…

Trigger Laws: Does Signing a Petition Give Parents a Voice? is an excellent article in the most recent issue of Rethinking Schools.

The Trouble With the Parent Trigger is by Diane Ravitch.

Parent Trigger R.I.P is a post I wrote about its lack of success.

Additional suggestions are welcome.

You might also want to explore the over 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

My Best Posts On Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2010

I thought readers might find it useful if I brought together my choices for The Best Posts On Building Parent Engagement In Schools during this past year.

You might also be interested in last year’s edition:

My Best Posts & Articles About Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2009

Here they are (not in any order of preference):

Teachers Have Got To Stop Blaming Parents

What A Terrible Video About Parents & Schools With A Terrible Message

Unusual — And Important — Parent Engagement Study Validated

Obama’s Blueprint For Reform Is Very Weak On Parent Engagement/Involvement

My Book On Parent Engagement Is Now Available On The Kindle

Can The Brookings Institution Really Be That Clueless?

Parent Engagement Interview

How NOT To Communicate With Parents

Latest Assessment Results From Family Literacy Project

Will Somebody Tell Secretary Duncan’s Staff That There Are “Regular” Public Schools Engaging Parents, Too?

New Article On Making Home Visits

Wow! What A Study On School Leadership…

Parent Engagement Interview

Great Teacher Home Visit Video Clip

Private Foundations Have a Place (& Have To Be Kept In Their Place)

Why Paying Parents To Attend School Events Is Wrong

Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project

Facebook Money Used To Talk To Parents — Uh Oh

Feedback is always welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to my other blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 500 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

My Best Posts On Parent Engagement Over The Past Six Months

Over the past year-and-a-half, I have posted:

My Best Posts & Articles About Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2009

My Best Posts On Parent Engagement So Far This Year

It’s been six months since I shared my latest “picks” from my Engaging Parents In School blog, which I began when my book, Building Parent Engagement In Schools, was published.

So, here are my choices for The Best Posts On Parent Engagement Over The Past Six Months (not listed in any order of preference):

New Article On Making Home Visits

Wow! What A Study On School Leadership…

“Teaching Secrets: Phoning Home”

Parent Engagement Interview

Great Teacher Home Visit Video Clip

Family Engagement in Education Act Introduced In Congress Today

”The problem is that the teachers don’t have to listen to us”

“School to Parents: Volunteer or Else!”

“When upset parents get organized, they can be very powerful”

Here We Go Again: Private Foundations Have A Place (And Have To Be Kept In Their Place)

National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement

A Missed Opportunity By Secretary Duncan…

Family Literacy Project Update

Our High School Will Be Making One Thousand Home Visits….This Summer

Update On Proposed Michigan Law To Jail Parents Who Don’t Attend Parent Conferences

“Engaging Immigrant Parents”

Community Schools In Oakland?

“Schools Must Work For Parent Involvement”

Interesting Effort In Boston To Connect School/Community

Suggestions are welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to explore the 475 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

My Best Posts On Parent Engagement So Far This Year

Last December, I posted My Best Posts & Articles About Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2009, a compilation of what I thought were the most useful posts in this blog last year.

As we near the end of this school year, I thought readers might be interested in hearing which posts I’ve written since that time might be worth reviewing.

Here are My Best Posts On Parent Engagement So Far This Year:

Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project

“School Matters: Parents Must Be Key to Education Reform”

“Home Libraries Provide Huge Educational Advantage”

New Study Shows That Paying Families To “Engage” In Schools Doesn’t Work

“Hybrid” Teachers & Engaging Parents

Can The Brookings Institution Really Be That Clueless?

Profiles in Family, School, and Community Engagement

Parent Engagement Interview

Is Developing Race-Specific Parent Groups Really The Way To Go?

“A Community-Based Relational Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools” Article Available Free Now

How NOT To Communicate With Parents

Latest Assessment Results From Family Literacy Project

Follow-Up To Lt. Governor’s Comments

Book Highlights Importance Of Parent-Community Ties

Will Somebody Tell Secretary Duncan’s Staff That There Are “Regular” Public Schools Engaging Parents, Too?

The “Parent Trigger” Comes To California….Unfortunately

Principal Organizes For Neighborhood Safety

A “Must-Read” For Anybody Interested In Parent Engagement In Schools

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

My Best Posts & Articles About Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2009

I’ve been doing a lot of work this year on building parent engagement in schools, including having a book published (Building Parent Engagement In Schools) and starting a new blog called Engaging Parents In School. Plus, I continuing to do the usual work at our school of actually engaging parents, too!

I thought readers of both of my blogs might find it useful for me to develop a “The Best…” list of resources on this topic.

Here are my choices for My Best Posts About Building Parent Engagement In Schools — 2009 (not in any order of preference):

Parent Involvement or Parent Engagement? is a piece I wrote for Public School Insights, and gives a nice preview of our book.

Family Literacy, English Language Learners, and Parent Engagement is an article I wrote for Library Media Connection.

Press Conference On Parent Engagement shares a video of a press conference called by our district’s Superintendent that includes both Elisa Gonzalez, our school’s staffperson for parent engagement, and me speaking about our home computer project and our parent university.

Parents, Students & College includes links to what we’re doing at our school to promote college discussion and planning with parents, and a new book highlighting research around that issue.

What Americans Believe Is “The Number One Factor In Keeping Schools Moving On The Right Track” — Read it and find-out!

What Might Aesop’s Fables Say About Glitzy Media Parent Involvement Campaigns? is the title of a critical post I recently wrote.

More On Parent’s Unemployment Effect On Children and “The Critical Connection Between Student Health and Academic Achievement”
both share major studies highlighting the affect that poverty has on students. The results emphasize the importance of schools engaging parents to combat these problems.

Education World published a short article by me titled A Parent Engagement Model That Works.

Info From Anne Henderson includes a link that this well-known research into the parent connection with schools gave to Congress.

Engaging With Your Child’s School: Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo is an interview I did with “Smart Bean,” a parent portal on the Internet.

Parents & Schools In Los Angeles is my “take” on what the District there might be doing with parents and charter schools.

Some Of These “Parent Academies” Just Don’t Get It…. shares my perspective on the recent media infatuation with “parent academies.”

In September, Joyce Epstein and I were guests at Education Week’s “edchat” on engaging parents. If you’re interested, you can read the chat transcript.

I was interviewed on the Parents as Partners webcast a few weeks ago, and you can read about about the conversation at Irritate or agitate – what’s your parent engagement like? You can also listen to the webcast at the EdTechTalk site.

Conditional Cash Transfers, Parents, And Schools offers my critical perspective on a growing way on how schools and cities are trying to connect with parents.

Home Computer Project Expansion & Assessment Results provides an update to our internationally-recognized Family Literacy Project.

Teacher Magazine published an article I wroteabout teachers making home visits to parents. You have to register (for free) to read the entire article, but it’s a quick process.

“Harlem Program Singled Out as Model” is a post I wrote about Harlem Children’s Zone, including some questions I have about it.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists — there are over 350 of them!