Engaging Families in the Pathway to College

The flip side of dropout prevention is planning for a positive future. Families play a critical role in helping students set goals, navigate the system, and plan for post-secondary education and a career. What school staff do to inform and support families to play this role makes an enormous difference to student success. Learn what the research says about specific practices that school staff and community partners have used in schools that are beating the odds with low-income students.


Presentation Slides pdf.

Annenberg Institute for School Reform. http://www.annenberginstitute.org/Products/CollegePathwaysRubric.php. (2009).

Henderson, A. T., Mapp, K. L., Johnson, V. R., & Davies, D. (2006).  Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School PartnershipsNew York, NY : The New Press.

Fortress-Partnership School Checklist: Where Does Your School Fall? pdf(2009).

National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education. http://www.ncpie.org/. (2010).

NDPC/N Newsletter: Family Engagement – Volume 20, Number 2 pdf(2008).

Bridgeland, J. M., DiIulio, Jr., J. J., Streeter, R. T., & Mason, J. R. (2008).  One Dream, Two Realities: Perspectives of Parents on America’s High SchoolsWashington, DC : Civic Enterprises.

Kaye, C. B. (1998).  Parent Involvement in Service-LearningLinking Learning with Life.

Chang, H. N., & Romero, M. (2008).  Present, Engaged, and Accounted For pdfNew York, NY : National Center for Children in Poverty.

The Center for Parent Leadership(2009).

The College Pathways Tool(2009).

The SEDL National Center for Family and Community Connections With Schools(2010).

Building the Foundation for School Success: Introducing The Parent-Child Home Program

Preparing children to enter school with the cognitive and social-emotional skills they need to be successful students is critical to bridging the achievement gap. The Parent-Child Home Program, a school readiness program replicated in communities across the country, successfully prepares two- and three-year-olds to enter school ready to learn. Working with parents and children together, the model effectively builds the language, pre-literacy, and social-emotional skills, and parent involvement necessary for academic success. Forty-five years of research and evaluation establishes the Program’s success.

  • What can be done to help parents prepare their children for success in school?
  • What does the research say about these early interventions?


Presentation Slides pdf.

Kindergarten Readiness and School Success for Buffalo Parent-Child Home Program Graduates pdf(2010).

Learning how to play pdf(2010).  The Boston Globe.

Partnership for America’s Economic Success. http://www.partnershipforsuccess.org/. (2010)

Recipe for Success in South Carolina pdf(2010).

Soaring to Success Through Books and Play pdf(2010).

The Parent-Child Home Program(2010).

The Parent-Child Home Program at a Glance pdf(2010).

Title I-Eligible Parent-Child Home Program Graduates Are Better Prepared For Kindergarten(2010).

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (2010).  Video: Parent-Child Home Program.

Family Involvement Makes a Difference

In this broadcast, Pat Davenport, Chief Executive Officer of Families And Schools Together Inc. will address parent involvement in schools. She will talk about the importance of family involvement and highlight several key research findings about parent involvement. Davenport will  describe the various types of parent involvement and will feature a  multi-faceted evidence based program named FAST.  It was developed by  Dr. Lynn McDonald, a professor at Middlesex University in London, England.  FAST, through rigorous randomized trials, has shown an 80%  parent involvement retention rate, a decrease in aggression and an  increase in attention span. These are directly correlated with increased academic performance, reduction in dropout rates and reduced juvenile delinquency.


Presentation Slides  pdf

McDonald, L., Moberg, P. D., Brown, R., Rodriguez-Espiricueta, I., Flores, N. I., Burke, M. P., et al. (2006).  After-School Multifamily Groups: A Randomized Controlled Trial Involving Low-Income, Urban, Latino Children  pdfChildren & Schools, 28(1), 25-34.

Caspe, M. S., Traub, F. E., & Little, P. (2002).  Beyond the Head Count: Evaluating Family Involvement in Out-of-School TimeIssues and Opportunities in Out-of-School Time Evaluation  pdf. Cambridge, MA : Harvard Family Research Project.

McDonald, L. (2005).  Building Social Capital to Engage Parents.

Epstein’s Framework of Six Types of Involvement  pdf.

Kratochwill, T. R., McDonald, L., Levin, J. R., Young Bear-Tibbetts, H., & Demaray, M. K. (2004).  Families and Schools Together: an experimental analysis of a parent-mediated multi-family group program for American Indian children  pdfJournal of School Psychology, 42, 359-383.

Kratochwill, T. R., McDonald, L., Levin, J. R., Scalia, P. A., & Coover, G. (2010).  Families and Schools Together: An Experimental Study of Multi-Family Support Groups for Children at Risk  pdf.

Families and Schools Together®(2010).

Caspe, M. S., Lopez, E. M., & Wolos, C. (2007).  Family Involvement in Elementary School Children’s Education  pdf . Family Involvement Makes a Difference. Cambridge, MA : Harvard Family Research Project.

National Evaluation of Family Support Programs  pdf(2001).   Cambridge, MA : Abt Associates, Inc..

National Parent Teacher Assocation (PTA)(2010).

Kaye, C. B. (1998).  Parent Involvement in Service-LearningLinking Learning with Life.

Parent Involvement Matters(2007).

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (2010).  Video: Looking Back, Moving Forward: Families and Schools Together.

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (2010).  Video: Pat Davenport, CEO of FAST.

Using Parent and Family Engagement as a Dropout Prevention Strategy

Family participation in education is a much more significant predictive of students’ academic success than family socioeconomic status. The more intensely parents are involved, the more beneficial the achievement effects. The more parents participate in schooling, in a sustained way, at every level—in advocacy, decision-making and oversight roles, as fund-raisers and boosters, as volunteers and paraprofessionals, and as home teachers—the better for student achievement. Find out about ways your school can overcome challenges and enhance parent engagement.

  • Learn why family and community engagement are so important
  • Find out about models and frameworks of parental involvement


Presentation Slides  pdf

A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act  pdf(2010). U.S. Department of Education.

A Solid Foundation for Student Success  pdf(2012).

Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching(2013).

Family – School Partnership Framework: A guide for schools and families. http://www.familyschool.org.au/pdf/framework.pdf. (2012).

Emarita, B., & Chase, R. (2012).  Family and Community Knowledge Systems: New Tools for Engagement  pdf.

Redding, S., Murphy, M., & Sheley, P. (Eds.). (2011).  Handbook on Family and Community Engagement pdf.

Harvard Family Research Project(2013).

Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/AdolescentHealth/pdf/parent_engagement_strategies.pdf. (2012).

Thao, M. (2009).  Parent involvement in school – Engaging immigrant parents  pdf.

School Community Network(2013).

Supporting Families and Communities: Reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act  pdf(2010). U.S. Department of Education.

Engaging Families and the Community as an Alternative to Expulsion: An Innovative Approach to Dropout Prevention

There is a large body of research that supports the importance of the family to the child’s or adolescent’s success in school. There is also growing awareness of the importance of providing prevention and intervention strategies for students who are at risk of being suspended, expelled, or of becoming disengaged from the educational process for social or emotional reasons. This presentation provides an overview of one South Carolina school district’s efforts to focus on the family in dealing with discipline problems and providing alternatives to expulsion through employing family therapists in delivering multisystemic prevention and intervention services.

  • Learn about an effective alternative to suspensions and expulsions
  • Discover the important support roles that family therapists can play


Presentation Slides pdf.

American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy(2013).

American School Counselor Association(2010).

Families 4 Change(2013).

Focusing on MFT Advocacy(2013).

Oxford Symposium on School-Based Family Counseling(2013).

Source of Referrals pdf. (2013).

South Carolina Education and Economic Development Act. http://www.che.sc.gov/AcademicAffairs/EEDA/EEDA.htm. (2012).

UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools(2013).


Family Engagement as a Dropout Prevention Strategy

As one of the country’s leading literacy organizations, the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), since 1989 has focused on helping families make educational and economic progress by creating and improving family literacy programs. Literacy is at the root of a person’s ability to succeed and studies prove that family, home, and community are the true drivers of a child’s education. Literacy is key to success in today’s economy, and NCFL works to lessen the impact of risk factors such as low family income and a mother’s lack of education that can hamper a child’s early learning and development.

Family Engagement as a Dropout Prevention Strategy will:

— highlight NCFL’s innovative family learning programming, approaches, and program settings;
— provide proven, research-based, and actionable strategies that viewers can immediately implement, and
— share opportunities to join NCFL communities that help empower parents, guardians, and families with resources, including information on family mentoring and family service-learning.


http://familieslearning.org/pdf/TFLPSynthesis.pdf  pdf

http://www.familieslearning.org/pdf/NCFL_Family_Engagement_Brief_.pdf  pdf





Epstein, J. L. (2011). School, family, and community partnerships second edition. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Ferguson, C. (2008). The school-family connection: Looking at the larger picture. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.

Henderson, A. T., Mapp, K. L., Johnson, V. R., & Davies, D. (2007). Beyond the bake sale: The essential guide to family-school partnerships. New York: The New Press.

Jeynes, W. H. (2005). A meta-analysis of the relation of parent involvement to urban elementary school student academic achievement. Urban Education, 40, 237-269.

Sastry, N., & Pebley, A. R. (2010). Family and neighborhood sources of socioeconomic inequality in children’s achievement. Demography, 47(3), 777-800.

Wasik, B. H., & Herrmann, S. (2004). Family literacy: History, concepts, services. In B. H. Wasik (Ed.), Handbook of family literacy (pp. 3-23). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Wasik, B. H., & Van Horn, B. (2012). The role of family literacy in society. In B. H. Wasik (Ed.), Handbook of family literacy (2nd ed., pp. 3-17). New York: Routledge.




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