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					  ISSUES             &ANSWERS                      REL 2009–No. 069



                                Parent
                                involvement
At Education Development
       Center, Inc.
                                strategies in
                                urban middle
                                and high
                                schools in the
                                Northeast and
                                Islands Region




                                 U.S.   D e p a r t m e n t   o f   E d u c a t i o n
ISSUES   &   ANSWERS                                                        REL 2009–No. 069




                                         At Education Development
                                                Center, Inc.


          Parent involvement strategies in
         urban middle and high schools in
         the Northeast and Islands Region

                                         April 2009




                                        Prepared by
                                Gail Agronick, Ph.D.
                         Education Development Center, Inc.
                                  Amy Clark, Ed.M.
                         Education Development Center, Inc.
                               Lydia O’Donnell, Ed.D.
                         Education Development Center, Inc.
                                 Ann Stueve, Ph.D.
                         Education Development Center, Inc.




                       U.S.   D e p a r t m e n t     o f    E d u c a t i o n
                                    WA
                                                                                                                                                  ME
                                                    MT              ND
                                                                                                                                        VT
                                                                                   MN
                               OR                                                                                                            NH
                                                                                                                                   NY              MA
                                          ID                        SD                        WI
                                                                                                     MI
                                                     WY                                                                                       CT RI
                                                                                    IA                                        PA
                                                                    NE
                                     NV                                                                       OH
                                                                                               IL   IN
                                               UT                                                                   WV
                             CA                           CO                                                                  VA
                                                                         KS              MO              KY
                                                                                                                          NC
                                                                                                    TN
                                          AZ                                  OK
                                                     NM                                  AR                          SC

                                                                                                    AL         GA
                                                                                               MS
                                                                                         LA
                                                                     TX
                              AK

                                                                                                                         FL



                                                                                                                                                        At Education Development
                                                               VI
                                                               PR
                                                                                                                                                               Center, Inc.



Issues & Answers is an ongoing series of reports from short-term Fast Response Projects conducted by the regional educa-
tional laboratories on current education issues of importance at local, state, and regional levels. Fast Response Project topics
change to reflect new issues, as identified through lab outreach and requests for assistance from policymakers and educa-
tors at state and local levels and from communities, businesses, parents, families, and youth. All Issues and Answers reports
meet Institute of Education Sciences standards for scientifically valid research.

April 2009

This report was prepared for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) under Contract ED-06-CO-0025 by Regional Educa-
tional Laboratory Northeast and Islands administered by Education Development Center, Inc. The content of the publica-
tion does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade
names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

This report is in the public domain. While permission to reprint this publication is not necessary, it should be cited as:

Agronick, G., Clark, A., O’Donnell, L., and Steuve, A. (2009). Parent involvement strategies in urban middle and high schools
in the Northeast and Islands Region (Issues and Answers Report, REL 2009–No. 069). Washington, DC: U.S. Department
of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional
Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs.

This report is available on the regional educational laboratory web site at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs.
Summary                                                                       REL 2009–No. 069

   Parent involvement strategies in
   urban middle and high schools in
   the Northeast and Islands Region
   This report summarizes efforts to develop             and technical standards” (U.S. Depart-
   and pilot test a protocol for collecting              ment of Education 2002)?
   information about parent involvement
   policies, practices, and programs being im-       The study reviewed the literature on parent
   plemented at the middle and high school           involvement practices and programs to inform
   levels. The protocol can be used to expand        development of a protocol for collecting and
   documentation of strategies selected,             organizing data on practices and programs.
   adapted, and sustained in future years.           The review included studies that met screening
                                                     criteria for the timeframe (1997–2008), inter-
   Education leaders in the Northeast and Islands    vention strategy (parent involvement policies,
   Region have indicated the need to identify        practices, and programs), sample (parents of
   strategies for engaging parents of adolescents    students in grades 6–12), and outcome. Prac-
   in their child’s education and in school gover-   tices and programs encompassed efforts to
   nance and improvement. To address this need,      encourage parent involvement with students at
   this project developed and piloted a protocol     home and school. Relevant outcomes included
   that asks the following questions:                parent involvement, with or without linkages
                                                     to student outcomes.
   •	 Which strategies are middle and high
      schools using to engage parents and sus-       The search yielded information on a diverse set
      tain their involvement, which parent in-       of discrete practices and a small number of well
      volvement goals do these strategies target,    articulated programs, but there had been little
      and how are local efforts monitored?           rigorous evaluation of these practices and pro-
                                                     grams. Evidence was also lacking on whether
   •	 Which parent involvement strategies have       they increase parent engagement or contribute
      been evaluated, and what evidence is there     directly to intended student outcomes, such as
      of their effectiveness in achieving desired    improved academic performance, graduation,
      outcomes for schools, students, and parents?   or enrollment in postsecondary education.

   •	 Are district strategies consistent with        A typology of parent involvement practices
      the requirements and guidance of the No        was created based on the literature review.
      Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and with re-      Information on practices was categorized
      search that “meets the highest professional    as either general information exchange or
ii   Summary



     information exchange on individual student          The nine pilot districts implemented mul-
     performance, special events, volunteer op-          tiple practices that were supported by state
     portunities, parent education, professional         and district policies and were consistent with
     development for faculty and staff, home-school      NCLB and Title I provisions. In general, these
     coordination and outreach to traditionally          practices were not organized into formal
     hard to reach parents, or parent resource           programs or articulated in ways that would
     centers. Programs were summarized by their          support rigorous evaluation and identification
     goals, populations reached, content, outcomes,      of “what works.”
     and evidence of effectiveness.
                                                         Across the pilot districts only a handful of
     Although some of the programs have been             identified programs had at least one of the fol-
     evaluated and some have been widely dissemi-        lowing characteristics:
     nated, evidence is insufficient to make causal
     statements about their effectiveness. And no        •	 Parent involvement in children’s education
     evaluation study of the programs meets the             and academic achievement as a primary
     evidence standards for experimental or quasi-          goal.
     experimental study design detailed in What
     Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards for          •	 Articulated objectives, with specific activi-
     Reviewing Studies (U.S. Department of Educa-           ties to meet these objectives.
     tion 2008).
                                                         •	 Sufficient descriptions of activities to sup-
     The literature review provided a context for           port replication.
     understanding the information that was then
     collected from nine urban districts in Con-         •	 Ongoing and coordinated implementation
     necticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and            of one or more strategies.
     New York. The project focused on districts
     where engagement is especially challenging—         Further, the programs did not necessarily
     districts that serve large proportions of racial/   target parent populations that have been dif-
     ethnic minority families and families living        ficult to engage or whose children may be at
     in poverty. Each Northeast and Islands state        higher academic risk (Appleseed 2006; Vaden-
     education commissioner’s office selected one        Kiernan and McManus 2005).
     district in the state; a second district in each
     state was selected at random. A ninth district      Evidence from the evaluation of parent
     was selected to round out the diversity of popu-    involvement practices and programs is
     lations served. Interviews on parental involve-     minimal. Beyond fulfilling requirements for
     ment policies were conducted with an average        monitoring and reporting on program par-
     of five to six informants from state education      ents, few of the programs in the pilot districts
     agencies, selected districts, and schools. Data     had conducted quasi-experimental or experi-
     from interviews were supplemented with infor-       mental studies or had such studies under way.
     mation from public records, including searches      The evidence on what works is limited, and
     of state, district, and school web sites.           the evaluations that do exist are frequently
                                                                              Summary         iii


constrained by weak designs (Desforges 2003;          and programs that may merit further
Jeynes 2007; Mattingly et al. 2002). This re-         evaluation.
flects, in part, the lack of resources that have
been devoted to the evaluation of practices or     •	 Rigorous study designs that overcome
programs beyond elementary school and the             the limitations of existing evaluations of
cost of field trials.                                 parent involvement strategies and provide
                                                      evidence of what works in middle and
The findings from the literature review and           high schools. Such studies enable schools
pilot study highlight the need for:                   to target their resources to programs that
                                                      promote student academic success and
•	 Fully articulated programs that can be             narrow the achievement gap in districts
   rigorously evaluated to determine what             that serve large proportions of students
   works.                                             from low-income households, racial/ethnic
                                                      minority students, and students from
•	 Systematic data collection on parent               recent immigrant families.
   involvement programs to promote shared
   learning and to identify policies, practices,                                    April 2009
iv       Table of conTenTS



Table of coNTeNTs

Why this study?    1
  Study objectives    2
  Protocol for documenting parent involvement strategies        2
Findings from the pilot study sites     3
   Policies     5
   Practices      8
   Programs        18
   Parent involvement resource centers and other networks       20
Implications for future research          22
Notes        24
Appendix A        Literature review on parent involvement and student success   25
Appendix B        Study methods      44
References         51
Boxes
1    Parent involvement and student success             2
2    Policies, practices, and programs         3
3    Data collection       4
Tables
A1 Parent involvement programs identified in the literature         36
B1 Characteristics of selected districts           47
B2 Key informants interviewed            49
                                                    Why ThiS STudy?            1



                      Why ThIs sTudy?
This report
                            School leaders in the Northeast and Islands Region
summarizes                  have highlighted the importance of identifying
                            strategies for engaging parents in their children’s
efforts to develop          education throughout middle and high school.
                            This focus is consistent with state and local
and pilot test              requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
                            Act of 2001 and Title I legislation, which “support
a protocol                  the collection and dissemination to local educa-
                            tional agencies and schools of effective parent in-
for collecting              volvement practices . . . based on the most current
                            research that meets the highest professional and
information                 technical standards . . . [and is] geared toward low-
                            ering barriers to greater participation by parents
about parent                in school planning, review, and improvement”
                            (U.S. Department of Education 2002).
involvement                 The federal commitment to ensuring parent

policies,                   involvement in public education is longstanding
                            (box 1 defines parent involvement in federal legis-

practices, and              lation). In 1965 the importance of parent involve-
                            ment in children’s education was acknowledged in

programs being              provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Edu-
                            cation Act. Decades of research correlate parent
                            involvement with higher grades and test scores,
implemented at              better attendance, improved classroom prepara-
                            tion and behavior, and higher rates of graduation
the middle and              and postsecondary enrollment.

high school levels.         While the benefits of parent involvement for
                            academic achievement and other positive student
The protocol can            outcomes are documented across grades K–12, less
                            is known about how schools are engaging parents
be used to expand           as their children move from elementary to middle
                            school and then into high school and from the
documentation               early years of high school to graduation. There is
                            also limited information on how states, districts,
of strategies               and schools select and implement parent involve-
                            ment strategies at the secondary level and how
selected, adapted,          they monitor and evaluate their efforts.


and sustained               Some of the greatest barriers to parent involve-
                            ment are encountered by schools and districts
in future years.            serving students from low-income households,
                            racial/ethnic minority students, and students with
                            limited English proficiency (U.S. Department of
2           ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region




    box 1                                         academic learning and other school         and on advisory committees to
    Parent involvement and student                activities. The involvement includes       assist in the education of their child
    success                                       ensuring that parents play an in-          (NCLB, 9101(32)).
                                                  tegral role in assisting their child’s
    Federal legislation defines parent            learning; that parents are encour-       For research definitions of parent
    involvement as:                               aged to be actively involved in their    involvement, a summary of research
                                                  child’s education at school; that        on parent involvement and student
       The participation of parents in            parents are full partners in their       success, and parent involvement
       regular, two-way, meaningful               child’s education and are included,      programs identified in the literature
       communication involving students’          as appropriate, in decisionmaking        review, see appendix A.


            Education, National Center for Education Statis-                   well as the evidence for their selection. Collecting
            tics 1998). Fuller parental engagement in school                   this information is critical for furthering efforts
            improvement plans—as well as timely and clear                      to engage parents, especially in districts facing
            communication between parents and schools                          barriers to parent involvement that are related to
            on student progress and education opportuni-                       culture, language, and low income. Information
            ties, including transfers out of underperforming                   obtained from interviews and public document
            schools—can increase student performance in                        searches in nine urban districts in Connecticut,
            districts that serve students at high risk of aca-                 Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York
            demic failure and dropout and thus narrow the                      illustrates the range of parent involvement strate-
            achievement gap.                                                   gies currently employed. The protocol can be used
                                                                               to expand documentation of strategies selected,
            The impetus for this study came from a variety of                  adapted, and sustained in future years.
            needs assessments, including a meeting on June 6,
            2006, of the governing board for Regional Educa-         Study objectives
            tional Laboratory Northeast and Islands. Board
            members from Massachusetts, New Hampshire,                         The goal of this project was to develop and pilot
            New York, and Puerto Rico discussed the need for                   test a protocol for documenting parent involve-
            information on how best to engage parents, espe-                   ment strategies in the Northeast and Islands
            cially in urban middle and high schools. Several                   Region. Strategies is used here as an umbrella term
            members, including school leaders in Connecticut,                  that incorporates parent involvement policies,
            New York, and Puerto Rico, sought information                      practices, and programs; see box 2. The project
            on strategies that states and districts were using to              focused on how schools and districts support par-
            promote effective parental involvement. Subse-                     ent involvement during the transition to middle
            quent discussions with state liaisons reinforced                   school and thereafter. Documenting what states,
            the importance of sharing information about                        districts, and schools are doing to address leg-
            implemented practices and programs and about                       islation and promulgate standards—and what
            whether they have been successful, especially in                   they are learning—is an important step toward
            engaging parents of children who are at increased                  identifying promising strategies that merit more
            risk of school failure and dropout.                                rigorous evaluation and dissemination.

            To respond to this need, this report summarizes          Protocol for documenting parent involvement strategies
            efforts to develop and pilot test a protocol for
            collecting information about parent involvement                    Informed by a literature review of parent involve-
            policies, practices, and programs being imple-                     ment strategies, the research team developed a
            mented at the middle and high school levels, as                    protocol to gather information on the policies,
                                                                     findingS from The PiloT STudy SiTeS                  3



box 2                                                               questions in middle schools and high schools
Policies, practices, and programs                                   nationally.

Policies are written state or district statements that spe-         Three activities were conducted to address these
cifically address parent involvement goals and provide              research questions:
guidance on strategies for working with families to
achieve these goals.                                                •	   A literature review of strategies that promote
                                                                         parent involvement during middle and high
Practices include discrete activities that districts and                 school, to inform protocol development and
schools often implement as part of standard operations                   provide a context for understanding informa-
to inform parents and involve them in their children’s                   tion obtained during the pilot test (for details,
education.                                                               see appendix A).

Programs have parent involvement as a primary goal,                 •	   Protocol development to systematize proce-
one or more well articulated practices linked to the                     dures for collecting information on parent
achievement of this goal, a formal organizational                        involvement policies, practices, and programs.
structure, and dedicated personnel or volunteers.
                                                                    •	   Pilot testing of the protocol in nine districts in
                                                                         four states to chart what states, districts, and
        practices, and programs being implemented at the                 schools are doing to engage parents of middle
        secondary school level, what their goals are, and                and high school students in their children’s
        how they are monitored.                                          education and to identify examples of school
                                                                         policies, practices, and programs.
        Specifically, this protocol asked the following
        questions:                                                  These activities were sequential. The literature re-
                                                                    view informed the protocol, which was then tested
        •	   Which strategies are middle and high schools           in nine districts. In the future this protocol can be
             using to engage parents and sustain their              used to collect information from a larger number
             involvement, which parent involvement goals            of districts and informants, providing a catalogue
             do these strategies target, and how are local          of the adoption, maintenance, and discontinua-
             efforts monitored?                                     tion of various strategies. For a summary of data
                                                                    collection activities and data limitations, see box 3;
        •	   Which parent involvement strategies have               for additional details on study methods, see ap-
             been evaluated, and what evidence is there of          pendix B.
             their effectiveness in achieving desired out-
             comes for schools, students, and parents?
                                                              fINdINgs fRom The PIloT sTudy sITes
        •	   Are district strategies consistent with the
             requirements and guidance of the NCLB Act              The key findings about parent involvement poli-
             and with research that “meets the highest              cies, practices, and programs obtained from the
             professional and technical standards” (U.S.            pilot test illustrate
             Department of Education 2002)?                         how information can             The pilot test illustrated
                                                                    be collected using the          how information can
        The protocol was developed to guide data col-               protocol. Because of            be collected using the
        lection on parent involvement strategies. It was            the limited number of           protocol developed
        pilot tested in nine districts in the Northeast and         interviews—especially           by this study
        Islands Region. But it can be used to address these         at the school level, the
4           ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region




    box 3                                     Sampling                                    on parent involvement goals, types of
    Data collection                           The protocol sampled nine school dis-       practices used, grades or populations
                                              tricts in Connecticut, Massachusetts,       served, sponsoring organizations,
    Informed by the results of the litera-    New Hampshire, and New York. The            funding sources, barriers encoun-
    ture review, a protocol was developed     sample pool included districts that         tered, and evaluations conducted.
    to compile information on parent          had a student population of 15,000 or
    involvement policies, practices, and      more, were in a mid-size or large cen-      Data limitations
    programs from publicly available          tral city, contained a high proportion      Several limitations of these data col-
    documents and from interviews with        of families living below the poverty        lection efforts must be considered in
    key informants in state education         line (more than 1.5 times the state av-     interpreting findings. First, despite
    agencies, districts, and schools.         erage), and had a greater proportion        an extensive literature on parent
                                              of Black and Hispanic families than         involvement, rigorous studies and
    Interviews were tailored to obtain        the state average. The nine school          evaluation evidence were scarce.
    both snapshots of what the states and     districts serve more than 200,000           Information on parent involvement
    districts are doing to promote parent     students. The districts are Bridge-         strategies, including descriptive
    involvement and examples of their         port, New Haven, and Waterbury in           accounts of key components and
    policies, practices, and programs. Ini-   Connecticut; Boston and Worcester           perceived benefits, are not often
    tial interviews with state and district   in Massachusetts; Manchester and            published in peer-reviewed journals,
    representatives provided information      Nashua in New Hampshire; and Buf-           even when they are cited in other
    specific to their purview, as well as     falo and Syracuse in New York.              studies. With this limited evidence
    the names of key contacts for further                                                 of promising or effective practices or
    interviews. Subsequent interviews         Across the nine districts, 59 represen-     programs, it is premature to create a
    were informed by the data already         tatives participated in project inter-      searchable database for dissemina-
    collected, with participants providing    views. On average, five to six key infor-   tion, as originally proposed.
    further details about specific strate-    mants participated for each district.
    gies and additional examples of poli-                                                 Second, the nine pilot districts do not
    cies, practices, and programs.            Coding and analysis                         fully represent the region or schools
                                              Information on policies, practices,         nationwide. Because the number of
    Coding worksheets were developed          and programs was extracted from             interviews that could be conducted
    to record information from inter-         interview notes, and lists of strate-       was restricted, the information
    views and public record searches.         gies were prepared and tagged to the        collected is illustrative rather than
    Fields were informed by the literature    key informant. The strategies were re-      comprehensive. Further, it was dif-
    search (see appendix A) and were          viewed and grouped into four catego-        ficult to obtain reliable information
    designed to capture key descriptors of    ries: policy, practice, program, and        on whether strategies intended for all
    policies, practices, and programs.        other. Information on policies was          students in K–12 are reaching parents
                                              compiled from written documents             of secondary school students, espe-
    The research team designed a policy       and interview notes and qualitatively       cially students at greatest academic
    worksheet to record information on        summarized for alignment with               risk.
    the alignment of state and district       NCLB and Title I guidance. Practices
    policies with the NCLB Act and Title      were categorized using the typology         Finally, because of the different par-
    I guidelines. The team categorized        developed during the literature re-         ent involvement requirements and
    practices on practice worksheets          view to display the range of activities     procedures for students with disabili-
    using the typology developed from         districts and schools used to increase      ties, this area was not addressed.
    the literature review and refined         parent involvement (see appendix A).
    during the course of the project (see     Programs were identified and infor-         Appendix B contains a full descrip-
    appendix B for details).                  mation was coded, when available,           tion of the survey methods.
                                                                  findingS from The PiloT STudy SiTeS                5



           most common level for parent involvement—              council stressed the role       The majority of state
           data are not intended to provide a comprehensive       of parents, families, and       and district policies
           account. Consistent with the literature review         community members in            incorporated multiple
           (see appendix A), findings highlight the diverse       assisting student learn-        parent involvement goals,
           practices used to promote parent involvement. At       ing across grade levels. It     including promotion of
           the same time, they underscore how few evidence-       also promoted two-way           communication between
           based programs are currently available.                communication; parent           school and family,
                                                                  volunteering, decision-         parent involvement in
Policies                                                          making, and advocacy;           decisionmaking, parent
                                                                  and sound parenting             volunteering in the
           The majority of state and district policies incorpo-   practices. Staff develop-       schools, learning at home,
           rated multiple parent involvement goals, including     ment through pre-               parenting skills, and
           promotion of communication between school and          service and in-service          community collaboration
           family, parent involvement in decisionmaking,          courses and workshops
           parent volunteering in the schools, learn-             is encouraged (Massa-
           ing at home, parenting skills, and community           chusetts Department of Elementary and Second-
           collaboration.                                         ary Education 2007). In addition to supporting
                                                                  these parent involvement goals, information
           At the time of the document review, parent in-         on successful programs is provided in a report
           volvement efforts in the nine pilot districts were     accessible online (Massachusetts Department of
           supported by written state guidance.1 These docu-      Elementary and Secondary Education, 2005).
           ments varied in specificity, but all supported the
           basic tenets for parent engagement laid forth in the   On its web site the New Hampshire Department of
           NCLB Act and Title I legislation.                      Education states: “Continuously improving our ed-
                                                                  ucational system is a great and important under-
           For example, the Connecticut State Board of            taking and requires the participation of families
           Education refers to the Epstein model (1995) and       and the entire community. Everyone needs to be
           uses it to frame the state’s commitment to parent      involved to help children succeed” (www.ed.state.
           engagement.2 In addition, the state’s five-year com-   nh.us/education). The state provides guidance for
           prehensive plan for 2006–11 lays out priority areas    meeting NCLB and Title I requirements, high-
           addressing preschool through secondary educa-          lighting the importance of involving parents in
           tion. It describes parent and community involve-       school improvement plans and informing parents
           ment as necessary for achieving the goals set forth.   about school performance and school choice. A
           The state outlines how it will provide leadership in   family-community link on the department’s web
           “developing and promoting partnership programs         site provides data on performance; this emphasis
           that contribute to success for all students, includ-   is consistent with the state’s adoption of the Follow
           ing the development of parents’ literacy skills, and   the Child reform initiative. Teachers are encour-
           that ensure schools are safe and supportive for all    aged to discuss growth targets and individual
           members of the school community” (Connecticut          student results with students (when age appropri-
           State Board of Education 2006).                        ate) and parents during teacher conferences.

           In Massachusetts the Parent and Community Edu-         Adhering to NCLB and Title I guidelines, the New
           cation and Involvement Advisory Council, which         York State Education Department provides parent
           reports to the state education commissioner and        fact sheets and other information in its Parent In-
           board of education, issued a statement in 2007 em-     volvement Policies for Schools and School Districts
           phasizing links between parent involvement and         (New York State Education Department 2001).
           student achievement and school improvement. The        Its policies recognize that “parent involvement
        6        ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



state policies incorporate        benefits everyone: students, par-    the “highest professional and technical standards”
varying degrees of                ents, teachers, and schools and      (U.S. Department of Education 2002). In Mas-
specificity and different         the greater school community.        sachusetts the Parent and Community Education
approaches to monitoring          When parent involvement contin-      and Involvement Advisory Council maintains
and evaluating district and       ues from the early grades through    an ongoing role in assessing needs and making
school implementation             the high school level, students      recommendations on legislation, regulations, and
and practice                      gain confidence that their edu-      program guidelines consistent with state goals of
                                  cational experience is supported,    parent and community involvement.
                                  and achievement rises.”
                                                                       States also have accountability systems for monitor-
                 Input from key constituencies, including parents      ing compliance with parent involvement policies.
                 and representatives of community organizations,       For example, as part of the New Hampshire State
                 was sought to identify priority areas for parent      Department of Education standards for school ap-
                 involvement. As summarized by the New York            proval, districts must demonstrate implementation
                 Board of Regents (2006), these priorities include     of a parent involvement policy. New Hampshire has
                 leveraging partnerships with other agencies serv-     also developed a standardized rubric for districts
                 ing families and children, augmenting existing        receiving Title I funds to document compliance
                 resources to promote family partnerships, improv-     with the NCLB Act, including section 1118.
                 ing communication and the transparency of the
                 education system, increasing professional develop-    Consistent with state goals and guidelines, policy
                 ment opportunities, and implementing account-         documents across the nine pilot districts incorpo-
                 ability and measurement of parent involvement at      rated multiple parent involvement strategies, such as:
                 schools. The state’s approach acknowledges that
                 parents want to support their children’s learning     •	   Develop written and online guides to help
                 but may need assistance in identifying what is most        families understand their rights and respon-
                 helpful or appropriate, and it encourages schools          sibilities (Syracuse City School District 2001;
                 and districts to communicate such strategies.              Worcester Public Schools 2004).

                 State policies incorporate varying degrees of         •	   Make school facilities available to families and
                 specificity and different approaches to monitoring         the community (Connecticut State Board of
                 and evaluating district and school implementa-             Education 2003).
                 tion and practice. When addressing state-level
                 responsibility, New York State policy directs         •	   Provide parent workshops on creating a home
                 the state education department to “increase                environment conducive to learning (Nashua
                 its oversight of field efforts through regulatory          Board of Education, www.nashua.edu/district/).
                 enforcement and the reporting of results” and to
                 “evaluate the effectiveness of current regulations    •	   Provide professional development to build
                 and practices at promoting parent and family               staff capacity to work with families (Connecti-
                 partnerships” (New York Education Department               cut State Board of Education 2003; New York
                 2007). The Connecticut State Board of Education            State Education Department 2007).
                 provides broader guidance here, charging the state
                 department of education to “[collect] and [dis-       •	   Maintain regularly updated communication
                 seminate] information about current research,              channels with information for families (Syra-
                 best practice, and model policies and programs”            cuse City School District 2001).
                 (2003). This statement is consistent with U.S.
                 Department of Education language supporting           •	   Establish and support school-based parent
                 the use of parent involvement practices that meet          organizations (Buffalo Public Schools 2008).
                                                        findingS from The PiloT STudy SiTeS                7



•	   Hire parent facilitators (Buffalo Public Schools   The New Haven Public Schools in Connecticut
     2008).                                             incorporate family and community engagement
                                                        in their strategic planning goals. For example,
•	   Provide academic assistance to parents, stu-       under the goal of improving student achieve-
     dents, and other community members through         ment throughout grades K–12, it highlights the
     parent centers (Buffalo Public Schools 2008).      provision of meaningful parent and community
                                                        involvement. Under the goal of providing resource
•	   Create a database of parent and community          equity and equality of education opportunity for
     volunteers, noting their talents and interests     all students, including reducing racial/ethnic and
     (Worcester Public Schools 2004).                   economic isolation, the district emphasizes school
                                                        choice through the magnet and school choice pro-
Buffalo Public Schools, Syracuse City School            grams. Information on school performance is pro-
District, and the Worcester Public Schools, like        vided, along with suggestions for how parents and
the Connecticut State Board of Education, cited         their children can use such information in making
portions of the Epstein model. Other policies, such     decisions (New Haven Public Schools 2008).
as those promulgated by Waterbury Public Schools
and Nashua School District, drew on the structure       In strategic planning documents Bridgeport
provided by statutory language from section 1118        School District in Connecticut emphasizes involv-
of the NCLB Act. These policies focused on provid-      ing parents in results-oriented leadership and cre-
ing parents with information on options for school      ating and sustaining “multiple ways for families
choice and school profile and performance data,         to be involved in the education of their children at
involving parents in decisionmaking or policy-          home and at school” (Bridgeport School District
making at the school and district levels, helping       2006). The district is adopting a “welcoming
parents understand assessments and academic             school” model and is committed to nurturing
standards, and developing parents’ capacity to          the social and emotional health of students and
serve in these roles, as well as developing school-     families by forging stronger partnerships among
parent compacts to improve individual student           families, schools, and the community. New Hamp-
achievement.                                            shire’s Manchester School District posted policies
                                                        as well as resources for parents online. District
For example, in Massachusetts the Boston Pub-           policy called for “providing opportunities for
lic Schools produced a 28-page family guide to          collaborative decisionmaking with staff, students,
district policies and programs, highlighting how        parents, and members of the community” in order
parents can make informed decisions about school        “to assure the best and most effective instructional
choice and including information on how to assess       programs” (Manchester School District 2006).
schools and what questions to ask administra-
tors and teachers (Boston Public Schools 2008).         At the district level policies like those in Buffalo
Available in multiple languages and online, the         and Syracuse detail monitoring systems and name
guide remarks on family involvement: “A child’s         particular offices (such
education is a responsibility shared by the family,     as superintendent) or               at the district level
school, and community. . . . When parents and           bodies (for example,                policies detail monitoring
schools work together it increases student achieve-     district parent coor-               systems and name
ment and builds positive attitudes about schools.       dinating council) as                particular offices as
There are many ways you can participate in your         responsible for oversee-            responsible for overseeing
child’s education.” Suggestions for involvement in      ing and reporting on                and reporting on
various activities at home and school are pro-          implementation of par-              implementation of parent
vided. Contact information is listed for school and     ent involvement policies.           involvement policies
community.                                              In addressing the annual
        8        ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



                 evaluation of parent-community involvement in            identification of what works. The literature review
                 the district, the Worcester Public Schools’ policy       produced a typology of eight practices:
                 specifies a period for data collection (January to
                 May), instruments for data collection (surveys           •	   General information exchange.
                 and community forums), and uses of collected
                 data (to plan and refine activities and policies).       •	   Information exchange on individual student
                 This policy also includes language tailored to the            performance.
                 local context that mirrors Title I, section 1118 of
                 the NCLB Act. For example, when mentioning               •	   Special events.
                 clause (a)(1)(D)—on coordinating and integrating
                 parent involvement strategies under section 1118         •	   Volunteer opportunities.
                 with those in other programs—Worcester policy
                 states that “opportunities for parent/community          •	   Parent education.
                 involvement will be integrated/coordinated with
                 other programs such as . . . Adult Education, Fam-       •	   Professional development for faculty and staff.
                 ily Ties, Head Start, Title III, Title IV, and Title I
                 programs” (Worcester Public Schools 2008).               •	   Parent centers.

                 These examples illustrate that state and district        •	   Dedicated staff to promote home and school
                 policies generally support the implementation of              coordination and outreach to traditionally
                 parent involvement strategies at the local level.             hard to reach parents.
                 Some policy statements are relatively brief or
                 drawn from federal documents with little tailor-         Information about these practices was obtained
                 ing. Others attempt to delineate standards for           from interviews with key informants; when avail-
                 involvement and provide concrete examples of             able, these sources provided written materials.
                 activities. But few mention how such involvement
                 may change as students advance to middle school          Using the typology, the following sections pro-
                 and then high school. Typically, Title I standards       vide examples of practices implemented in the
                 are cited to comply with provisions for the involve-     nine districts. As with the practices described
                 ment of low-income families, and as required, this       in the literature, those identified through the
                 information is posted on web sites and distributed       interviews are not necessarily exclusive. The
                 to schools. The policies are consistent with federal     importance of practices for promoting parent
                 guidelines, though greater specificity and applica-      involvement and ultimately student success both
                 tion to local circumstances may be useful in guid-       across and within categories may differ. But there
                 ing schools’ actions to promote different forms of       is no evaluation evidence on which practices
                 parent involvement.                                      are effective or on the relative impact of differ-
                                                                          ent types of a single practice or combinations of
The practices                      Practices                              practices. The examples are illustrative rather
implemented by the nine                                                   than comprehensive and were selected to portray
pilot districts were usually       The nine pilot districts imple-        the variety of practices that were being imple-
not organized into formal          mented various practices sup-          mented. The lists of practices are not comprehen-
programs or articulated in         ported by state policies and con-      sive because only a handful of interviews were
ways that would support            sistent with the NCLB Act. But         conducted at the school level, typically at only
rigorous evaluation                these practices were usually not       one or two schools within a district. Interviews
and identification                 organized into formal programs         with additional informants at the state, district,
of what works                      or articulated in ways that would      and school levels would likely have yielded ad-
                                   support rigorous evaluation and        ditional practices.
                                                        findingS from The PiloT STudy SiTeS                9



The information on practices shows the many            •	   A school schedules          schools have multiple
diverse efforts districts and schools were using to         three dates on              structures for getting
engage parents. All nine districts provided at least        which incoming              information out to
one example for each set of practices, from infor-          families can visit          parents, but there appear
mation exchanges with parents about general is-             the school to deter-        to be fewer structures to
sues and their own child’s progress to home-school          mine whether it is          ensure that feedback from
coordination and outreach to special populations.           a good fit for their        parents is actively solicited
These practices are consistent with the spirit and          children. Two occur
regulations of NCLB and Title I requirements for            during the day, the
parent involvement. They combine decades-old                third at night. While the specific agendas for
approaches with innovative ways to reach out                these sessions may vary, each event offers
to parents. Some practices were monitored for               parents the opportunity to tour the school and
numbers of parents attending events, but there is           meet with administrators, faculty, and staff.
little evaluation of effectiveness. The line between
individual practices such as these and programs,       •	   Secondary schools invite parents to follow
discussed in the following section can be ambigu-           their children’s schedule for an evening. Par-
ous: when bundled together in a well articulated,           ents learn what is going on in each class and
coordinated, and replicable framework, multiple             meet their children’s teachers. Administrators
practices can become programs.                              provide an overview of the curriculum and
                                                            academic program. School report cards can
General information exchange. General informa-              also be discussed.
tion exchange focuses on practices to improve
parent-school communication and the timely flow        •	   District runs workshops on data interpreta-
of information. Schools have multiple structures            tion for parents. As the district makes city and
for getting information out to parents—newslet-             school assessments available to everyone, it
ters, web sites, automatic phone systems, cable             also provides training and materials on how
television, and press releases. There appear to be          to interpret that information.
fewer structures to ensure that feedback from
parents is actively solicited.                         •	   Parent center holds meetings every month on
                                                            topics such as test preparation and school open-
Face to face                                                ings and closings. Meetings are alternated be-
                                                            tween day and evening to accommodate family
•	   Middle and high schools have step-up nights.           schedules. A goal is to have 200–400 attendees.
     Parents are invited to an evening orienta-
     tion to learn about the schools to which their    Print
     children will soon be moving.
                                                       •	   Parent coalition creates a parenting guide
•	   High school has financial aid nights, tran-            that is distributed through middle and high
     sition nights (for incoming freshmen and               schools. It covers college preparation, aca-
     parents), a junior college fair, and beginning-        demic transitions, and NCLB requirements
     of-the-year open houses.                               and provides resources contacts for parents.

•	   District holds annual open house. Schools         •	   On behalf of the school family center, parent
     present information on specialized programs,           coordinators send out regular newsletters
     themes, and goals to help parents understand           to all parents about functions, events, and
     their children’s options, especially as they           services in district high schools and the com-
     move from elementary to middle school.                 munity that may be of interest to families.
        10       ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



                 •	   Twice per marking period, middle school           Telephone and email
                      principal sends out newsletter to parents,
                      along with an automated voice message to          •	   Schools use an automated phone system. Fam-
                      parents alerting them when the newsletter              ilies receive phone calls about school updates,
                      will be sent home.                                     emergencies, attendance, lunch balances, and
                                                                             so on. The system can translate messages into
                 •	   Because high school parents are less involved          other languages.
                      onsite than elementary and middle school
                      parents, parent coordinator creates flyers with   •	   Automated phone system can send messages to
                      information and puts them up around the                parents in the district, entire schools, or smaller
                      community in addition to mailing directly to           subsets, as necessary. District and school
                      homes, because high school parents are less            administrators and staff at the district or school
                      involved onsite than elementary and middle             level can record messages in their own voice,
                      school parents. To attract more families into          allowing the messages to be more personal and
                      school activities, the school calendar was             delivered in more than one language. Examples
                      redesigned to feature student academic and             of use on the school level include updates on
                      extracurricular events.                                testing and student achievement and reminders
                                                                             of upcoming events. Messages can be translated
                 Electronic                                                  electronically to other languages.

                 •	   Parent coordinators recently launched a new       •	   High school wants to respect family pri-
                      web site that provides information and links           vacy but still maintain accessibility. For this
                      to schools and education programs in the               reason, all teachers’ and school administra-
                      district.                                              tors’ email addresses are available on the web
                                                                             site. Parents can then get in touch with the
                 •	   Cable television program airs twice a month,           school without having the school collect extra
                      providing timely school information about              personal information from them.
                      test schedules and events.
                                                                        Information exchange on individual student
                 •	   District produces a weekly electronic newspa-     performance and progress. Information exchange
                      per that goes out to approximately 6,000 staff    focused on individual student performance is
                      and parents.                                      achieved through parent-teacher meetings and
                                                                        other communications, parent-child and parent-
                 •	 To combat the low level of literacy among its       school learning compacts, and parent-student
                    families and to reach more people, middle           homework assignments.
                                school advertises its upcoming
Information exchange            meetings on popular local radio         Parent-teacher meetings and other communications
focused on individual           stations.                               in person and through email or phone
student performance is
achieved through parent-          •	   District has a live television   •	   Middle schools are required to have at least
teacher meetings and                   show that covers lessons in           one parent-teacher conference per year, and
other communications,                  math, English, and science.           high schools must have at least two.
parent-child and parent-               It targets elementary and
school learning compacts,              middle school students. Par-     •	   In addition to parent-teacher conference day,
and parent-student                     ents can watch these shows            teachers at the honors school meet parents
homework assignments                   with their children to help           individually for 10-minute sessions at the
                                       facilitate learning at home.          beginning-of-the-year open house.
                                                           findingS from The PiloT STudy SiTeS              11



•	   School web site gives high school parents an              policy. The Title I         special events included
     access code that allows them to monitor their             coordinator helps           efforts by districts and
     child’s grades, homework, and absences.                   assure that students        schools to involve parents
                                                               and parents have a          in decisionmaking
•	   High school offers weekly progress reports to             role in the writing         activities, such as the
     parents of students at academic risk. Reports             process so every-           development of district- or
     are brought home by the student or emailed                one involved has            schoolwide improvement
     directly to the parents. Progress reports are             ownership.                  action plans and parent
     written in English or another language. The                                           involvement policies
     courts or a municipal agency tracking the            •	   School has each
     student may also receive a copy of the report.            family sign parent-
                                                               child and parent-school compact on report
•	   Middle school converted a former faculty                  card night. Because families have to come to
     lounge into a welcoming space for families. Par-          the school to discuss grades and academic
     ents can meet with faculty and staff to review            achievements, the administration uses this as
     their child’s academic portfolio, including re-           a time to introduce the compacts.
     sults on standardized testing. While the center
     is open to all families, letters go out to parents   Parent-student homework assignments
     of underachieving students inviting them to
     discuss their student’s academic performance.        •	   Curriculum nights invite children and parents
                                                               into the school to explore specific topics such
•	   A district requires that three times a year each          as math or poetry. Workshops assign creative
     school hold a report card pick-up night. Par-             projects for parents and students to work on
     ents must come to the school to pick up their             together. Year-end products are celebrated
     children’s report cards and discuss the grades            with open house galleries or poetry readings.
     with teachers.
                                                          •	   Schools collaborate to hold a contest each year
•	   High school holds frequent one-on-one meet-               around parent involvement. A parent-child
     ings with students, at which the school repre-            book club is created through high school
     sentative distributes an application to join the          English classes.
     parent-teacher organization, encouraging par-
     ents to be involved in their child’s education.      Special events. Special events included efforts
                                                          by districts and schools to involve parents in
•	   Home-school coordinator conducts home                decisionmaking activities, such as the develop-
     visits to keep parents informed if she cannot        ment of district- or schoolwide improvement
     get in touch with them in any other way.             action plans and parent involvement policies.
                                                          Parents may be invited to celebrations of academic
Parent-child and parent-school learning compacts          achievement; to parent nights that provide infor-
                                                          mation on academic programs; to arts, sports, and
•	   Middle school sends home a school-parent             extracurricular events; and to family and cultural
     compact through the school newsletter. The           celebrations.
     compact describes the upcoming parent
     involvement plans decided upon at the annual         Academic events
     Title I meeting.
                                                          •	   A week before the Super Bowl, an academic
•	   District assists schools in crafting a writ-              event is held for students in grade 9 and their
     ten parent-child-school compact and parent                families. Students and parents work with
        12       ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



schools can offer parents          statistics from the current foot-           focuses on literacy, helping parents ask ques-
numerous ways to                   ball season in interactive games.           tions when they read with their children.
volunteer: assisting in            Parents receive tips about how to
their children’s classrooms        reinforce skills learned with their    •	   High school invites parents to join their
and other activities,              child at home.                              children as they “shadow” older students for a
fundraising, tutoring                                                          day. This program helps orient students as they
at-risk students and               •	  School holds a college night.           transition into middle and high schools and
engaging in other school               The evening showcases                   encourages continuing parent involvement.
improvement efforts . . .              college students and young
                                       professionals from the local       Sports, arts, and other extracurricular events
                                       community, who lead group
                      discussions with families of students in            •	   High school parent boosters for music and
                      grades 11 and 12. Families get financial aid             athletics help raise funds and volunteer at
                      packets and application materials for colleges.          activities.

                 •	   High school holds a junior college fair for         •	   An after school recreational program for
                      students and parents.                                    parents draws fathers as well as mothers; ad-
                                                                               ministrators explain volunteer opportunities,
                 •	   A foundation grant is used to sponsor a poetry           including tutoring and mentoring programs.
                      festival.
                                                                          •	   High school has an annual talent night every
                 •	   Middle school has an English language arts               spring. School provides buses to and from the
                      assessment family night that includes a work-            event so no one need be left out.
                      shop for students and parents, followed by a
                      free dinner. Teachers go over strategies that       Cultural, family, pride, and community events
                      parents can work on at home with children.
                                                                          •	   Middle school holds an annual health promo-
                 •	   Curriculum nights invite children and parents            tion for outside organizations to distribute
                      to the school to explore specific topics, such as        information about nutrition, acne, and body
                      math or poetry, with creative projects for par-          image. Students are encouraged to participate
                      ents and students to work on together. At the            in athletic activities. Parent volunteers help
                      end of the year, final products are celebrated           coordinate the event and provide outside
                      with open house galleries or poetry readings.            contacts.

                 •	   High school holds dinners to educate parents        •	   K–8 school holds an annual end-of-the year
                      on Advanced Placement (AP) programs, ex-                 family night that draws approximately 1,200
                      plaining the accomplishments of AP students              people. This parent-teacher organization–
                      and how families can be involved.                        sponsored event features a live band, horses,
                                                                               hot dogs, and snow-cones.
                 •	   District conducts workshops on transitions
                      from middle to high school and from high            •	   Middle school has a supper for which teachers
                      school to higher education.                              prepare food, and families are invited into the
                                                                               school. There is a health fair and presentation
                 •	   School has an event that is part test prepara-           on a school program to promote reading.
                      tion, part game night. Parents accompany
                      children to learn about standardized test-          •	   International night celebrates diversity within
                      ing and to play math games. A similar event              the school community. It includes a fashion
                                                           findingS from The PiloT STudy SiTeS             13



     show, booths representing different cultural              in addressing concerns of the parents and
     backgrounds of school families, and a dinner.             school community.

•	   Middle school holds a family potluck. The event      •	   School management team includes parents
     showcases student work and gives awards to                and meets monthly to review issues and goals.
     students for their academic achievements. Fami-           They create new programs, such as a study
     lies bring in dishes that represent their cultural        skills committee, and work closely with other
     background or a specific theme of the evening.            groups to plan school events.

•	   District parent liaisons plan events for Title       •	   Network of volunteers works districtwide to
     I schools, such as a family game night based              oversee the implementation of the family and
     around literacy or a storyteller. An end-of-              community involvement policy. The network
     year awards ceremony, attended by nearly                  advocates for parent involvement and reports
     1,000 people, is for students who have made               directly to the superintendent and the board
     dramatic achievements in Title I schools.                 of education.

•	   School holds a mother-daughter tea party and         •	   School councils, which include parents, review
     a father-son basketball month to foster com-              school improvement plans, approve budgets
     munity pride as well as family pride.                     for discretionary funds, and develop and ap-
                                                               prove plans to increase family involvement.
•	   School offers cookouts for students, teachers,
     and families.                                        •	   Schools have parent councils, which provide
                                                               a venue where parents can express their con-
•	   High school has a parent appreciation dinner              cerns and advocate for the school. Co-chairs
     every fall. The school provides transporta-               meet regularly with school administration
     tion, creates displays for the school’s various           to address concerns and discuss issues of
     programs, and serves a buffet dinner made by              concern to parents.
     the culinary arts program.
                                                          •	   A citywide council is made up of parents who
Volunteer opportunities. Schools can offer parents             meet monthly and represent the schools that
numerous ways to volunteer: assisting in their                 their children attend. Goals are to create and
children’s classrooms and other activities, fund-              maintain a means of communication between
raising, tutoring at-risk students and engaging in             parents, teachers, and administrators and to
other school improvement efforts, participating in             promote an environment of understanding
parent-teacher organization activities, and serving            and common purpose.
on school councils and boards.
                                                          •	   District continually recruits parents for
Parent advisory councils and school improvement                different committees, panels, and advisory
committees                                                     councils. It consults with families when
                                                               devising new policies, focusing on ways
•	   Each school has a team of volunteer coordina-             that the school
     tors who work with the principal, help recruit            and parents can             . . . participating
     parent volunteers, and organize schoolwide                work together.              in parent-teacher
     activities.                                               Parents are also            organization activities,
                                                               involved through            and serving on school
•	   School superintendent meets with key com-                 parent-teacher              councils and boards
     municators from each school who are invested              organizations.
        14       ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



                 •	   Parent network invites parents from all                 sponsors professional development training
                      schools to collaborate on selecting strategies          around family engagement and grant writing.
                      for parent involvement that can be imple-
                      mented in schools that need improvement.           Student classroom and other activities
                      Network encourages all schools to have a
                      parent-teacher organization and assists in         •	   To promote reading, parents and community
                      setting them up.                                        leaders are invited into the school to read
                                                                              to middle schoolers and discuss literature.
                 •	   High school leadership team has a goal of               Readers are encouraged to select writing that
                      increasing parent involvement each year.                is related to their field of work and promote
                      Students are a part of the group, speaking out          reading skills as an essential part of success.
                      on what they think would help to bring their
                      families into the school.                          •	   High school gets parents involved through the
                                                                              school’s literacy program.
                 •	   A parent center supports parent advisory
                      councils, which are in every school. As part       •	   Parents are recruited to help hand out books
                      of this effort, the center hosts meetings of            to students and discuss what the children
                      an executive board, which includes repre-               are reading. The parent coordinator uses this
                      sentatives from each council. District parent           opportunity to remind both parents and chil-
                      advisory council meets once a month to plan             dren of the importance of reading.
                      projects and events, working closely with par-
                      ent liaisons to collaborate on parent-teacher      •	   Parents run concession stands at high school
                      conferences, address issues brought up by par-          games and help organize the homecoming
                      ents, and keep people informed about Title I            dance. During mid-terms week they distribute
                      funding and requirements.                               “smart food” snacks to kids, coordinate senior
                                                                              day, and run an SAT prep class.
                 Fundraising
                                                                         •	   High school parents volunteer to do commu-
                 •	   Parent-teacher organization sponsors bake               nity service projects with their children.
                      sale and uses opportunity to distribute
                      information.                                       Parent education. Parent education encompasses
                                                                         school-sponsored information sessions on topics
                 •	   High school parent boosters support music          such as adolescent development, college prepara-
                      and athletic departments.                          tion, driving safety, and technology. Workshops
                                                                         address cultural diversity, assist with home
Parent education                   •	   Parent-teacher organization      learning, and develop advocacy and other school
encompasses school-                     in K–8 school raises money       leadership skills. It also includes face-to-face and
sponsored information                   to fund field trips, school      online General Education Development (GED) and
sessions on topics such as              events, and media labs and       English language learner courses for parents. In
adolescent development.                 to help provide curriculum       some instances, workshops include both student
Workshops address                       materials for families strug-    and parents.
cultural diversity, assist              gling to cover costs.
with home learning,                                                      Parenting workshops and classes
and develop advocacy               •	   A district leadership council,
and other school                        including administrators,        •	   High school holds workshops on topics such
leadership skills                       staff, and parent representa-         as dealing with adolescents, driving safety (for
                                        tives from different schools,         parents and students), and technology.
                                                          findingS from The PiloT STudy SiTeS                15



•	   Computer workshops are provided for parents         •	   The school system           Workshop series for
     of students in grades 5–8. Parents are given             sponsors work-              parents aims to enhance
     educational web sites so they can help chil-             shops for parents           communication to help
     dren at home.                                            with children in            bridge cultural divides
                                                              alternative schools.        so parents can work
•	   School provides parent workshops each year.              Parents receive             with their children and
     Topics are determined with parental input                information on how          understand their role in
     and are frequently organized by grade to                 to advocate for their       their child’s school success
     address the needs of families at different aca-          children’s education
     demic stages. Recent workshops have covered              and are connected
     standardized testing and teen mental health              to community resources.
     issues. Representatives from local organiza-
     tions are often guest speakers.                     •	   Cultural competency workshops are held for
                                                              immigrant families, covering such topics as
•	   District runs intensive two-week summer                  how to dress for success and the educational
     training to prepare parents to become school             philosophy of the school.
     leaders.
                                                         •	   A 20-week course is held to train parents to
•	   District reaches out to grandparents who                 become school leaders and advocates.
     are primary caregivers to help them under-
     stand schools today and issues facing today’s       •	   Children enjoy movies and games while
     students.                                                parents attend workshops that help them as-
                                                              similate into a new culture and school system.
•	   Reading program brings parents into the                  The program is in collaboration with several
     school to practice reading with the program              community organizations.
     staff. Parents learn skills to take back to their
     children to support literacy in the home.           •	   District office provides shelter-based work-
                                                              shops for homeless parents.
•	   Workshop series for parents aims to enhance
     communication with children. Meetings in-           •	   Middle school sponsors parent-child lunches
     clude a psychologist and a social worker who             with speakers on topics such as bullying and
     help bridge cultural divides so parents can              harassment. School tries to pick subjects of
     work with their children and understand their            interest to older students and their families.
     role in their child’s school success.
                                                         •	   Workshops on driving safety are provided for
•	   Parent leadership training is held for those who         parents and students.
     want to become more involved in school leader-
     ship teams. They teach parents how to navigate      General Education Development programs and
     through educational jargon and ask tough but        English language learner students
     important questions of the school staff.
                                                         •	   English as a second language, GED, adult
•	   Citywide parent group conducts a computer                basic education, and work-readiness programs
     training course for parents. Parents who are             are aired on cable television. These programs
     admitted to the class must attend twice a week           help meet the needs of parents who are on
     for three weeks. If they do so, they receive a           waiting lists in the district’s adult education
     laptop for home use.                                     program.
        16       ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



                 •	   GED courses are offered in both Spanish                  practices, run parent meetings, manage fam-
                      and English. Parents in English as a second              ily events, and provide support to other staff.
                      language classes are invited to take computer
                      technology courses to be able to help them          •	   Outreach specialists run in-school training and
                      facilitate home-school learning.                         workshops for the administration, faculty, and
                                                                               staff about the importance of family involve-
                 •	   Parents who attend the English language                  ment and how to work collaboratively with
                      learner classes agree to attend three to five            parents. They perform school walk-throughs
                      family-involvement activities at the child’s             with school faculty, staff, and parents and as-
                      school and report back to the center about               sess how welcoming the school is for families.
                      their experiences.
                                                                          •	   Specialists attend conferences and workshops
                 •	   Intensive language instruction is offered to             focusing on specific subjects, including strate-
                      parents who are new immigrants.                          gies for engaging parents in student learning
                                                                               in math, science, and other areas. They share
                 •	   English language learner program develops                this information with other teachers and with
                      a video that focuses on the importance of at-            parents and student.
                      tendance, family involvement, and extracur-
                      ricular activities for high school students. The    •	   A parent center and a local community agency
                      video also provides information on alternative           collaborate to provide principals and teachers
                      paths to high school graduation.                         with cultural diversity training on the needs
                                                                               of emotionally, physically, or mentally chal-
                 Other parent education                                        lenged children.

                 •	   To empower and involve parents in their chil-       •	   Administrative staff go to district-led meet-
                      dren’s education, a high school gives parents            ings on communicating with parents. The
                      opportunities to develop workforce skills                attendees at the meetings come back and pres-
                      through office and family center jobs.                   ent the information to other staff.

                 Professional development. Professional develop-          Curriculum and print materials
                 ment opportunities can prepare staff to work with
                 parents. They include staff training and workshops       •	   A district compiles descriptions of the most
                 to support parent involvement; curriculum and                 successful parent involvement practices used
                 print material; and other professional development            by its schools; this information is distributed
                 activities.                                                   in a resource guide.

Professional development           Staff training and workshops to        •	   After a review of available literature, a district
opportunities can                  support parent involvement                  provided every teacher with a monthly copy of
prepare staff to work with                                                     a parent involvement newsletter.
parents. They include staff        District holds staff workshops on
training and workshops             how to deal with diverse families.     •	   Specialists attend leadership training and
to support parent                                                              bring books and other print materials on how
involvement; curriculum            •	   District holds staff develop-          to work with parents back to the school, where
and print material;                     ment workshops for family              they are shared in a staff library.
and other professional                  coordinators and outreach
development activities                  specialists. Tips are shared on   •	   A guide for parent involvement and teacher-
                                        how to apply evidence-based            parent interactions is provided to all staff.
                                                         findingS from The PiloT STudy SiTeS              17



     Subjects include how to explain grades to               breakfast and chat          Parent centers often
     parents during report card conferences and              with teachers.              target special populations
     how to meet with parents without making                 Sometimes students          in which engaging
     them feel defensive.                                    play music for these        parents to participate in
                                                             events.                     school or district activities
Other professional development activities                                                has been challenging
                                                        •	   Office of the parent
•	   A middle school gives teachers a walking tour           coordinator is used
     of neighborhoods that feed into the school.             as an informal drop-in center, open to parents
     Staff meet with local groups such as police             and youth.
     agencies, social services, and the NAACP.
                                                        •	   District sponsors school-based family re-
•	   Family outreach staff tour local public service         source centers that provide assistance related
     agencies, such as the unemployment office, to           to housing and other services. Families from
     get information about the resources available           other schools can also use the services.
     to their schools’ families.
                                                        •	   Principal invites parents to drop by for break-
•	   In addition to working directly with families,          fast once a week, allowing parents to stay in
     an English language learner welcoming center            communication with the administration and
     provides on-site training and tool kits for each        provide informal feedback.
     of the district’s middle and high schools to en-
     sure that families are welcomed appropriately      •	   A van is used as a mobile family resource cen-
     and that English language learner services              ter for outreach to parents where involvement
     are understood by all administration, faculty,          has been limited; the van contains informa-
     student support service providers, and staff.           tion and learning materials and is staffed by a
                                                             parent advocate and parent liaisons.
Home-school collaboration centers. School and dis-
trict parent centers have dedicated staff, including    Home-school collaborations—dedicated staff. Some
parent coordinators, liaisons, and advocates (see       states, districts, and schools assign dedicated staff
the following section). As promoted by NCLB leg-        to promote home-school coordination and outreach
islation, these practices often target special popu-    to traditionally hard-to-reach parents by forging
lations in which engaging parents to participate in     personal relationships with parents who may be un-
school or district activities has been challenging.     familiar or uncomfortable with the school system.

School-based parent drop-in centers and welcoming       Parent liaisons, coordinators, advocates, and out-
lounges                                                 reach workers

•	   Collaborating with a community agency,             •	   High schools have parent activity coordina-
     school hosts an on-site resource center that            tors who keep parents involved and aware of
     provides information on after-school activi-            education issues on the local, district, and
     ties in the community and has computers                 state levels.
     available for parents to sign up children and
     explore opportunities.                             •	   Family educators, funded by a school, work
                                                             with the school community to connect
•	   School provides space for parents to have               families with community resources, plan
     coffee and baked goods throughout the year.             workshops and training, and promote family-
     Families can drop by in the morning to have             school communication.
        18       ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



some states, districts, and        •	   District parent coordinators            •	   Family liaisons help teachers communicate
schools assign dedicated                trained in the Epstein model                 with Hispanic families regarding students’
staff to promote home-                  serve as liaisons between                    academic performance. They address under-
school coordination and                 schools and community                        lying issues affecting a child’s education and
outreach to traditionally               superintendents, providing                   connect immigrant families to appropriate
hard-to-reach parents                   feedback on what is working                  resources and support services.
                                        well and the issues that are
                                        emerging.                               •	   District newcomer center hires coaches to
                                                                                     translate lessons for students and assist at
                 •	   Home-school coordinator works directly with                    parent-teacher conferences.
                      parents, conducts meetings in English and
                      Spanish, translates materials, and goes to par-           •	   Multilingual specialists from the district help
                      ents’ place of employment if parents cannot                    families communicate with their children’s
                      leave work to see her.                                         school and translate at school and district
                                                                                     meetings whenever possible. To address
                 •	   Three parent liaisons serve a district’s Title I               the needs of a broader range of parents, the
                      schools. They set up activities, aid communi-                  specialists partner with community agencies
                      cation between parents and the administra-                     serving diverse cultural and language groups.
                      tion, and help plan and run the district-wide
                      parent-teacher organization meetings.              Programs

                 •	   District-level parent coordinators work to                Across the pilot districts interviews and public re-
                      strengthen home-school communications.                    cord searches yielded only five programs that met
                      They create and run workshops for staff, hand             the study’s definition of a program—that it have
                      out information at open houses, and work                  parental involvement as its primary goal, one or
                      with individual families with which a school              more well articulated practices linked to this goal,
                      has had difficulty communicating. Coordina-               a formal organization, and dedicated personnel
                      tors keep the district superintendant informed            or volunteers. This small number indicates either
                      of issues.                                                that few programs developed in the field have been
                                                                                rigorously evaluated for scientific evidence of ef-
                 •	   Part-time home-school coordinators facili-                fectiveness (following a service to science model)
                      tate communication between two middle                     or that research in the field has not informed the
                      schools and their English language learner                adoption of such programs (a science to service
                      families.                                                 model). Information on programs was obtained
                                                                                from publicly available written and online records
                 •	   Parent liaisons make phone calls to homes,                as well as interviews.
                      contacting families that teachers have had
                      trouble reaching, planning parent involve-                Service to science model. Following a service to
                      ment activities, making home visits, and col-             science model, districts had developed three
                      laborating with other school committees and               programs, each in different stages of evalua-
                      community resources.                                      tion, replication, and dissemination: the Parent
                                                                                Leadership Training Institute, the Collaborative
                 •	   District social workers are dedicated to work-            Partnership for Student Success, and the Family
                      ing with immigrant and refugee families.                  and Community Outreach Coordinator program.
                      They help non-English-speaking parents and                The first is a universal K–12 program that fits the
                      children navigate the education system and                programmatic category of parent education, as
                      advocate for them in schools.                             described in appendix A. The other two programs,
                                                         findingS from The PiloT STudy SiTeS             19



which are in the early stages of use, target Title           families, with the goal of helping parents and
I priority populations and aim to forge stronger             students prepare for academic transitions and
links among families, schools, and communities.              postsecondary education. The program began
The Collaborative Partnership for Student Success            in January 2008 with a goal of enrolling 100
specifically aims to serve refugee and immigrant             middle and high school students and their
families and thus fits the category of outreach to           parents and is monitoring student academic
special populations. The third program falls into            achievement.
the category of family, school, and community
partnerships and involvements.                          •	   The Family and Community Outreach Coordi-
                                                             nator program of the Boston Public Schools
•	   The Parent Leadership Training Institute was            is designed to build relationships between
     developed over a decade ago by the American             parents and teachers and make K–12 schools
     Leadership Forum, Leadership of Greater                 more welcoming. It operates out of the dis-
     Hartford, and the Connecticut Commission                trict’s Family and Community Engagement
     on Children. The program includes a retreat             Office, which also supports general outreach,
     to develop group communication, 10 weeks of             special education, and bilingual outreach
     classes on self-perception and perception of            workers. Outreach coordinators are assigned
     leadership, 10 weeks of classes on democracy            to schools to work with families, plan work-
     skills, and a community project based on local          shops and other events, provide professional
     interests. Open to all parents, the program             development on parent involvement, and help
     was implemented in 12 cities in Connecticut,            establish and sustain school councils. They
     including all three pilot districts (Bridgeport,        meet regularly and receive professional devel-
     New Haven, and Waterbury).                              opment from the district.

     An external evaluation of the program con-              The program was monitored in its first 18
     cludes—from retrospective accounts obtained             months by an external evaluator. Preliminary
     through focus groups, surveys, and interviews           descriptive findings suggest positive benefits
     with participants (but not published in a               at the elementary school level, where parents
     peer-reviewed journal)—that many parents                reported more welcoming school environ-
     engage in advocacy and improvement efforts              ments, better communication and engage-
     in schools and the wider community (Sal-                ment, and support for home learning. The
     loway 2004). But the evaluation was limited             program was conducting needs assessments
     in scope, with a response rate of less than 33          with parents and refining outcome measures
     percent. Despite the lack of published find-            for future evaluations.
     ings, communities in Florida, Rhode Island,
     and Virginia had adopted the program based         Science to service model. Following the science
     on Connecticut’s experiences and descriptive       to service model, two models that were identi-
     evidence (see, for example, Parent Leader-         fied from the literature
     ship Training Institute of Alexandria, www.        review have been tried           following the science to
     plti-alex.org/). Sites typically monitor their     in the region: Solid             service model, two models
     program activities and perceived benefits but      Foundation and the               that were identified from
     do not conduct rigorous evaluations.               School-Family-Commu-             the literature review have
                                                        nity Partnership (SFCP)          been tried in the region:
•	   The Collaborative Partnership for Student          program. Both fit into           solid foundation and the
     Success program in the Worcester Public            the family-school-com-           school-family-community
     Schools implements a multiservice program          munity partnerships and          Partnership program
     for refugee and immigrant students and             involvement category.
      20       ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



               •	   Solid Foundation was first implemented                     provide practitioners with guidance for implemen-
                    at a middle school in Manchester, New                      tation and examples of how activities can promote
                    Hampshire, and at elementary schools in                    parent involvement.
                    Nashua and Manchester. Developed by
                    the Academic Development Institute, the            Parent involvement resource centers and other networks
                    program seeks to strengthen family-school
                    connections, engage parents in children’s                  Although few parent involvement programs were
                    learning, and improve student academic and                 identified in this project, substantial resources
                    social learning. The program was based on                  were devoted to providing parent involvement
                    an initial survey and needs assessment and                 services and infrastructure for districts and
                    has been evaluated at the elementary level,                schools. Examples include the U.S. Department
                    where it is more widely used (Redding et al.               of Education’s Parent Information and Resource
                    2004). The middle school effort was discon-                Centers (PIRCs), which were active in all the pilot
                    tinued in Manchester because of competing                  states and districts, and parent welcoming centers,
                    priorities, resource limitations, and parent               which offer parents a comfortable and supportive
                    availability.                                              environment.

               •	   Connecticut was expanding implementation                   Parent Information and Resource Centers. The
                    of the SFCP Program, which was developed                   PIRCs support an array of parent involvement
                    by Joyce Epstein, director of the National                 practices and some programs, including some of
                    Network of Partnership Schools at the Johns                those listed in the previous section. Their mission
                    Hopkins University, to promote the six types               is not only to inform and educate parents but also
                    of parent involvement she has identified. Orig-            to help implement and evaluate parent involve-
                    inally implemented in three pilot districts,               ment strategies. The PIRCs aim to promote part-
                    the program was expanded to other high-                    nerships among parents, schools, and the com-
                    need urban and rural districts. The program                munity to improve student academic performance.
                    includes tailored practices at the district and            While about a third of funds are dedicated to early
                    school levels to foster collaboration. School              childhood services and programs, the PIRCs also
                    activities can include creating annual action              have a mandate to serve parents “who are severely
                    plans linked to school goals, implementing                 educationally or economically disadvantaged”
                    planned activities, and monitoring partici-                (U.S. Department of Education 2007).
                    pation, satisfaction, and perceived benefits.
                    Action teams consist of educators, parents,                The recent wave of federal funding for the PIRCs
                    and community members. Public and private                  highlights the importance of evaluation in deter-
                    partners—including the Connecticut Depart-                 mining which parent involvement strategies are
                    ment of Education, State Education Resource                effective. A national coordinating center provides
                                    Center, Capitol Region Educa-              technical assistance to support more rigorous
although few parent                 tion Council, and United Way               evaluation designs, and each PIRC is required to
involvement programs                of Connecticut—delivered                   work with an external evaluator to develop and
were identified in this             training, technical assistance,            implement quasi-experimental methods with a
project, substantial                and financial resources to the             comparison group. This evaluation initiative is
resources were devoted              three districts that piloted the           designed to provide much-needed evidence of
to providing parent                 initiative.                                what works and help to inform future planning.
involvement services                                                           At the time of the study, one PIRC was planning
and infrastructure for             The Solid Foundation and the                a quasi-experimental study of the SFCP pro-
districts and schools              SFCP programs have been                     gram, which may include middle and high school
                                   implemented elsewhere. Both                 parents.
                                                        findingS from The PiloT STudy SiTeS               21



Other coordinated parent involvement activities.       organizations, higher          Parent involvement
In addition to discussing PIRCs, key informants        education institutions,        activities in some districts
described coordinated parent involvement activi-       community agencies,            did not fit the definition
ties in their districts that did not fit the defini-   and school and dis-            of programs or practices.
tion of programs or practices. These activities are    trict personnel—met            These activities—better
better described as centers and networks in states     monthly in coordination        described as centers and
and districts with the primary goal of supporting      with the district central      networks—have the
parent involvement. For example, the Coalition for     office. This team had          primary goal of supporting
Quality Education in Manchester is a parent-run        sponsored surveys of           parent involvement
coalition that informs parents and community           parents and community
members of education issues and promotes family,       members to under-
school, and community partnerships and parent          stand their perspectives on communication and
advocacy to ensure that all students are ready to      engagement.
learn. The coalition maintains an email list for
parents of K–12 students, community members,           In Syracuse the Parent Partnership Network
educators, and key stakeholders on topics such as      developed workshops on the education system for
college preparation, district policies, budgetary      non-native English speakers. The network, which
issues, the NCLB Act, and school performance.          reports directly to the board of education and
It also disseminates parent guides and convenes        superintendent, served parents districtwide and
meetings and a biannual summit to address school       oversaw the implementation of policies for family
issues.                                                and community involvement. The Syracuse Parent
                                                       Leadership Connection—consisting of parents,
In Massachusetts the Title I Dissemination Project     community representatives, and school adminis-
provided multifaceted education and outreach to        trators and staff—held professional development
parents, teachers, and Title I officers in more than   training sessions on parent engagement and grant
140 districts on parent involvement and NCLB and       writing.
Title I guidelines and regulations. In addition to
providing technical assistance and training, print     In Nashua, New Hampshire, Partners in Education
materials, and regional workshops, it sponsors         managed a volunteer coordinator program; each
an annual conference with sessions on parent in-       school had a team of volunteer coordinators that
volvement, scientifically based research, and NCLB     worked closely with the principal, helped recruit
accountability.                                        parent volunteers, organized schoolwide activities,
                                                       made follow-up phone calls to get parent feedback,
In New Haven the City-Wide Parent Network              and monitored parent involvement, which was
served the district by building links between          recorded in a yearly evaluation.
parents, teachers, and members of the community.
Membership was open to all parents in the dis-         Parent welcoming centers. Information was also
trict. A Title I parent liaison and a family educa-    obtained from three parent welcoming centers. In
tor coordinated network activities and meetings        Worcester the English Language Learner Welcom-
where members exchanged information, identified        ing Center provided a point of contact for non-Eng-
needs, and discussed how concerns were being           lish-speaking families enrolling students in grades
addressed. Staff planned workshops for parents         7–12. Staff members test students for placement
based on identified needs. Network activities,         and provide families with information about the
including an annual conference, were supported         district’s infrastructure, policies, and requirements;
by grants from community partners. In addition,        available volunteer opportunities, programs, and re-
the community engagement team—consisting               sources; and typical adjustment issues. In addition,
of 16 representatives drawn from parent-teacher        the center offers schools in the district information
        22       ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



Parent welcoming                   sessions, onsite training, and tool         struggles to engage parents in ways that accom-
centers and networks               kits to welcome immigrant and               modate busy family schedules, immigrant fami-
were major resources in            refugee families. Targeting grades          lies’ lack of familiarity with American culture and
the pilot districts. They          6–12, the recently established              school systems, generational knowledge gaps when
provided services and              Newcomers Center in Buffalo pro-            grandparents are primary caretakers, low levels
infrastructure support             vides intensive English language            of literacy or formal education preventing parents
for promoting parent               instruction to students whose               from helping with homework or getting more
involvement strategies             formal education has been inter-            involved, language barriers, concerns about im-
                                   rupted and helps them acclimate             migration status and reporting, lack of transporta-
                                   to American culture. The center             tion, and unreliable channels of communication
                 sponsors Saturday academies for both students and             (especially if students are used for transmission).
                 parents; workshops teach parents about different
                 aspects of the school system.                                 Resource and financial barriers also exist—
                                                                               difficulties of securing initial funding for program
                 Since 1992 the Bridgeport (Connecticut) Parent                development and implementation and sustaining
                 Center has served as a gathering place that offers            funding over the long term. Sustained financial
                 parents a comfortable and supportive environ-                 commitments are critical not only for planning
                 ment, as well as opportunities for skills-based               and institutionalizing programs but also for mov-
                 training. This citywide resource is supported                 ing from discrete practices to more comprehensive
                 through a state priority-district grant. Operating            programs and their evaluation.
                 out of the center, the Ed Tech Academy offers more
                 than 20 workshops, ranging from “Orientation
                 to the Personal Computer,” which familiarizes           ImPlIcaTIoNs foR fuTuRe ReseaRch
                 parents with the use of technology, to “Supporting
                 Your Child’s Academic Growth.”                                The handful of well articulated parent involve-
                                                                               ment activities described in this project represent
                 These centers and networks were major resources               only a partial picture of what states, districts, and
                 in the pilot districts. They provided services and            schools are doing to promote engagement with
                 infrastructure support for promoting parent                   parents. Many practices are incorporated into
                 involvement strategies, from advocacy and plan-               standard school operations or the activities of
                 ning to volunteering and parent education. Target             centers and networks. But they are rarely evalu-
                 populations served ranged from any parent with                ated for effectiveness in increasing parent involve-
                 a school-age child to more selective outreach to              ment or student achievement, though efforts are
                 families eligible under Title I, recent immigrants,           often made to solicit parent input and feedback for
                 and other non-English-speaking parents. Except                future planning.
                 when mentioned in the program section above,
                 these centers and networks implement practices,               The policies, practices, and programs examined
                 not programs, and there is little rigorous evalua-            here present several challenges for evaluation.
                 tion of their activities.                                     State and district policies incorporated multiple
                                                                               goals. Even a relatively simple practice, such as
                 Barriers to parent involvement. Whether key                   a curriculum night, may address more than one
                 informants were reporting on practices, pro-                  goal—for instance, improving school-family com-
                 grams, networks, or centers, numerous barriers to             munication and supporting learning. And consis-
                 involving parents were noted at state, district, and          tent with the findings from the literature search,
                 local levels. While the evidence is anecdotal, the            the practices examined were typically not orga-
                 barriers identified are consistent with the research          nized into formal programs or articulated in ways
                 literature. For example, informants cited schools’            that would readily support rigorous evaluation and
                                                            imPlicaTionS for fuTure reSearch            23



identification of what works. Few programs were        students leave elemen-            The handful of well
identified, and each of those had multiple goals       tary school.                      articulated parent
and incorporated multiple practices. Monitoring                                          involvement activities
consisted primarily of simple counts of parents        This study’s findings             described in this project
reached or participating in a given activity.          highlight the need for            represent only a partial
                                                       additional research and           picture of what states,
Thus, if a randomized trial is considered the gold     evaluation in three areas:        districts, and schools
standard, it is difficult now to evaluate practices—                                     are doing to promote
such as open-house nights and parent-teacher           •	    Development of more         engagement with
conferences—that are used widely and are part                fully articulated           parents. but they are
of standard operations. And even if their benefits           programs that can be        rarely evaluated for
could be examined in isolation from other activi-            rigorously evaluated        effectiveness in increasing
ties, few districts or schools would agree to be             to determine what           parent involvement or
randomized to a comparison condition that with-              works and what              student achievement
held such activities. Schoolwide multicomponent              does not. (This need
programs require randomization of a relatively               reflects the large
large number of schools to treatment or compari-             number of practices under way in the pilot
son conditions, a costly undertaking.                        districts, compared with the small number of
                                                             programs with defined core components and
Although local selection and tailoring of pro-               targeted parent and student outcomes.)
gram components is consistent with commu-
nity participatory approaches and community            •	    Ongoing, systematic data collection of current
involvement, the process presents challenges in              parent involvement strategies to promote
determining fidelity and ensuring that programs              shared learning and to identify practices and
are implemented as intended or implemented                   programs that may merit further evaluation.
across intervention sites. Finally, connecting the           (This need reflects both common and untested
dots from a given parent involvement strategy                practices that are used to varying degrees
to greater parent engagement and ultimately to               across districts and schools without a knowl-
improved student achievement calls for designs               edge base of what is promising and for which
that can test the mechanisms through which                   populations.)
interventions work.
                                                       •	    Rigorous study designs that overcome the
It is difficult to align parent involvement strate-          limitations of existing evaluations of parent
gies with NCLB guidance, which promotes prac-                involvement strategies that give evidence of
tices and programs that meet the highest profes-             what works in middle and high schools. This
sional and technical standards and have the best             will allow schools to target their resources
evidence of effectiveness. Decisionmaking at the             in programs that promote student aca-
state, district, and school levels is constrained by         demic success and narrow the achievement
the paucity of programs that have been rigorously            gap experienced by districts serving large
evaluated and found effective. In the absence of             proportions of low-income, racial/ethnic
such information, implementation is based on                 minority, and recent immigrant families.
practitioner experiences, standards of practice,             (Few policies, practices, or programs have
and information on strategies that meet differ-              been monitored or rigorously evaluated in
ent parent involvement goals. Choices of what                the pilot sites, and the literature revealed
to implement to engage parents of students in                a dearth of rigorous evaluation studies of
middle school, and especially in high school, are            the effectiveness of parent involvement
limited by the lack of evidence of what works once           strategies.)
24      ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



NoTes

        1.   School departments regularly update their       2. Joyce Epstein, director of the National
             strategic plans and policy statements; some        Network of Partnership Schools at the Johns
             documents cited in this section may no longer      Hopkins University, has described an action
             be available online at the district or state       model for parent-school partnerships that
             web sites. None of the web site documents          includes six key activities: parenting, com-
             reviewed has page numbers, so page numbers         municating, volunteering, learning at home,
             are not provided for quotations throughout         decisionmaking, and collaborating with the
             the report.                                        community.
                           aPPendix a. liTeraTure revieW on ParenT involvemenT and STudenT SucceSS                        25



aPPeNdIx a                                                               Parent Involvement in Education provides similar
lITeRaTuRe RevIeW oN PaReNT                                              frameworks for family involvement (www.ncpie.
INvolvemeNT aNd sTudeNT success                                          org/DevelopingPartnerships/). These guidelines
                                                                         are consistent with the widely used model pro-
       The literature review focused on identifying strate-              posed by Epstein (1995), which delineate six types
       gies that aim to increase parent involvement dur-                 of parent involvement: parenting, communicating,
       ing the middle and high school years and evidence                 volunteering, learning at home, decision-making,
       on the effectiveness of the strategies, either in their           and collaborating with the community. All em-
       intermediate goal (increased parent involvement)                  phasize connections between home and school
       or their ultimate outcomes (enhancing student                     and underscore the importance of ensuring timely
       learning and school performance). The purpose of                  and two-way communication, creating welcoming
       the review was to inform a protocol for collecting                school environments, providing volunteer oppor-
       data on practices and programs likely to be used                  tunities and ways that parents can participate in
       by districts and schools.                                         decisionmaking and advocacy, supporting parents’
                                                                         roles in assisting student learning, and forging
Parent involvement                                                       family-school-community collaborations to pro-
                                                                         mote student performance.
       Multidimensional parent involvement has been
       conceptualized in numerous ways. Some focus               Student success
       on the goal or outcome (Epstein 1995), while
       others focus on the parenting role, expectations,                 The federal commitment to ensuring parent in-
       or intent (Ho and Willms 1996; Mattingly et al.                   volvement in public education is longstanding. In
       2002). A distinction is drawn between “naturally                  1965 the importance of parent involvement in chil-
       occurring” parent involvement, which may hap-                     dren’s education was acknowledged in provisions
       pen more frequently when children are younger                     of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
       (such as talking with a teacher when dropping off                 Decades of subsequent research correlate parent
       or picking up children), and strategies that are                  involvement with desirable student outcomes, such
       specifically designed to engage parents in chil-                  as higher grades and test scores, better attendance,
       dren’s schooling, including involvement both at                   improved classroom preparation and behavior,
       school (special events, volunteering) and at home                 and higher rates of graduation and postsecondary
       (homework monitoring, parent-child homework                       enrollment (see, for example, reviews by Carter
       assignments) (Pomerantz, Mooreman, and Litwak                     2002; Kreider et al. 2007).
       2007). This project focuses on the latter: interven-
       tions that schools are using to address the general               Jeynes (2003, 2007) reports on meta-analyses
       parent involvement requirements of the NCLB Act                   undertaken to determine the influence of parent
       and Title I funding.                                              involvement on the education outcomes of urban
                                                                         secondary school children. Using data from more
       Researchers and stakeholder groups have dissemi-                  than 50 studies, he reports a significant positive
       nated both evidence-based and anecdotal practice                  influence of parent involvement on measures of
       information about different types of involvement                  education outcomes, including an overall measure
       (Coleman et al. 2006; Dorfman and Fisher 2002;                    of academic achievement, grades, and standard-
       Epstein et al. 2002; Kohl, Lengua, and McMahon                    ized tests. This finding holds for multiple types of
       2000; Maushard et al. 2007). For example, in 1997                 parent involvement for the general population and
       the Parent Teacher Association, working with mul-                 minority students. In a quantitative meta-analysis
       tiple organizations, delineated six broad catego-                 of 25 studies, Fan and Chen (2001) found small to
       ries of parent involvement goals (Parent Teacher                  moderate relationships between parent involve-
       Association 2008). The National Coalition for                     ment and student academic achievement. Parent
26   ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



     expectations and student perceptions of these           that parents from different cultures and back-
     expectations were especially influential.               grounds—regardless of income level, language,
                                                             and length of time in this country—would like
     In a review of 51 studies published after 1994,         to be engaged, even if they have found the school
     Henderson and Mapp (2002) highlight the benefits        environment unfamiliar or uninviting (Paratore
     of parent involvement for students of all ages and      et al. 1999; Quiocho and Daoud 2006; Tinkler
     cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Yet the         2002). In a review of more than 60 studies that
     authors also point out that most studies have been      address connections between schools and racial/
     done with younger children, that the research           ethnic and cultural minority families, Boethel
     on older students is relatively thin, and that not      (2003) underscores the important role parents can
     all forms of involvement are uniformly positive.        play in student achievement among low-income
     For example, parents may be more involved with          populations, while calling for additional research,
     homework and more in contact with schools if            especially once students have advanced beyond the
     their children are doing poorly (for example, Shu-      elementary years.
     mow and Miller 2001).
                                                             Despite potential benefits of parent involvement,
     In one of the largest studies Catsambis (2001) uses     numerous structural, cultural, and family barriers
     data on more than 13,000 families included in the       to such involvement have been identified (Apple-
     National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988         seed Network 2006; Fogle and Jones 2006). These
     to investigate the connections between parent in-       include limited school resources for supporting
     volvement practices and the educational outcomes        parent involvement, limited training and time for
     of high school seniors. Multiple practices, such as     teachers and other school staff to foster parent en-
     setting high education expectations and enhanc-         gagement, complicated work and family schedules
     ing learning opportunities, were positively associ-     that make it difficult for parents to attend school
     ated with the education success of high school          functions or participate in children’s homework
     seniors, regardless of whether parental practices       and other educational activities, and cultural and
     were measured in middle school or high school.          language barriers to meaningful communication
     Negative effects of some forms of involvement,          and participation (Arias and Morillo-Campbell
     such as parents contacting the school, disappeared      2008; Epstein et al. 2002; Weiss et al. 2005a).
     when analyses controlled for students’ problem
     behaviors. This suggests that a high level of contact   Parents are more likely to be involved in schools
     may be related to children’s poor performance and       and their children’s education when their sons and
     reflect school interactions with parents, whether       daughters are young, and strategies to engage par-
     these are initiated by parents or teachers.             ents in preschool and early schooling are relatively
                                                             well documented (see Bohan-Baker and Little
     Disagreement does exist about the strength of           2004; Chen 2001; Kessler-Sklar and Baker 2000;
     evidence and causal relationship between different      Miedel and Reynolds 1999; U.S. Department of
     forms of parent involvement and student out-            Education, National Center for Education Statistics
     comes (Juvonen et al. 2004; Thorkildsen and Scott       1998). Volunteerism, participation in school coun-
     Stein 1998), especially for racial/ethnic minority      cils and planning, attendance at school events,
     populations (Hong and Ho 2005; Yan and Lin              and parental monitoring all typically decrease as
     2002), though almost all studies argue that parents     children become more independent (Juvonen et al.
     can help a child’s learning and transition through      2004).
     middle school to high school (Ho and Willms
     1996; Keith and Keith 1993; Sanders and Herting         Strategies to involve parents in middle and high
     2001) and from high school into postsecondary           school homework assignments and school ac-
     education (Trusty 1999). There is also evidence         tivities have been developed, but these are often
                            aPPendix a. liTeraTure revieW on ParenT involvemenT and STudenT SucceSS                 27



        difficult to implement and sustain (Sanders and          but which target other outcomes—such as violence
        Epstein 2000). Yet parent involvement during early       prevention, substance use reduction, and character
        and middle adolescence remains an important              and youth development—were excluded.
        factor for student success (Epstein 2004; Sanders
        2001; Simon 2004; Simons-Morton and Crump                The keywords and databases used in the literature
        2003), and substantial federal, state, and local         search are presented in appendix B. In addition, a
        resources are being devoted to actively engaging         web-based search was conducted of a broad range
        parents in children’s schooling beyond the elemen-       of key stakeholder web sites, as well as the web
        tary years.                                              sites of the U.S. Department of Education, Na-
                                                                 tional Coalition for Parent Involvement In Educa-
Scope of the review                                              tion, the Family Involvement Network of Educa-
                                                                 tors, the Appleseed Network, and the National
        The review is limited to studies published within        Partnership of Network Schools. These web sites
        the last decade. Literature that considers the gen-      are helpful in providing links to evaluation studies
        eral association between parent involvement and          in addition to examples of strategies designed to
        student outcomes, such as described in Henderson         promote parent involvement (Weiss et al. 2005b).
        and Mapp (2002), was excluded from this analysis
        in order to focus on actual strategies that have         From this pool of information a small subset
        been documented.                                         of literature on practices and programs met
                                                                 the screening criteria of relevant timeframe
        Two questions on evidence of effectiveness were          (1997–2008), intervention strategy (parenting
        considered:                                              policy, program, or practice), sample (parents with
                                                                 students in grades 6–12), and outcome. Relevant
        •	   Does a particular practice or program that          outcomes included documentation of increased
             has parent involvement as a specified compo-        parent involvement, with or without linkage to
             nent or priority succeed in increasing parent       student outcomes. Evaluations ranged from case
             engagement?                                         studies, qualitative interviews, and observations
                                                                 to quasi-experimental research designs. Studies
        •	   If so, is there evidence that the parent involve-   that met relevance criteria were included, even if
             ment activities directly contribute to intended     the evidence standards in WWC Evidence Stan-
             student outcomes, such as improved aca-             dards for Reviewing Studies (U.S. Department of
             demic performance in a subject area, higher         Education 2008) are not fully met. This literature
             rates of graduation, or postsecondary school        is included because it reflects the state of the field
             attendance?                                         and is the best evidence available.

        The search focused on practices and programs that        The literature review yielded about 200 articles
        encourage parent involvement at school and at            from 1997 to 2008 that describe an array of prac-
        home; it did not uncover any evaluations of poli-        tices and a smaller number of programs. This sec-
        cies. The search encompassed programs for which          tion first presents information obtained on prac-
        parent involvement is both the primary outcome           tices, followed by information on programs, which
        and a clearly specified component of a larger            often consist of multiple coordinated practices.
        program that targets student academic success.           Only about 40 articles reported on evaluation;
        The inclusion of the latter is important, especially     these present the findings of small-scale studies,
        at the secondary level, where parent engagement          use quasi-experimental designs, and are primarily
        typically is not an end in itself but a mechanism        descriptive in nature, following parents or stu-
        for improving school success. Programs that may          dents who have been in programs without control
        occur in schools and include parent involvement,         groups. No evaluations of policy were uncovered,
28      ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



        and no study met criteria for rigorous evaluation;     policies and procedures for assessment, discipline,
        those that are included provide the best avail-        attendance, and opportunities for parent involve-
        able evidence. There is little evidence that parent    ment. The NCLB Act also underscores the timely
        involvement strategies succeeded in increasing         exchange of information about an individual
        parent engagement or contributed directly to           student’s performance. While articles promote
        improved student performance in a subject area,        the use of these practices and describe how they
        higher rates of graduation, or enrollment in post-     can be implemented, they have not been evalu-
        secondary education.                                   ated in randomized controlled trials or quasi-
                                                               experimental studies.
Typology of parent involvement practices
                                                               •	   General information exchange. Schools have
        Many practices are described in published articles          multiple structures for getting informa-
        or on web sites intended for audiences of practitio-        tion out to parents—newsletters, web sites,
        ners (for example, Bouffard and Stephen 2007), but          automatic phone systems, cable television, and
        there is virtually no strong evidence that the given        press releases. There appear to be fewer struc-
        practice increases parent engagement or affects             tures to ensure that feedback from parents is
        student and school performance.                             actively solicited. A literature on electronic
                                                                    methods and systems to support timely com-
        To organize descriptive accounts of single                  munication is emerging (Dunman 1998; Lunts
        practices, a typology was created that groups               2003; Vaden-Kiernan 2005). For example,
        similar practices into one of eight categories.             Barron and Ivers (1998) analyzed the content
        Each category describes a strategic approach that           of school web sites and found that 71 percent
        has been used to garner parent involvement. In              of secondary schools used this medium to
        addition to helping summarize the literature, this          share information.
        typology has proven useful in characterizing in-
        formation collected from the nine districts where      •	   Information exchange on individual student
        the protocol was piloted. Grouping practices with           performance. This group of practices focuses
        similar features into a typology is useful both             on regular communication between home
        for displaying the diversity of what has been               and school about a child’s performance and
        reported and for potentially identifying which              progress (Jesse, Davis, and Pokorny 2004;
        types of practices might be candidates for future           Ouimette, Feldman, and Tung 2006; West
        evaluation.                                                 2000). The literature notes how schools are
                                                                    using web portals and other forms of elec-
        The following typology organizes information on             tronic communication to provide parents
        practices into eight categories. These groupings            with frequent updates on grades, comple-
        are not necessarily mutually exclusive; there can           tion of homework assignments, and other
        be overlap when, for example, a special event may           performance indicators (Bird 2006; Shinn
        be an opportunity for both general information              2002; Tonn 2005). A report by Rogers (2007)
        exchange and parent education.                              suggests that increases in communication
                                                                    frequency and detail in a subject area may
        The first two categories focus on practices to              be positively related to student achieve-
        improve parent-school communication and the                 ment, but more recent questions have been
        timely flow of information. Such practices are              raised about the appropriate balance between
        consistent with guidance of the NCLB Act that               adolescent autonomy and parent involvement
        emphasizes the importance of effective com-                 and monitoring (Hoffman 2008). In addition,
        munication about school choice and schoolwide               face-to-face parent-teacher conferences are a
        issues such as school performance, general school           longstanding school tradition.
                    aPPendix a. liTeraTure revieW on ParenT involvemenT and STudenT SucceSS               29



The next two categories of parent involvement                that analyzes information from 160 schools
practices focus on school efforts to involve parents         serving high enrollments of Hispanic students.
in school events and volunteer activities. In its            Data from multiple sources, including the
guidance to schools, NCLB emphasizes the impor-              rosters of association memberships, state-level
tance of scheduling meetings at times that are con-          school characteristics, and teacher surveys on
venient for parents and, if necessary, using Title I         parent involvement, describe how Hispanic
money to provide transportation and childcare                parent representation on local school councils
to enable parents to attend meetings and training            in Chicago was associated with an increase in
sessions. The legislation also encourages districts          the number of Hispanic students meeting aca-
and schools to involve parents in decisionmaking             demic standards. This literature is descriptive;
activities, such as the development of district- or          as with information exchange practices, no
schoolwide improvement action plans and parent               experimental or quasi-experimental evidence
involvement policies.                                        was identified.

•	   Special events. Parents are invited to celebra-    The next two categories focus on education and
     tions of academic achievement; parents’            training efforts. The first comprises parent educa-
     nights that provide information on academic        tion practices, including parenting skills develop-
     programs (Henderson 2004); arts, sports, and       ment and leadership and advocacy training; the
     extracurricular events; and family and cul-        second focuses on in-service and other training
     tural celebrations (Rubenstein and Wodatch         for staff on parent involvement. These practices are
     2000). Surveys of students in middle and high      consistent with the NCLB focus on building the
     schools and their parents indicate that partici-   capacity of both parents and education person-
     pation in these activities drops in secondary      nel to work in concert for the benefit of students.
     school (Juvonen et al. 2004). A description        Specifically, schools and districts receiving Title I
     of an urban school-university collaboration        funds are charged with the task of helping parents
     reports an increased participation in a back-      understand assessments and academic standards,
     to-school night as a result of having graduate     how to monitor their children’s progress, and how
     students assist teachers in calling parents and    to work with their children to improve achieve-
     distributing multiple-language brochures           ment. Training sessions to help parents learn how
     (Shirley et al. 2006).                             to involve other parents are also encouraged. Fur-
                                                        ther, districts and schools are expected to educate
•	   Volunteer opportunities. Parents volunteer in      staff on how to communicate with parents and
     numerous ways: assisting in their child’s class-   work with them as equal partners.
     room and other activities (Halsey 2004), fund-
     raising (Potter 1998), tutoring at-risk students   •	   Parent education. Parent education provides
     and being involved in other school improve-             families with the information and skills neces-
     ment efforts (Allen and Chavkin 2004), partici-         sary to support successful home partnerships,
     pating in parent-teacher organization activities        become leaders within the school community,
     (Arguea and Conroy 2003; Haviland 2004),                support academic achievement at home, and
     and serving on school councils and boards               foster healthy adolescent development (Cal-
     (Anhalt, Allexsaht-Snider, and Civil 2002;              lahan, Rademacher, and Hildreth 1998; Dodd
     Brown and Beckett 2007; Jasis and Ordenez-Ja-           and Konzal 2000; Institute for Responsive
     sis 2004). Relatively few parents—an estimated          Education 2005; Maroney and Montemayor
     5–6 percent—become engaged in school                    1997; Montemayor 1997; Toney, Kelley, and
     governance and advocacy (Ritblatt et al. 2002).         Lanclos 2003). Again, these studies are de-
     But there may be benefits to such participa-            scriptive. For example, the report by Callahan,
     tion, as noted in a report by Marschall (2006)          Redemacher, and Hildreth is based on 26
30   ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



          middle school students and their parents. The           Aspiazu, Bauer, and Spillet (1998) describe a
          Institute for Responsive Education’s evaluation         community-based family resource center in
          of parent trainings involved posttest surveys           which children were tutored. Freidlaender
          of participants, interviews, and focus groups           (1999) describes a middle school center pri-
          with selected parents one to three months after         marily serving Black and Hispanic families.
          training to ascertain whether they were using           In-school family centers can provide parents
          the knowledge and skills covered.                       with an accessible and friendly place to get to-
                                                                  gether and talk informally with teachers and
     •	   Professional development for faculty and                other school staff. Centers have been identified
          staff. This takes a variety of forms, including         as a strategy for creating a welcoming school
          in-service training for staff on how to work            environment that values parents as partners
          effectively with parents (Allen and Migliore            (Burke and Picus 2001; Hiatt-Michael 2003).
          2005; Hoover-Dempsey et al. 2002) and events            However, beyond records of the number of
          sponsored by schools and communities that               parents participating in these centers, there is
          raise awareness of the strengths and challenges         little evaluation evidence of the direct effect
          parents bring to the home-school collabora-             on children’s education or student perfor-
          tion. An example of the latter is provided in           mance of parent involvement.
          McCullum’s (1997) account of how a Texas
          high school with many immigrant students           •	   Dedicated staff to promote home-school coordi-
          and historically low levels of parent participa-        nation and outreach to traditionally hard-to-
          tion partnered with a community organization            reach parents. These staff forge personal rela-
          to sponsor a professional day for staff that in-        tionships with parents who may be unfamiliar
          cluded a neighborhood walk and lunch for par-           or uncomfortable with the school system
          ents and teachers. Interviews with parents and          (Dorfman and Fisher 2002). Outreach coordi-
          teachers suggest that this staff day was useful         nators can be found in schools, at the district
          in encouraging parents to visit the school and          or state level, and in community organizations.
          communicate with teachers more regularly. No            Available studies include descriptive accounts
          experimental or quasi-experimental studies of           of practices to reach out to migrant families
          the effectiveness of professional development           (Lopez, Scribner, and Mahitivanichcha 2001),
          around parent involvement were found.                   low-income urban Black parents (Ouimette,
                                                                  Feldman, and Tung 2006; Sanders and Epstein
     The last two categories address practices that               1998), and Hispanic parents (Auerbach 2004;
     promote collaborations between home and school               Freidlaender 1999; Lopez, Scribner, and
     and with the community through the creation of               Mahitivanichcha 2001; Mitra 2006; Segura
     school and district parent centers with dedicated            2006; Stone 2003). Evidence of impact is based
     staff, including parent coordinators, liaisons, and          on on-site observations and interviews with
     advocates. As promoted by the NCLB Act, these                key informants as well as documentation of
     practices often target special populations in which          the number of parents reached.
     engaging parents has been challenging (such as
     parents with limited English proficiency) to par-       While data to support the effectiveness of any
     ticipate in school or district activities.              single practice are very limited, several evalu-
                                                             ation studies have described how a combina-
     •	   Parent centers. Found in schools and the           tion of practices can be used to promote parent
          broader community, parent centers aim to           involvement (Sanders and Simon 2002; Belanardo
          provide families with resources for promot-        2001). For example, one report describes how a
          ing student academic achievement and               Boston high school reached out to parents with
          family participation in school organizations.      general information sessions, special events, and
                          aPPendix a. liTeraTure revieW on ParenT involvemenT and STudenT SucceSS              31



       communication about individual student perfor-         •	   Parent and family assistance with core sub-
       mance (Ouimette, Feldman, and Tung 2006).                   jects, including homework (Ball, Demo, and
                                                                   Wedman 1998; Epstein, Simon, and Salinas
       Sanders and Epstein (1998) describe how middle              1997; Van Voorhis 2003). These programs may
       and high schools in disadvantaged urban areas               incorporate parent education both on the sub-
       reached out to parents through a combination of             ject matter and on general parenting practices
       general information dissemination, greater collab-          that support student achievement. Specific
       oration on individual student performance, special          program activities may include staff develop-
       events, volunteer opportunities, and community              ment that encourages family involvement,
       collaboration. These bundled practices may also             changes in curriculum, and family homework
       be considered programs but are described more in            assignments.
       terms of individual practices that may vary from
       one school to the next and over time. Their evalu-     •	   Outreach to special populations, including
       ations do not entail comparison groups and thus             Hispanic families, other non-English speak-
       do not meet rigorous standards of evidence (U.S.            ers, and new immigrants, often with the goal
       Department of Education 2008).                              of improved student achievement, graduation,
                                                                   and postsecondary attendance (Chrispeels et
Typology of programs                                               al. 2007; Gandara and Moreno 2002; Tierney
                                                                   2002). These programs include a diverse set
       The literature review identified 16 programs                of practices (such as parent education and
       that had parent involvement as a primary goal.              home-school collaboration) targeting specific
       Information about these programs is summarized              populations.
       here. Table A1 at the end of this appendix provides
       additional details on each of these programs and       •	   Family, school, and community partnerships
       the available evaluation evidence.                          and involvements, including multicomponent
                                                                   programs and community organizing ap-
       This list does not include programs seeking                 proaches designed to increase parent partici-
       systemic school reform (Cook, Murphy, and Hunt              pation in school governance and improvement
       1998) whose goals extend beyond parent involve-             (Redding et al. 2004). Again, these programs
       ment. Also excluded are programs whose main                 incorporate multiple practices depicted in the
       outcome is character development, youth develop-            practices typology, including home-school
       ment, or nonacademic behaviors (for example,                collaboration, staff development, parent
       health promotion or risk prevention) rather than            education, volunteer opportunities, special
       parent involvement. The 16 parent involvement               events, and information exchange.
       programs do not all map directly onto the typol-
       ogy of practices because they typically involve        As with the typology of practices, these program
       more than one practice. They cluster in four           categories are not necessarily exclusive. For
       categories:                                            example, a program that reaches out to Hispanic
                                                              families may target improved student academic
       •	   Parent education, including curricula, work-      achievement in a particular subject area and also
            shops, and conferences that aim to provide        an improved school-community partnership. Pro-
            parents with the information and skills to        grams may address multiple parent involvement
            support their children and to become school       goals, as laid out by Epstein (1995) and others, in-
            leaders and advocates (Vidano and Sahafi          cluding Project Appleseed and the National Parent
            2004; Chrispeels, Gonzalez, and Arellano          Teacher Association (communicating, parenting,
            2004; Ramirez 2004; Corbett and Wilson            volunteering, learning at school or home, decision-
            2000, 2008; Sulloway 2004).                       making, or connecting to community resources).
32   ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



     These goals are also consistent with the language           levels attend sessions in which they develop
     of NCLB and Title I parent involvement guidance.            the skills to work with other parents, skills
     For example, family, school, and community                  that focus on improving children’s academic
     partnerships seek to involve parents in school              achievement, communication skills, and
     improvement efforts.                                        self-esteem. The workshops complement
                                                                 skills-training that educators receive in a
     Programs focused on outreach to special popula-             companion training event. After attending
     tions seek to ensure that schools are welcoming             the workshop, the trained parents meet with
     environments for non-English-speaking families              other parents weekly for six sessions to teach
     and others, including recent immigrants. Parent             the skills and facilitate role playing.
     education programs seek to involve parents in
     their child’s educational experience and provide       The other three parent education programs focus
     skills to help parents support their children’s        on preparing parents to become leaders and advo-
     learning at home and become leaders and advo-          cates for their children and schools:
     cates. Programs also address specific core subjects
     and student achievement. These programs help           •	   The Commonwealth Institute for Parent
     translate the spirit of federal and state guidelines        Leadership trains parent leaders to develop
     into action.                                                and implement school improvement projects.
                                                                 Parents of students in grades K–12 attend a
     Parent education. Of the 16 programs identified in          series of three 2-day workshops on such topics
     the literature review, 6 are primarily parent educa-        as school operations and school reform. They
     tion programs. Three of these emphasize parenting           return home to work with other parents to
     skills aimed at supporting student achievement              execute projects aimed at increasing student
     and helping parents understand how schools work:            academic achievement.

     •	   The Parent Involvement Education Program,         •	   The Parent Leadership Training Institute
          from the Parent Institute for Quality Educa-           trains parents of elementary and secondary
          tion, is a nine-week training program that             school students to become advocates for their
          provides parents of students in grades K–12            children. Initial training consists of a day-
          with information on how schools work and               long retreat. A 20-week course then covers
          how parents can support students up through            topics such as working with diversity, critical
          postsecondary education.                               thinking, public speaking, coalition building,
                                                                 policy and municipal budgets, and city, state,
     •	   PASSport to Success is a training program for          and federal law. The program concludes with a
          parents of students in grades K–12 that con-           project based on participant interest.
          sists of eight modules—parent attitudes, the
          home environment, study skills, homework          •	   The Building Successful Partnerships Pro-
          and learning expediters, note taking skills,           gram, sponsored by the National Parent
          test preparation, memory and thinking skills,          Teacher Association, trains members with
          and memory and reading skills—that can be              children in grades K–12 to conduct workshops
          taught as self-contained units or as part of a         on parent involvement and to implement the
          workshop series.                                       organization’s National Standards for Parent
                                                                 and Family Involvement at the local level.
     •	   Parent Expectations Support Achievement,
          sponsored by the Los Angeles County Office        Although several of these parent education pro-
          of Education, is a train-the-trainer work-        grams have been used widely, evidence of their
          shop series. Parents of students at all grade     effectiveness is sparse and often hard to find. For
                   aPPendix a. liTeraTure revieW on ParenT involvemenT and STudenT SucceSS                33



example, program literature says that Parents               students received higher science grades than
Expectations Support Achievement has been used              those in comparison classrooms. TIPS has
widely in the United States and in Europe and               also been used as a component of schoolwide
refers to an evaluation that was to be completed            strategies to increase parent involvement
in 2005. But no information on this evaluation              (Sheldon and Esptein 2005).
has been located. Since 1987 the Parent Involve-
ment Education Program in California has trained       •	   An evaluation of MegaSkills reported in-
more than 375,000 parents of K−12 students.                 creases in scores on standardized tests of
Evaluations have been conducted—including a                 student achievement, in parent attendance at
small longitudinal study of student progression             open houses, and in parent leadership in par-
to higher education (Vidano and Sahafi 2004)                ent-teacher organizations in a Texas middle
and a randomized controlled trial within a single           and high school serving primarily low-income
middle school (Chrispeels, Gonzalez, and Arel-              Hispanic families (Chavkin, Gonzalez, and
lano 2004)—that note positive effects for a range           Rader 2000).
of parent outcomes but no difference in student
academic outcomes or behavioral reports com-           Two other programs focus on math and involve
pleted by teachers. These findings were consistent     parents in workshops to support their children’s
with those reported in previous studies conducted      class work:
at the elementary school level (Chrispeels and
Rivero 2001; Zellman et al. 1998). Interviews and      •	   When Equals/Family Math was developed
questionnaires given to graduates of the Common-            in the mid-1980s it was primarily for grades
wealth Institute for Parent Leadership suggest that         K−6. In the 1990s it was expanded to Pre-K
parents sustain their involvement in school gover-          (Family Math for Young Children) and middle
nance over time (Corbett and Wilson 2000, 2008).            school (Family Math for Middle School Years).
                                                            Family math training is held around the
Parent and family assistance with core subjects.            country; no recent evaluations were found.
Four programs were identified that address
student achievement in core academic subject           •	   Math and Parent Partnerships was designed
areas. Two of these—Teachers Involve Parents in             as a K−12 program; here, too, limited evalu-
Schoolwork (TIPS) and MegaSkills—promote par-               ation exists. But Civil, Bratton, and Quintos
ent involvement in student homework assignments             (2005) offer a qualitative study of how the
and reinforcement of study skills.                          program was used by parents.

•	   TIPS has been implemented in urban set-           Outreach to special populations. Several parent
     tings and in schools serving large numbers        involvement programs that targeted outreach to
     of non-English-speaking parents. It has           specific populations were found, including an ini-
     been evaluated in several studies, including      tiative that supports home-school visits and more
     a one-year longitudinal evaluation (without       parent-teacher communication.
     a comparison group) by Epstein, Simon,
     and Salinas (1997). Completion of more            •	   Many elementary and middle schools in
     homework assignments was correlated with               California competed for state grants under the
     better achievement. Balli, Demo, and Wed-              Nell-Soto Parent Involvement Act to imple-
     man (1998) conducted a small evaluation in             ment an outreach program, which requires at
     three suburban classrooms taught by one                least 50 percent of teachers at the school site
     teacher, and Van Voorhis (2003) led a quasi-           to voluntarily agree to participate in periodic
     experimental study with 253 students in a              visits to student homes or in community
     suburban middle school. In this study TIPS             meetings. Teachers are compensated for the
34   ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



          time spent in these activities. An evaluation              including workshops. They meet one-on-one
          was legislatively mandated after first-year                with program counselors frequently and
          implementation; results are not yet available              attend family event nights and field trips
          (Sack 2005; California State Legislature As-               to local college campuses. Annual student
          sembly Bill 50 of 2007).                                   outcome data provided to the California state
                                                                     legislature indicate that a greater proportion
     •	   The Parent School Partnership is sponsored                 of Puente students complete college prepara-
          by the Mexican American Legal Defense and                  tion courses, take college entrance exams,
          Education Fund. The target population is                   and enroll in college directly from high school
          Hispanic families with children at any grade               than students not participating in the pro-
          level. Parents attend training that focuses on             gram. (University of California Office of the
          school advocacy and preparing children for                 President 2008). Evaluations have also found
          postsecondary education. After this training,              significant differences between Puente and
          graduates implement a 16-week curriculum                   non-Puente students in their attitudes toward
          addressing parent rights, parent-teacher confer-           school, preparation for college, and aspira-
          ences, the structure and function of schools               tions to attend and persist in college (Gandara
          and districts, principles of leadership, and               2002; Moreno 2002). Grubb, Lara, and Valdez
          the path to higher education. The program’s                (2002) and Cooper (2002) provide qualitative
          limited evaluation includes quasi-experimental             accounts of parents’ role in the program.
          pretest and posttest surveys of parents of
          elementary and middle school students and a           Family, school, and community partnerships and
          small study involving two elementary schools          involvement. The last category of parent in-
          (Chrispeels et al. 2007). Pretests and posttests      volvement programs identified in the literature
          indicated increases in parent knowledge of the        review aims to establish stronger family-school-
          education system, parent expectations of col-         community partnerships. These programs have
          lege for their children, parent self-efficacy, and    been used with diverse populations; as with the
          parent participation in school-related activities.    other programs, evaluation evidence is limited.

     •	   Postsecondary Access for Latino Middle-Grade          •	   Engage! All Families Institutes and the Engage
          Students (PALMS) helps secondary school                    All Families Five-Step Process are built on
          leaders develop parental outreach programs                 the Family Friendly School model. A five-step
          through its Tools for Latino Family Outreach, a            process helps schools create a program to
          set of 14 self-facilitated tools that guide schools        improve student success by involving all stake-
          in planning, implementing, and assessing                   holders in achieving the mission of the school,
          programs that engage and empower families                  in part through needs assessments. Schools
          to support their children’s pursuit of higher              receive technical assistance (including survey
          education (Education Development Center,                   data analysis), coaching, and professional
          Inc. 2006). Full implementation of the PALMS               development. The institutes support three-day
          process is being piloted by middle schools in              conferences for teams of administrators, staff,
          Arkansas and New York. This is a new pro-                  and parents to develop measurable plans for
          gram, and no evaluation data are yet available.            home-school partnerships. No formal evalua-
                                                                     tion studies of these programs were found.
     •	   The Puente Project works with struggling high
          school and community college students and             •	   Solid Foundation of the Academic Develop-
          their parents—many of whom are Hispanic—                   ment Institute originated as an elementary
          throughout California. Parents sign contracts              school program, but in the past five years it has
          agreeing to participate in program activities,             moved into middle and high schools. A school
                   aPPendix a. liTeraTure revieW on ParenT involvemenT and STudenT SucceSS                35



    works with an external partner to identify its     younger students, more information was found for
    strengths and weaknesses, then creates, imple-     programs in middle schools than in high schools.
    ments, and evaluates an action plan to address     Indeed, several of the programs described above
    them. One tool is the School-Community             were designed for parents of elementary students
    Index, a report based on parent and teacher        and subsequently expanded for parents of older
    survey responses and a needs assessment.           students. Although the literature review was
    Parents also serve on school leadership teams.     intended to identify only programs at the second-
    A school-level evaluation was conducted with       ary level, search terms yielded studies pertaining
    a sample of 129 high-poverty elementary            to parents of elementary school children and child
    schools. A statistically significant increase in   outcomes prior to middle school (for example,
    students meeting expectations on the Illinois      Dearing et al. 2007). At times, evidence obtained
    Standards Assessment Test (51.3 percent to         from elementary school evaluations was used to
    55.8 percent in participating schools) was         support overall program efforts, even if no evalua-
    noted over two years, compared with a 0.1          tion of the efficacy for parents with older students
    percentage point change statewide and 2.5 per-     was available (Redding et al. 2004). A comparison
    centage point change in a statistically matched    underscores this point: the Campbell Collabora-
    control group (Redding et al. 2004).               tion’s systematic review of parent involvement
                                                       interventions on elementary school achievement
Program evaluations. In sum, while multiple            identified 20 randomized controlled trials (Nye,
programs to increase parent involvement are being      Turner, and Schwartz 2006).
implemented at schools across the country, there is
a paucity of rigorous evaluation of these programs.    By contrast, this review of middle and high school
Moreover, despite conceptual models that hypoth-       programs yielded few rigorous evaluations and
esize the connection between parent involvement        only one small randomized controlled trial (Parent
and student outcomes, few evaluations have tested,     Involvement Education Program), which was lim-
in mediation or other analyses, whether parent         ited by a less than desirable participation rate. Solid
involvement is the mechanism through which             evidence of the effectiveness of parent involvement
programs may achieve results. This is not to say       strategies, especially at the high school level, is
that parent involvement programs have no merit         simply not available. Given the resources devoted to
or benefits—rather, that the causal linkage has not    supporting parent involvement and federal, state,
been verified through rigorous evaluation.             and district guidance, there is a clear need to iden-
                                                       tify which practices and programs merit evaluation
Because the influence of parent involvement            and which evaluation designs best fit the complexi-
on student outcomes is better documented for           ties of parent involvement initiatives.
36        ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



 Table a1
 Parent involvement programs identified in the literature
     Program type and
     name (sponsor)       description                        Populations served        evaluation
     Parent education
     Parent               •	 nine-week training program •	 racial/ethnic               •	 vidano and Sahafi (2004) conducted a
     involvement             provides parents of               minority, inner-city       performance evaluation of services at the
     education               students in grades K–12 with      parents; immigrant         PiQe in San diego county. They followed
     Program (Parent         information on how schools        parents.                   241 hispanic PiQe students who graduated
     institute for           work and how parents can       •	 operating in               between 1997 and 1999. They report that
     Quality education,      support students through          california since           children of parents attending and graduating
     PiQe)                   postsecondary education.          1987; more than            from the PiQe program achieved a high
                          •	 Taught by trained facilitators    375,000 parents            school graduation rate of 93 percent, were
                             in parents’ primary               have completed             more likely to be college bound when
                             language. upon completion         the initial training,      compared with all students from the county,
                             of training, parents can          and 20,000 have            and were more likely to be accepted at a four-
                             participate in a mentorship       participated in            year college.
                             program with additional           mentoring (www.         •	 chrispeels, gonzalez, and arellano (2004)
                             support for accessing school      piqe.org).                 conducted a small, classroom-level
                             services and promoting                                       randomized controlled trial at a middle
                             involvement.                                                 school. Positive effects for a range of parent
                                                                                          outcomes are reported, from knowledge
                                                                                          to self-efficacy and participation in home-
                                                                                          learning activities. Parents in the program
                                                                                          attended more teacher conferences. Teachers
                                                                                          noted no differences in student academic
                                                                                          performance or behavior. findings are
                                                                                          consistent with those reported in previous
                                                                                          studies at the elementary school level
                                                                                          (chrispeels and rivero 2001).
                                                                                       •	 Zellman et al. (1998) report on evaluations
                                                                                          in two urban california school districts. in
                                                                                          one, outcomes included teacher reports of
                                                                                          student classroom behaviors and parent-
                                                                                          school contact as well as parent self-reports
                                                                                          of changes in knowledge, expectations, and
                                                                                          behaviors. in the second, school records of
                                                                                          attendance, grades, and disciplinary actions
                                                                                          were examined. PiQe graduates reported
                                                                                          changes in their knowledge, attitudes, and
                                                                                          behavior; however, teachers reported far less
                                                                                          contact with parents than parents reported
                                                                                          with teachers. Teacher reports of student
                                                                                          behaviors showed no effects of parental
                                                                                          attendance. There were no changes in
                                                                                          student grades or behaviors.




                                                                                                                            (conTinued)
                             aPPendix a. liTeraTure revieW on ParenT involvemenT and STudenT SucceSS                                    37



Table a1 (conTinued)
Parent involvement programs identified in the literature
 Program type and
 name (sponsor)        description                           Populations served      evaluation
 Parent education (continued)
 PaSSport to       •	 K–12 parent-training        •	 implemented           •	 ramirez (2004) describes implementation
 Success Training     program consists of eight      throughout the           and self-reported parent outcomes in a small
 program based on     modules—parent attitudes,      united States and        study in one middle school in california with
 the book, Parents    the home environment,          in canada. as of         fewer than 20 participants.
 Assuring Student     study skills, homework         2001 more than
 Success (PASS) by    and learning expediters,       900 trainers had
 John r. ban          note-taking skills, test       led sessions with
                      preparation, memory and        more than 4,500
                      thinking skills, and memory    parents. has since
                      and reading skills—that can    been implemented
                      be taught as self-contained    widely in florida
                      units or as part of a          and elsewhere.
                      workshop series. Workshops     Training guide
                      led by trained program         available in english
                      facilitators.                  and Spanish. for
                                                     more information,
                                                     see www.ncpie.org/
                                                     Whatshappening/
                                                     Partnershipsin
                                                     Practicearchive.html.
 Parents               •	 Two-day workshop                   •	 has been used by     •	 PeSa web site notes that an evaluation study
 expectations             for parents of K–12                   school districts        of effectiveness was to be completed in 2005;
 Support                  students focuses on skills            nationally and in       searches did not yield information from this
 achievement              to improve children’s                 europe. districts       study (http://streamer3.lacoe.edu/PeSa).
 (PeSa) (los              academic achievement,                 and schools often
 angeles county           communication skills, and             use Title i funds
 office of                self-esteem.                          (http://streamer3.
 education)            •	 reinforces the skills that            lacoe.edu/PeS).
                          trained educators use in
                          classrooms.
                       •	 Trainers meet with parents
                          weekly for six sessions to
                          teach skills and facilitate role
                          playing.




                                                                                                                          (conTinued)
38         ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



 Table a1 (conTinued)
 Parent involvement programs identified in the literature
     Program type and
     name (sponsor)       description                        Populations served         evaluation
     Parent education (continued)
     commonwealth         •	 Trains parent leaders of        •	 Since 1997 about        •	 institute graduates have been tracked
     institute for           K–12 students to develop           1,400 parents in           through self-report mail questionnaires and
     Parent leadership       and implement school               Kentucky have              interviews with about 60 parents, chosen
     (ciPl) (Prichard        improvement projects.              attended the               from a larger list for activism. These reports
     committee            •	 after attending a series           institute and              suggest that the parents sustain and often
     for academic            of two-day workshops on            another 30,000             extend their involvement in school reform
     excellence)             topics ranging from school         have been involved         over time, participating in school governance
                             operations to school reform,       in local projects          at the local, district, and state levels (corbett
                             parents return home to             (www.cipl.org).            and Wilson 2000, 2008).
                             work with other parents
                             to execute projects aimed
                             at increasing student
                             academic achievement, with
                             mentorship provided by
                             Prichard staff.
                          •	 The Prichard committee
                             provides consulting,
                             workshops, and seminars for
                             parents outside Kentucky
                             through the center for
                             Parent leadership.
     Parent leadership    •	 Trains parents with students    •	 The program             •	 Salloway (2004) reports on a statewide
     Training institute      in grades K–12 to become           is based in                evaluation of the connecticut PlTi in
     (PlTi).                 advocates for their children.      connecticut                2002. Participants reported increased
                          •	 Training consists of a day-        and has been               knowledge, use of civic skills, and community
                             long retreat; two 10-week          implemented in             involvement as a result of the program.
                             courses on topics such as          florida, rhode             Parents’ scores on a civic literacy Scale were
                             working with diversity,            island, and virginia,      higher after program completion. Parents
                             critical thinking, public          as well (www.cga.          reported that they developed confidence,
                             speaking, coalition building,      ct.gov/coc/plti_           long-term friendships, and support networks
                             policy and municipal               about.htm).                in the program (www.cga.ct.gov/coc/Pdfs/
                             budgets, and city, state,                                     plti/2004_unh_PlTi_eval.pdf).
                             and federal law. includes a
                             project based on participant
                             interest.




                                                                                                                                (conTinued)
                             aPPendix a. liTeraTure revieW on ParenT involvemenT and STudenT SucceSS                                    39



Table a1 (conTinued)
Parent involvement programs identified in the literature
 Program type and
 name (sponsor)        description                        Populations served         evaluation
 Parent education (continued)
 building              •	 Trains PTa members with         •	 Training sessions       •	 no evaluation found.
 Successful               children in grades K–12            take place in loca-
 Partnerships             to conduct workshops on            tions throughout
 Program (national        parent involvement and on          the country and at
 PTa)                     the organization’s standards       the annual national
                          for parent and family              PTa convention
                          involvement.                       (www.pta.org).
 Parent and family assistance with core subjects
 Teachers involve      •	 involves parents in students’ •	 Program has been          •	 epstein, Simon, and Salinas (1997) report
 Parents in               homework assignments on          implemented in               on a one-year longitudinal study (no
 Schoolwork               a weekly or biweekly basis.      urban settings and           comparison group) examining grades and
 (TiPS) (center on        Parents participate based        settings serving             writing scores of middle school students.
 School, family,          on personal experiences,         non-english-                 more assignments completed correlated with
 and community            not math expertise. each         speaking parents             better achievement on both outcomes of
 Partnership)             assignment contains a            with limited                 student performance.
                          section for parent-teacher       education and/or          •	 balli, demo, and Wedman (1998) conducted
                          communication.                   multiple work and            evaluation in three suburban middle school
                                                           family obligations           classrooms taught by a single teacher.
                                                           (www.csos.jhu.edu/
                                                           P2000/tips/index.         •	 van voorhis (2003) conducted a quasi-
                                                           htm).                        experiment with 253 students in one
                                                                                        suburban school. Six of ten classes were
                                                                                        assigned to TiPS; the others served as
                                                                                        controls. Program students received higher
                                                                                        science grades.
 megaSkills (home      •	 Program aims to reinforce      •	 more than 4,000          •	 chavkin, gonzalez, and rader (2000) report
 and School               student study skills and          schools in 48 states        increases in scores on standardized tests of
 institute)               work habits (the “engines of      have implemented            student achievement, parent attendance
                          learning”).                       the program, using          at open houses, and parent leadership in
                       •	 Trains teachers to conduct        funds from Title            parent-teacher organizations in a middle
                          workshops for parents and         i, Title ii, bilingual      and high school in a Texas district serving
                          provides families with home       education, migrant          primarily hispanic (95 percent), economically
                          learning “recipes” tailored to    education, drug             disadvantaged families after megaSkills
                          different age groups, from        and dropout                 implementation. achievement, behavior,
                          preschool through middle          Prevention,                 and attendance data were collected from
                          school.                           vocational                  student records in elementary schools and
                                                            education, head             two secondary schools implementing the
                                                            Start, even                 program; these were compared with state
                                                            Start, Special              averages and annual improvements on
                                                            education, and              standardized tests. Web site notes parent
                                                            staff development           volunteerism increasing three-fold in high
                                                            funds (www.                 schools after program implementation,
                                                            megaskillshsi.org/          based on local monitoring (with no
                                                            introduction.html).         comparison) (www.megaskillshsi.org/
                                                                                        programeffectiveness1990.html).




                                                                                                                          (conTinued)
40         ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



 Table a1 (conTinued)
 Parent involvement programs identified in the literature
     Program type and
     name (sponsor)        description                        Populations served       evaluation
     Parent and family assistance with core subjects (continued)
     family math           •	 Workshops prepare parents       •	 Twenty-nine states    •	 no evaluation study found.
     (matematica Para         of students in grades K–8 to       and nine countries
     la familia) and          be partners in mathematics         have sites offering
     equals (lawrence         education.                         training in family
     laboratory of         •	 Program addresses how              math (www.lhs.
     Science at the           parents can help with              berkeley.edu/
     university of            homework, communicate              equals/sites.html).
     california)              with teachers, design home
                              learning environments,
                              and reinforce that math is
                              integral to their children’s
                              future opportunities.
                           •	 Workshops prepare
                              educators, parents, and
                              community members to
                              lead classes for families.
     math and Parent       •	 Two-hour stand-alone            •	 currently used in     •	 maPPS team researchers civil, bratton,
     Partnerships             workshops teach parents            multiple states          and Quintos (2005) report on parents’
     (maPPS)                  and their children in grades       throughout the           experiences (process evaluation of activities;
     (university of           K–12 about a specific topic        country, the             interviews; focus groups; narrative vignettes)
     arizona)                 covered in the school math         program was              of participating in maPPS in a school district
                              classes.                           piloted in four          that was 85 percent hispanic, with 77 percent
                           •	 minicourses (eight                 working-class,           of the students qualifying for reduced-
                              2-hour sessions) address           heavily hispanic         price or free lunch. The project web site
                              a major theme of school            districts in chandler    also indicates that junior and high school
                              mathematics.                       and Tucson,              students try harder on math problems after
                                                                 arizona; las vegas,      their parents have been involved in the
                           •	 leadership development             new mexico; and          program (http://mapps.math.arizona.edu/
                              classes, in which parents          San Jose, california     onstudents.php).
                              become session facilitators.       (http://mapps.math.
                                                                 arizona.edu/).
     Outreach to special populations
     nell-Soto             •	 at least 50 percent of          •	 grants have           •	 The department of education required to
     Parent/Teacher           teachers employed at               supported districts      begin the evaluation after the program
     involvement              participating school sites         in california to         has been implemented for one complete
     home-School              voluntarily agree (with            adopt this program       academic year and to report the results of
     visits (california       compensation) to make              for grades K–12.         the evaluation, including specified program
     department of            periodic visits to student                                  information, to the legislature no later than
     education)               homes or meet with                                          January 1, 2010.
                              parents in community
                              meetings. Prior to home
                              visits, a compact among
                              parent, teacher, and pupil is
                              completed.




                                                                                                                             (conTinued)
                             aPPendix a. liTeraTure revieW on ParenT involvemenT and STudenT SucceSS                                      41



Table a1 (conTinued)
Parent involvement programs identified in the literature
 Program type and
 name (sponsor)        description                        Populations served         evaluation
 Outreach to special populations (continued)
 The Parent School     •	 Trains latino parents of        •	 The program is          •	 external evaluation included pre-post
 Partnership              children in K–12 to become         active in california,      quantitative surveys of parents of elementary
 Program (mexican         advocates for children             georgia, idaho,            and middle school students in atlanta,
 american legal           and prepare them for               nevada, Texas,             chicago, houston, and los angeles, as
 defense fund)            postsecondary education.           Wisconsin, virginia,       well as additional data (pre-post reports,
                          employs a train-the-trainer        and Washington.            focus groups, and interviews) at the
                          model.                                                        elementary school level. findings indicate
                       •	 after training, graduates                                     program aligns with mission; parents
                          implement a 16-week                                           take individual and collective action to
                          curriculum addressing                                         implement leaderships skills learned in
                          issues such as parent rights,                                 the program; increases noted in parent
                          parent-teacher conferences,                                   knowledge of the education system, college
                          the structure and function                                    expectations for their children, self efficacy,
                          of schools and districts,                                     and participation in school-related activities
                          principles of leadership, and                                 (chrispeels et al. 2007).
                          the road to the university.
 Postsecondary         •	 aims to increase the number •	 Since 2006 PalmS      •	 PalmS is studying how middle schools in
 access for latino        of latino students who         has provided             arkansas and new york have implemented
 middle-grades            pursue postsecondary           training and             the PalmS process in its entirety, researching
 Students (PalmS)         education.                     technical assistance     what factors lead to effective and sustained
 (education            •	 assists middle school          to nine middle           implementation of a PalmS program. one
 development              leaders in developing          schools in rural,        multimedia case study has been published
 center, inc.)            parental outreach programs     suburban, and urban      about a participating school, with additional
                          through its Tools for Latino   settings serving a       study findings due to be published in 2009
                          Family Outreach, a set of      diverse group of         (clark and dorris 2007, 2008).
                          14 self-facilitated tools      students and parents
                          that guide schools in          across seven states,
                          planning, implementing,        with a new cohort
                          and assessing programs         of approximately
                          that engage and empower        10 middle and high
                          families to support their      schools (in three new
                          children’s pursuit of higher   states) expected for
                          education.                     2008/09.




                                                                                                                           (conTinued)
42         ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



 Table a1 (conTinued)
 Parent involvement programs identified in the literature
     Program type and
     name (sponsor)       description                       Populations served      evaluation
     Outreach to special populations (continued)
     Puente Project       •	 Works with educationally       •	 The Puente Project •	 based on several studies, the program web
     (university of          disadvantaged high school         operates in 34 high    site states that a greater proportion of Puente
     california office       and community college             schools and 56         students complete college preparation
     of the President,       students and their parents.       community colleges     courses, take college entrance exams, and
     california           •	 mission is to increase            throughout             enroll directly in college than students not
     community               number of students who            california. Through    participating in the program (www.ucop.
     colleges)               enroll in four-year colleges      the 2006/07            edu/sas/research/researchandplanning/
                             and universities, earn            academic year,         pdf/SaPePfundsandoutcomeslegreport(u
                             college degrees, and can          the high school        c)2008.pdf.).
                             then serve as mentors             program had         •	 gandara (2002) reports on a four-year study
                             and leaders within the            directly served        of Puente’s impact. data were collected
                             community.                        12,853 students and    from about 1,000 Puente students and 1,000
                                                               their families.        non-Puente students from 18 high schools.
                          •	 Parents sign contracts
                             agreeing to participate in                               outcomes included aspirations, attitudes
                             program activities and to                                toward school, and preparation for college.
                             provide regular support to                               data were also collected on 75 matched pairs
                             their child, teachers, and                               of Puente and non-Puente students, adding
                             program counselor.                                       grade point average and college attendance
                                                                                      to assessment. Significant differences were
                          •	 Workshops address                                        found on attitudes, preparation for college,
                             graduation requirements                                  and percentage of students going on to
                             and preparation for                                      four-year colleges. Puente students reported
                             postsecondary education.                                 going on to four-year colleges at nearly
                          •	 Parents meet one-on-one                                  double the rate of non-Puente students with
                             with program counselors                                  the same grades and test scores.
                             and attend family event                                •	 moreno (2002) conducted an exploratory
                             nights and field trips to                                 study involving interviews with 31 matched
                             local college campuses                                    pairs of Puente and non-Puente students;
                             (www.puente.net; www.                                     outcomes include levels of college
                             ucop.edu/sas/research/                                    preparation, college persistence, and college
                             researchandplanning/pdf/                                  preparedness.
                             SaPePfundsandoutcomes
                             legreport(uc)2008.pdf).                                •	 grubb, lara, and valdez (2002) conducted
                                                                                       a qualitative assessment of counselors’
                                                                                       involvements with parents of students in the
                                                                                       program.
                                                                                    •	 cooper (2002) conducted longitudinal case
                                                                                       studies of nonrandomly selected Puente
                                                                                       students to examine their pathways to
                                                                                       college and career aspirations.




                                                                                                                         (conTinued)
                                 aPPendix a. liTeraTure revieW on ParenT involvemenT and STudenT SucceSS                                    43



Table a1 (conTinued)
Parent involvement programs identified in the literature
 Program type and
 name (sponsor)           description                             Populations served      evaluation
 Family, school, and community partnerships and involvements
 engage!™ all        •	 Three-day conference for      •	 The five-step          •	 no evaluation study found.
 families institutes    teams of administrators,         process has been
 and “engage all        staff, and parents to develop    used in hundreds of
 families” five-Step    measurable plans for             schools and districts
 Process                home-school partnerships         in 35 states (www.
                        based on the family friendly     familyfriendlyschools.
                        Schools model.                   com/about/steve_
                     •	 five-step process assists        constantino/assets/
                        schools in creating a            Steves_bio.pdf).
                             program to improve
                             student success by
                             involving stakeholders.
                             Schools receive technical
                             assistance (including
                             survey data analysis),
                             coaching, and professional
                             development. The institute
                             presents research on family
                             engagement during training
                             to reinforce program
                             components (www.
                             familyfriendlyschools.com/
                             engage/institute/index.
                             htm).
 Solid foundation         •	 Program originally                   •	 Solid foundation     •	 School-level evaluation was conducted with
 (academic                   implemented at the                      has been                a sample of 129 high-poverty elementary
 development                 elementary level, now                   implemented in          schools. a statistically significant rise in
 institute)                  expanded to middle and                  41 middle schools       students meeting expectations on the
                             high schools.                           in four states and      illinois Standards assessment Test was
                          •	 Schools work with external              19 high schools in      noted (51.3 percent to 55.8 percent) over
                             partner to identify strengths           three states.           two years, compared with a 0.1 percent
                             and areas needing                                               change statewide, and greater than 99.9
                             improvement and then                                            percent of 1,000 control groups generated
                             create, implement, and                                          a random, statistical match (www.adi.org/
                             evaluate an action plan to                                      solidfoundation/resources/harvard.pdf).
                             address them.
                          •	 one tool is the School-
                             community index (Sci), a
                             tool based on parent and
                             teacher survey responses
                             and a needs assessment.
                             Parents serve on school
                             leadership teams (www.adi.
                             org/solidfoundation/).

Source: Authors’ compilation based on literature review described in the appendix.
44      ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



aPPeNdIx b                                                        Targeted literature review of parent
sTudy meThods                                                     involvement strategies

        To address regional needs for shared learning about               A review of literature from 1997 to 2008 was
        strategies to promote parent involvement in middle                conducted to provide a contextual background
        and high schools, this project developed and piloted              and inform protocol development. The intent was
        a protocol to ask the following questions:                        to identify research on policies, practices, and
                                                                          programs that aim to increase parent involvement
        •	   Which strategies are middle and high schools                 during the middle and high school years and to
             using to engage parents and sustain their                    assess evidence on their effectiveness in increasing
             involvement? Which parent involvement goals                  parent involvement or enhancing student learn-
             do these strategies target, and how are local                ing and school performance. The review excluded
             efforts monitored?                                           literature that addresses the association between
                                                                          parent involvement and student outcomes, in
        •	   Which parent involvement strategies have                     general. Instead, the purpose of the review was to
             been evaluated, and what evidence is there of                identify descriptive accounts of parent involve-
             their effectiveness in achieving desired out-                ment strategies and studies evaluating their
             comes for schools, students, and parents?                    effectiveness.

        •	   Are district strategies consistent with the                  Two questions on evidence of effectiveness were
             requirements and guidance of the No Child                    considered:
             Left Behind (NCLB) Act and with research
             “that meets the highest professional and                     •	   Does a particular practice or program that
             technical standards” (U.S. Department of                          has parent involvement as a specified compo-
             Education 2002)?                                                  nent or priority succeed in increasing parent
                                                                               engagement?
Steps
                                                                          •	   If so, is there evidence that the parent involve-
        To address the project’s research questions, three                     ment activities directly contribute to intended
        activities were conducted:                                             student outcomes, such as improved aca-
                                                                               demic performance in a subject area, higher
        •	   A literature review of strategies that promote                    rates of graduation, or postsecondary school
             parent involvement during middle and high                         attendance?
             school, to inform protocol development and
             provide a context for understanding informa-                 The search focused on practices and programs
             tion obtained during the pilot test.                         that encourage parent involvement at school and
                                                                          at home. The search encompassed programs for
        •	   Protocol development to systematize proce-                   which parent involvement is both the primary out-
             dures for collecting information on parent                   come and a clearly specified component of a larger
             involvement policies, practices, and programs.               program that aims at student academic success.
                                                                          Keywords used by the Campbell Collaboration to
        •	   Pilot testing of the protocol in nine districts in           review parent involvement strategies for younger
             four states to chart what states, districts, and             students were used to identify source materials
             schools are doing to engage parents of middle                (Nye, Turner, and Schwartz 2006). These were
             and high school students in their children’s                 adapted to identify strategies for middle and high
             education and to identify examples of school                 schools. Keywords include family involvement,
             policies, practices, and programs.                           family participation, family engagement, school
                                                                           aPPendix b. STudy meThodS              45



and family and community partnerships, parent                   in terms of their primary parent involvement
involvement, parent participation, parent educa-                strategy and thus are not included in multiple
tion, parent-school relationships, parent-teacher               categories; however, multiple practices are incor-
relationships, parents as teachers, community and               porated in these programs.
school, and home and school.
                                                        Developing the data collection protocol
The EBSCO host research database was used to
search ERIC, Academic Search Premier, Profes-                   This project created a protocol for compiling
sional Development Collection, Child Develop-                   information about parent involvement policies,
ment and Adolescent Studies, Psych Info/Psy-                    practices, and programs from publicly available
cARTICLES, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences                   documents on state, district, and school initiatives
Collection, and SocINDEX. Journal articles,                     and from interviews with key informants in state
research and strategy briefs, conference presenta-              and district education agencies and in schools. The
tions, and articles from professional publications              protocol was based on procedures used in previ-
from 1997 to 2008 were included.                                ous work by the Regional Educational Laboratory
                                                                Northeast and Islands to document dropout pre-
Complementing the EBSCO search, a web-based                     vention programs through systematically collect-
search was conducted of key stakeholder web sites,              ing publicly available materials and interviews with
as well as those of the U.S. Department of Educa-               policy and program staff (Myint-U et al. 2008).
tion, National Center for Family and Community
Connections with Schools, National Coalition for                The literature review informed the findings in
Parent Involvement in Education, FINE Network,                  several ways. First, definitions of policies, prac-
Appleseed Network, and National Partnership of                  tices, and programs grounded in this empirical
Network Schools. These web sites often provide                  parent involvement literature. Second, interview
links to evaluation studies in addition to compil-              guides were informed by evidence obtained on
ing examples of strategies designed to promote                  strategies that have been tried and constructed
parent involvement (Weiss et al. 2005b). From this              to elicit information where gaps were identified,
pool of information a small subset of literature on             such as on the monitoring of implementation and
practices and programs that met screening criteria              impact. Third, initial coding categories capture
for relevancy of timeframe, intervention strategy,              dimensions of parent involvement, from goals to
sample, and outcome was identified.                             populations served and strategies employed, that
                                                                were used to describe and distinguish strategies in
Relevancy included documentation of increased                   the literature.
parent involvement, with or without linkage to
student outcomes. Evaluations ranged from case                  Supplemental materials, including letters to com-
studies, qualitative interviews, and observations               missioners and school superintendents that intro-
to quasi-experimental research designs. Studies                 duce the project and request information about
included in the review met relevance criteria even              parent involvement in their district are available at
if they did not fully meet the evidence standards               www.relnei.org. Also included are samples of in-
outlined in WWC Evidence Standards for Review-                  terview guides for superintendents and principals,
ing Studies (U.S. Department of Education 2008).                illustrating how information is collected at the
This literature, although not meeting evidence                  state, district, and school levels and how questions
standards, is included because it does provide                  are tailored for the key informant’s position and
examples of the current state of the field and is the           responsibilities. Last, worksheets for coding and
best evidence available. Programs identified were               summarizing data collected from either informant
subsequently searched for more evaluation infor-                interviews or public records are provided. There are
mation using EBSCO. All programs are described                  separate worksheets for practices and programs.
46      ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



        The program worksheet contains multiple fields         proportion of families living below the poverty
        for coding multiple characteristics: name, brief       line (more than 1.5 times the state average); and a
        description, breadth of implementation, location,      proportion of Black and Hispanic families greater
        sponsor or implementer, core practices, parent         than the state average. One participating district
        involvement goals, targeted grade levels (and focus    in each of the four states was selected by the state
        on school transitions), evidence and resource          commissioner’s office, and the second district was
        consulted in selection, personnel involved, race/      selected at random by project staff, allowing the
        ethnicity of participants, primary student popula-     project to be responsive to the interests of the state
        tion targeted, portion of targeted parents partici-    constituencies while reducing the bias introduced
        pating, approximate cost to implement, funding         by working only with state-selected sites. A ninth
        sources, monitoring and accountability, and            district (Bridgeport, Connecticut) was selected
        presence (or absence) of outcome evaluation. This      from the original pool of 13 because of its high
        worksheet is designed to be comprehensive. But in      proportion of both Black and Hispanic students
        this pilot test only five programs were identified,    who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. In
        far fewer than the many practices reported. Thus       response to state interests, the project included one
        there were limited opportunities to fully pilot test   district (Nashua, New Hampshire) that does not
        the code sheet, which is designed to create a cata-    meet the student population requirement but is
        logue when the parent involvement field is more        the second largest urban district in the state. The
        developed, there are more programs, and there is       project excluded New York City because of its size
        greater evidence of their effectiveness.               and multidistrict organization.

        The practice worksheet was designed to display         Taken together, the nine selected school districts
        the diversity of practices that are being imple-       serve more than 200,000 students. District infor-
        mented. It enables categorizing practices in the       mation is provided in table B1.
        eight-category typology that was developed and
        refined during the literature review. Using this       Human subjects. Following guidelines issued
        typology, a single practice could be coded for more    in 45 CFR 46.101(b)(5) from the Federal Office
        than one practice category (for example, a special     for Human Research Protections, this project is
        event could count as both information sharing and      exempt from requiring human-subject protections
        home-school collaboration). This information pro-      review. The project solely involves the collection
        vides a more accurate portrait of ongoing parent       of information regarding public service programs.
        involvement activities and can be used to identify     Interviews held with key informants did not cover
        practices that may be evaluated independently or       personal attitudes or behaviors. Informants were
        incorporated into more formal programs.                told the purpose of the study and were told not to
                                                               reveal personal information. Further, informa-
Piloting the data collection protocol                          tion obtained does not refer to any individuals.
                                                               In addition to the introductory letter noting
        Staff sought nine districts for collecting informa-    that “no personal information will be collected,”
        tion on parent-involvement strategies. The districts   informants were reminded that the information
        were located in states with leaders who had ex-        obtained would be shared in a report and that they
        pressed interest in increasing parent involvement:     should not provide personal information about
        Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and         themselves or others. They provided oral consent
        New York.                                              before the interviews proceeded.

        Sample selection. Eight of the nine districts met      In accordance with regulations from the Office
        the following criteria: student population of          of Management and Budget, interviews were
        15,000 or more; mid-size or large central city; high   conducted with fewer than nine informants in a
                                                                                                     aPPendix b. STudy meThodS                    47



Table b1
characteristics of selected districts
                                                       Students Students
                                             families     with      eligible
                                              below     limited   for free or
                                             poverty    english    reduced-     asian                       black       hispanic        White
                       Student      city       level  proficiency price lunch students                    students      students      students
 district             population population (percent) (percent) (percent) (percent)                       (percent)     (percent)     (percent)
 bridgeport,
 connecticut            21,235       137,912          18            40            95             3            42            45             9
 new haven,
 connecticut            20,759      124,001           20            29            77             1            55            31            11
 Waterbury,
 connecticut           18,206       107,251           18            14            70             2            28            42            28
 boston,
 massachusetts         56,770       590,763           16            18            71             9            41            35            14
 Worcester,
 massachusetts         22,876       175,454           15            21            65             8            13            36            41
 manchester,
 new hampshire         16,309       109,497           10             5            36             3             8            12            76
 nashua,
 new hampshire         12,534         87,157           5             3            36             6             4            14            76
 buffalo,
 new york               38,719      276,059           24             7            86             1            58            14            26
 Syracuse,
 new york               19,759      140,658           26             6            69            —             51             9            36

— is not available.
Source: City population information comes from the 2006 census data, www.census.gov; student information comes from http://bostonpublicschools.org/
bps/; www.wpsweb.com/; www.emsc.nysed.gov; www.mansd.org/index.htm; www.nashua.edu/district/; www.bridgeportedu.com/; www.nhps.net/; www.
waterbury.k12.ct.us/; www.buffaloschools.org/. Data accessed April 2008.



        district. As described below, the interview guide                              second level of interviews was at the district level,
        and interviewing procedures were designed to min-                              where informants provided contacts at schools.
        imize respondent burden and ensure that no more
        than nine informants in a given position (principal,                           In advance of each interview, questions were
        superintendent) were interviewed and that no single                            tailored for the specific informant and district,
        question was asked of nine or more people.                                     using information already collected from previous
                                                                                       interviews and public records. This helped ensure
        Data collection. Three senior research staff famil-                            that new information was obtained, and it reduced
        iar with schools and parent involvement initiatives                            the burden on informants by asking them only to
        conducted telephone interviews with key infor-                                 add to data already collected, not to begin anew. In
        mants, using the protocol interview guides. Inter-                             addition, this process helped ensure that no single
        viewers had graduate training in education and                                 question was asked of nine or more people, to
        social science, as well as experience with school                              reduce the burden on participants.
        systems and qualitative data collection. Initial
        interviews were at the state commissioner’s office                             The project director and senior advisors led
        in order to obtain endorsement for data collection,                            training sessions to ensure that interviewers were
        information about state policies and programs,                                 familiar with the study protocol and knew how
        and recommendations for further interviews. The                                to apply the interview guide and adapt questions
48   ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



     to each informant and the information already           please describe this program? How was [a specific
     obtained. Interviewers were assigned to districts       program/practice/policy] selected for implementa-
     so they would be familiar with the information          tion? Was there evidence of its effectiveness? Has
     already gathered as data collection proceeded           your center or network led or participated in an
     from the state to the district. At regular project      evaluation of a parent involvement strategy? If it
     meetings interviewers updated the team on their         has, can you tell me more about the evaluation and
     progress in contacting informants, allowing for         findings regarding the strategy’s effectiveness?
     timely review of the type and depth of information
     obtained and helping to ensure consistency across       During the initial district interviews, informa-
     the data collectors.                                    tion was obtained through questions such as: Can
                                                             you tell me about your district’s policies regard-
     In these consistency checks the emphasis was on         ing parent involvement in grades 6–12? How does
     asking whether there was comparable information         your district monitor school implementation of
     on policies, practices, and programs and across         federal parent involvement policies and regulations
     districts and across informants in similar posi-        in grades 6–12? Probes, adapted from the guide,
     tions. Interviewers were instructed to pursue leads     were used to ask follow-up questions, such as: Who
     that arose during the course of the interview, espe-    might we contact to learn more about [this program
     cially at the program and practitioner level, rather    or monitoring/evaluation]? As interviews proceeded
     than to ask every question in the interview guide.      to the local level and questioned principals and
     Team meetings were also used to determine what          parent coordinators, questions were fine tuned to
     additional information was needed and which             be relevant and appropriate for practitioners: What
     informants should be contacted next. In this itera-     are the current parent involvement strategies at
     tive process respondents were not prompted to           your school? Does your school have policies, prac-
     respond to all questions in the guide, but rather to    tices, or programs that specifically address school
     elaborate on policies, practices, or programs where     transitions? Do they target hard-to-reach groups of
     information already collected was sparse or ques-       parents? If yes, how did you select this? Do you have
     tions remained.                                         strategies in place to inform parents about their
                                                             children’s progress in a timely way?
     An interviewer began by contacting upper-level
     state education officials and district superinten-      By using an interview procedure that proceeded
     dents or deputies. The content of interviews at the     top-down through a school system, participants
     state level depended upon the position of the in-       provided details about programs or policies perti-
     terviewee. For example, a state commissioner was        nent to their position and purview. Core questions
     asked: Can you tell me about your state’s guide-        were emailed to key informants before an inter-
     lines for parent involvement in the postelementary      view so that they could prepare by checking with
     years? How are these guidelines disseminated to         colleagues or compiling requested information. In-
     the public and to districts? State bureau and pro-      terviews lasted 30–60 minutes. With permission,
     gram directors were asked about specific polices,       telephone calls were recorded to make a complete
     practices, and programs run or overseen by their        record available for coding. Audio records were
     office. Directors of parent involvement resource        only used as backups and were deleted once cod-
     centers and statewide networks were asked: What         ing was completed.
     support for parent involvement does your center
     or network provide at a state level? What does it       Across the nine districts, 59 representatives
     provide to [the district included in this pilot]? Has   participated in project interviews (table B2). These
     your center or network sponsored or been involved       participants included 12 state representatives
     in the implementation of parent involvement pro-        (deputy or associate commissioners, directors or
     grams in middle schools or high schools? Can you        administrators of departments and program, and
                                                                                            aPPendix b. STudy meThodS             49



Table b2
Key informants interviewed
 level                          Position                                                                              number
                                deputy or associate commissioner                                                         1
 State department of
                                bureau or program director                                                               3
 education
                                Program coordinator or specialist                                                        4
 State, other                   director of Pircs or statewide networks                                                  4
                                Superintendent                                                                           2
                                associate or deputy superintendent                                                       2
                                director or supervisor of grants or Title i                                              5
 district                       director or supervisor of bilingual and multilingual education                           4
                                director or supervisor of student services and community outreach                        4
                                Parent coordinator, network facilitator, or advocate                                     8
                                other                                                                                    2
                                middle school principal or assistant principal                                           7
 School                         high school principal or assistant principal                                             5
                                School-based parent coordinator/parent liaison                                           8

Source: Authors’ compilation.



         PIRC staff); 27 district representatives (superin-                      from interview notes, and lists of strategies were
         tendents and assistant or deputy superintendents,                       prepared, identified by state and district, and
         directors of Title I or other programs, parent center                   tagged to the key informant. The strategies were
         and network facilitators and coordinators, and staff                    then reviewed and grouped into four categories:
         of bilingual and multilingual education and com-                        practice, program, policy, or other.
         munity relations); and 20 school representatives,
         including administrators and parent coordinators.                       Practices were categorized using the typology
                                                                                 developed during the literature review. These
         On average, five to six key informants from each                        practices were further subdivided, and illustra-
         district participated, and no district had fewer                        tive examples were recorded for each district. This
         than three informants. The remainder provided                           analysis reduced data on discrete practices into a
         state-level information. Web searches and reviews                       format that could display the range of activities
         of public information were conducted before and                         in which districts and schools engage to increase
         after the interviews to prepare staff and to supple-                    parent involvement. Programs were identified and
         ment what was learned from key informants.                              information was coded for the parent involvement
         Informants also sent researchers relevant materi-                       goal, description of types of practices used, grades
         als with additional information, including print                        and populations served, sponsoring organiza-
         copies of parent involvement policies at the district                   tion, funding sources, barriers encountered, and
         and state level.                                                        evaluation.

         Data coding and analysis. The project director                          Information on policies was compiled from
         and senior advisors developed a coding schema                           written documents and interview notes and
         so that each interviewer could record information                       qualitatively assessed for consistency with NCLB
         obtained from public records and key informants                         and Title I guidance and requirements. Fields
         in a systematic and comparable way. Information                         developed for coding sheets were intended to be
         on policies, practices, and programs was extracted                      comprehensive, but given both the limited number
50   ParenT involvemenT STraTegieS in urban middle & high SchoolS in The norTheaST & iSlandS region



     of interviews conducted and the small number of         Limitations
     well articulated programs, information needed to
     create complete records was often not available. A              Data collection for the pilot study was limited
     research assistant initially abstracted practices by            to nine districts that do not fully represent the
     district, providing a brief description and categori-           Northeast and Islands Region or schools nation-
     zation. This was then reviewed by interviewers for              wide. The number of interviews that could be con-
     completeness and accuracy. Interrater reliability               ducted in a district was restricted, so the limited
     was established by having all coders review a first             information collected must be viewed as illustra-
     set of audio recordings and then code informa-                  tive rather than comprehensive. Further, it was
     tion into relevant categories and subcategories.                difficult to obtain reliable information on whether
     For programs, interviewers nominated potential                  universal strategies intended for K−12 and all
     programs; each program was then discussed at                    students are reaching parents of secondary school
     team meetings, and a consensus was reached as                   students and, especially, families whose children
     to whether the entry met program criteria. Those                are at greatest academic risk. Finally, because of
     programs that did were subsequently coded by                    the different parent involvement requirements for
     the interviewer who obtained the information.                   struggling students, this area was not addressed
     Codesheets were then reviewed by the team.                      either in the literature review or pilot test.
                                                                                   aPPendix b. STudy meThodS              51



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