Want to Mobilize Parents?

A Toolbox for Increased Engagement

“That’s just organizing 101” is a phrase we hear again and again from organizations who excel at bringing parents together and getting them to take action. But what if you didn’t take that class? Never fear! We’ve gathered a list of resources to help define family engagement, reach parents where they are, and empower them to act on behalf of their kids’ education.

Community Organizing 101

This podcast is put together by the folks at Harvard Graduate School of Education, whose staffers penned A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform. While the book is a must-read, the podcast offers a quick primer for anyone looking to bring together a group of people with one mission.

How to Solve the Parent Engagement Problem

A handy article from our friends at EdWeek, the commentary links to an extensive report on getting parents involved in education.

American Psychological Association

APA isn’t just a standard for citations on research papers. This organization promotes research in psychology, including the effects of parent engagement in schools. Their Parent Engagement resource page offers resources and even a forum for sharing tools, ideas, and successes.

National Parent Teacher Association

Want to build an army of PTA volunteers ready to step in with crucial administrative and volunteer support? Check out the National PTA’s website. This toolbox has everything from grant applications (might as well try to fund some of those school projects, right?) to handbooks on best practices to step-by-step guides for getting a PTA started in your school.

Parent Guides from A+ Schools

Not sure what questions to ask your child’s principal? Unsure what your middle schooler should be doing in math? These parent guides from A+ Schools help parents who want to play a bigger role in their child’s education, starting with the basics like teaching your kiddo note-taking skills. The list also includes their annual report to the community, with information about all public and charter schools in the City of Pittsburgh.

Logan Square Neighborhood Association

Parents in Chicago came together in force to drive change in their public schools. Their work was so impactful, the neighborhood association put together a robust web resource to help other community organizations achieve the same results. This Parent Mentor Program served as a model for Lawrenceville United’s efforts in their Pittsburgh neighborhood public schools.

National Network of Partnership Schools

The NNPS, established at Johns Hopkins University, gathers schools, districts, and even state leadership together to discuss research-based approaches to family and community involvement that increases student success. They offer a handbook, complete with case studies and separate chapters for those tough-to-reach middle and high school families.

Institute for Educational Leadership

This national organization builds, among other leadership skills, the capacity of school districts to work with communities and helps them strengthen the roles of parents and families in their roles as educational decision-makers, supporters of learning, and advocates for school improvement. The IEL offers a national conference and puts together resources like current research and a monthly newsletter centered around family and community engagement.


Published July 31, 2018

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