SEDL Strategy Brief Focuses on Engaging Families at the Secondary Level

August 17, 2005
Austin, Texas

Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556

Contrary to popular belief, research indicates that teenagers do want their parents and families involved in their lives. And contrary to what many educators believe, research has also found that parentsÑregardless of their economic status or backgroundÑwant to be involved in their teenagersÕ lives. Despite these positive findings, many secondary schools struggle with family involvement issues. One of the problems schools face is finding the balance between family involvement that allows teenagers autonomy and respect, but also meets the needs of families and schools.

ÒWhat changes as children get older is the kind of involvement,Ó says Catherine Jordan, a Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) program manager. Jordan, who is director of SEDLÕs National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools, reports, ÒItÕs no longer about assisting with homework, eating lunch at school, volunteering as reading tutors, or simply just being present at school. As children grow and mature, the way their parents interact with their schools changes as well.Ó

The National Center has released a new strategy brief, Engaging Families at the Secondary Level. It presents findings that suggest secondary schools should design family involvement programs that help develop studentsÕ skills in specific subjects and steer students toward more challenging classes. It also provides strategies for engaging parents in ways that help improve student achievement.

The brief is available online at .

About SEDL

The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) is a nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. SEDL is dedicated to solving significant education problems and improving teaching and learning through research, research-based resources, and professional development. For more information about SEDL, visit