Family and Community

Families and communities play an integral role in children’s school success. With partners such as National PTA, we work at all levels to help educators engage families and communities in ways that directly support schools and student learning.

Featured Product

“Through our work with the U.S. Department of Education and other groups, we are bringing research and innovation to the grassroots level to empower families to be more effective partners in their children’s education.” — Lacy Wood, Director, Afterschool, Family, and Community, SEDL

Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family–School Partnerships

Produced by SEDL in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, Partners in Education presents a new framework for designing family engagement initiatives that build capacity among educators and families to partner with one another around student success. Based in existing research and best practices, this report is designed to act as a scaffold for the development of family engagement strategies, policies, and programs. Read more

Significant Work

National Center for Family and Community Connections With Schools: Housed at SEDL, this national center disseminates research-based information and resources to foster connections among families, communities, and schools that support school improvement and student learning. Available products include toolkits, an online database of resources, research syntheses and briefs, and webinars.

Family Engagement State Leaders Network: SEDL has operated the Family Engagement State Leaders Network since 2012. The purpose of this national collaborative is to help state education agencies implement, support, scale-up, and sustain family and community engagement initiatives. Through the Network, participants have a forum for sharing information, resources, and strategies about family engagement that support student success.

Past Work

National PIRC Coordination Center: Through October 2012, the National PIRC Coordination Center, a partnership of SEDL, the Harvard Family Research Project, and the Miko Group, Inc., supported the work of the nation’s 62 Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs) by providing training events, research-based materials, new grantee orientation, on-site visits, and regional and national conferences.

National Institute for Literacy Dissemination Project: SEDL helped the National Institute for Literacy get its free booklets, which provide parents with tips for developing children’s early reading skills, into the hands of parents nationwide.

Collaborative Action Teams: SEDL staff evaluated and refined the process for creating Collaborative Action Teams, which worked to develop partnerships among students, families, communities, and schools at the local level. These teams identified pressing issues in a community and took action to address them.

Show More Work


Image of publication cover A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement
This review of the research examines the growing evidence that family and community connections with schools make a difference in student success.
Image of publication cover Webinar Series: Achieving Excellence and Innovation in Family, School, and Community Engagement
The Achieving Excellence and Innovation in Family, School, and Community Engagement webinar series is an opportunity for stakeholders representing national, regional, and local organizations to learn about family, school, and community, engagement research, best practices from the field, and new innovations that are making a difference in school improvement and student learning.
Image of publication cover SEDL Insights, Vol. 2, No. 2: How Districts Can Lay the Groundwork for Lasting Family Engagement
Family engagement in a student’s education can lead to improved student academic achievement, attendance, and behavior. Yet many districts and schools still struggle to form strong partnerships with the families they serve. Having a supportive district-level infrastructure is key to the success and sustainability of family engagement initiatives.
Image of publication cover Beyond the Building: A Facilitation Guide for School, Family, and Community Connections
This multimedia toolkit will help educators and community organizers understand and learn how to facilitate family and community involvement.
Image of publication cover Emerging Issues in School, Family, & Community Connections
This research synthesis highlights critical areas of work in family and community connections with schools where clarification, agreement, and further development are needed.
Image of publication cover Readiness: School, Family, & Community Connections
The fourth research synthesis focusing on family and community connections with schools describes 48 research studies on the contextual factors associated with children's school readiness.
Image of publication cover Teenage Parents and Their Educational Attainment: Texas Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, Number 5
Becoming a parent, at any age, can be a life-altering experience. Regardless of race, education, and socio-economic status, motherhood—and fatherhood—uniformly places demands on one’s life that were non-existent prior to the birth of a child. When school-aged students become parents, the new responsibilities can be overwhelming. For teenage parents who lack support from their own parents, this experience can be even more daunting as they seek support in adult-oriented systems, which even older parents may find challenging.
Image of publication cover A Toolkit for Title I Parental Involvement
Designed for educators who are implementing Title I, Part A parental involvement provisions, this toolkit includes detailed explanations of the provisions and 33 tools to help states, districts, and schools meet the requirements.
Image of publication cover Working Systemically in Action: Engaging Family & Community
Many educators recognize the importance of family and community involvement in school improvement efforts and are seeking to reframe the way they engage these groups. This publication, which supplements Working Systemically in Action: A Facilitator’s Guide (No longer available, as the publication has been replaced by the book, Getting Serious About the System), provides practical guidance for educators who are seeking to engage family and community members in systemic school improvement efforts.
Image of publication cover Parent and Community Involvement in a College/Career–Ready Culture: Texas Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, Number 2
This brief addresses the questions: What are some examples of underachieving schools that have involved parents and community partners to increase student achievement through building a focus on college and career readiness? How do they solicit community response and what contributions have parents/community members made to support a college and career readiness environment? What does the research say about this topic?
Image of publication cover Building Support for Better Schools: Seven Steps to Engaging Hard-to-Reach Communities
This practical guide is designed for educators, civic leaders, community organizers or anyone else interested in involving traditionally hard-to-reach communities.
Image of publication cover Family and Community Involvement: Reaching Out to Diverse Populations
This book is geared toward teachers, principals, and superintendents who want to develop meaningful parent and community involvement in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Image of publication cover Diversity: School, Family, and Community Connections
SEDL's third research synthesis in a series on family and community connections with schools focuses on race/ethnicity, culture (including language), and socioeconomic status.
Image of publication cover The School-Family Connection: Looking at the Larger Picture, A Review of Current Literature
This review of family involvement literature published from 2005 to 2008 explores a range of family involvement programs, challenges, needs, strategies, and contexts.
Image of publication cover SEDL Letter, Volume XX, Number 2 (Aug. 2008): Afterschool, Family, and Community
This issue of SEDL Letter is devoted to topics centered around afterschool and family and community involvement, with a focus on what the latest research shows.

Click here to view all free resources or products for sale in the area Family and Community.