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National Blog

Effective family engagement for an Achievable Dream


Family engagement has been proven, time and time again, to lead to increased student achievement. 

But not all family engagement is created equal. To impact learning, families have to be involved in their children’s academics.  It follows, then, that many of the activities we see in our schools, like school newsletters, auctions, or family fun nights, are not particularly effective. So why do we keep seeing them?

Stand’s Special Projects Manager, Tyler Whitmire , was interested in looking at school districts that have redefined family engagement to focus on what really matters: families and educators working together to improve student learning.  She researched the topic and contributed a chapter on her findings to the recently published The Achievable Dream: College Board Lessons on Creating Great Schools . 

For the book, Whitmire traveled to Creighton, Arizona, a district that has transformed minimally effective parent-teacher conferences into data-driven conversations between teachers and their students’ teachers. Called Academic Parent Teacher Teams , these meetings have boosted student achievement and have a 90% + attendance rate for families.

You can check out the book here, or you can read a USA Today editorial about how another one of the book’s findings— the importance of expanding high-quality charter schools—can be something Obama and Romney can agree on. 

If you’re interested in learning more about what Tyler and the Stand University for Parents team are doing to improve family engagement here at Stand, read more right here!