Family Involvement

About Family Involvement

Family involvement serves to promote and support the social, emotional, physical, academic, and occupational growth of youth. Successful family involvement relies on meaningful collaboration among youth, families, schools, employers, and agencies.

The definition of family must be inclusive of and respectful of each child’s family structure, and therefore should not be limited to just parents or legal guardians and children in the home. For example, a family may also include new spouses and partners of parents, extended families (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.), step-relatives, or any other person a youth or family unit considers a family member.

In recent years there has been a significant shift in how schools and communities conceptualize family involvement, from an earlier focus on how families could support schools and community systems to a current orientation toward what schools and communities can do to support families. The goal is to develop partnerships with families that nurture and support all children to learn and grow. Successful partnerships reflect an understanding of the great diversity among families and differences in cultural and socioeconomic conditions. An individualized approach to including families helps build strong connections that improve outcomes for youth.

A family’s involvement in their child’s education is recognized by many as the single most important factor in school success and achievement. Research has shown that not only does family involvement increase academic achievement, as reflected in higher test scores and graduation rates, but it also increases the likelihood that youth will pursue higher education (Henderson & Berla, 1994).

Successful family involvement:

On a practical level, “involvement” often means getting families to participate in an activity with their adolescent at school or in the community. However, due to the wide range of barriers and individual differences, schools and communities should allow for and promote participation in various ways, at different levels of commitment, and at different frequencies. The most effective family involvement approaches:

Works Cited

Henderson, A. T., & Berla, N. (Eds.). (1994). A new generation of evidence: The family is critical to student achievement. Washington, DC: Center for Law and Education.

National Standards & Quality Indicators

Below are the specific Family Involvement standards and indicators. See also Introduction to the National Standards & Quality Indicators


4.1 School staff members demonstrate a strong commitment to family involvement and understand its critical role in supporting high achievement, access to postsecondary education, employment, and other successful adult outcomes.
See Supporting Evidence & Research

  • 4.1.1 School programs and activities provide a range of opportunities for family involvement and actively engage families and youth in the home, classroom, school, and community.
  • 4.1.2 School programs and activities are designed, implemented, and shaped by frequent feedback from youth and families.
  • 4.1.3 School staff development includes training on youth and family involvement based on individual strengths, interests, and needs.
  • 4.1.4 Youth and families have clear and accessible information regarding school curricula, the forms of academic assessment used to measure student progress, the proficiency levels students are expected to meet, and how these relate to postsecondary choices.

4.2 Communication among youth, families, and schools is flexible, reciprocal, meaningful, and individualized.
See Supporting Evidence & Research

  • 4.2.1 Youth, families, and school staff use the telephone, face-to-face meetings, electronic communications, and other methods as needed to support and enhance communication.
  • 4.2.2 School staff individualize communication methods used with youth and families to meet unique needs, including provision of text materials alternate formats and non-English languages.
  • 4.2.3 Youth, families, and school staff share reports of positive youth behavior and achievement.
  • 4.2.4 Schools, families, and youth enhance communication through participation in school programs that improve literacy and communication skills.

4.3 School staff actively cultivate, encourage, and welcome youth and family involvement.
See Supporting Evidence & Research

  • 4.3.1 School staff use formal processes to help youth and families identify their strengths and needs, and to connect them with other youth and families for support, guidance, and assistance.
  • 4.3.2 School staff provide flexible meeting arrangements to accommodate the varied needs of youth and families, addressing childcare needs, transportation needs, language barriers, and families' work schedules.
  • 4.3.3 Youth, families, and school staff participate in training on parenting, childcare, and positive family-child relationships.
  • 4.3.4 School staff participate in training on creating a welcoming school climate and working collaboratively, respectfully, and reciprocally with youth and families.
  • 4.3.5 School informational materials, trainings, and resources reflect the demographic, socioeconomic, and ethnic diversity of the community.
  • 4.3.6 School staff provide referrals to community programs and resources that meet the individual needs of youth and families and allow youth and families to make informed choices.

4.4 Youth, families, and school staff are partners in the development of policies and decisions affecting youth and families.
See Supporting Evidence & Research

  • 4.4.1 Youth, families, and school staff jointly develop a family involvement policy and agreement outlining shared responsibility for improved student achievement and achieving the state's high standards.
  • 4.4.2 School staff regularly share information about school improvement, policies, and performance data with youth and families in a variety of formats.
  • 4.4.3 School staff ensure school policies respect the diversity of youth and family cultures, traditions, values, and faiths found within the community.
  • 4.4.4 School staff provide youth and families with training on school policies, budgets, and improvement initiatives to ensure effective participation in decision-making.
  • 4.4.5 Youth and families have a variety of opportunities to participate in decision-making, governance, evaluation, and advisory committees at the school and community levels.

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