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NORC investigates how to improve parent and family engagement in schools, including identifying potential facilitators and barriers for meaningful engagement.

Research shows that increasing parent and family engagement in schools leads to beneficial outcomes for both schools and communities. However, parents do not always know how to be involved in their child’s school and need direction from educators. Additionally, though districts and schools must comply with updated parent engagement requirements instituted through reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act, many educators lack meaningful ways to engage parents and families in their children’s schools. 

NORC is partnering with Education Northwest to evaluate the Washington State Family Engagement Centers program, funded by the Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. The program provides state and local education agencies with technical assistance and training to enhance parent and family engagement efforts with the goal of improving student outcomes. NORC will use a process evaluation to provide formative and summative feedback that enables Family Engagement Center program staff and partners to refine and adjust the supports they provide. 

In addition to evaluating parent engagement policies and programs, NORC also works to elevate the voices of parents and families so that policy makers and educators can identify the most impactful ways to support families and children in school. With support from the Joyce Foundation, Kids First Chicago reached out to NORC to design and administer two waves of surveys that would capture parents’ perceptions of their child’s learning experiences during the pandemic. Kid First Chicago used the survey results to identify areas to improve communication between families and schools and areas of support for students.

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Parent & Family Engagement Experts

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