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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

Highlighted Projects

The Interpersonal Conflict and Resolution (iCOR) Study

A nationally representative dyadic study of behaviors in young adult relationships with strangers, friends and family, and intimate partners.


National Institute of Justice

Washington Statewide Family Engagement Center Project

Evaluating a collaborative family engagement infrastructure across Washington state


U.S. Department of Education

National Survey on Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence (STRiV)

A longitudinal social epidemiological study of youth and young adult experiences of aggression and violence, parent/caregiver perspectives, and relevant risk and protective factors


National Institute of Justice

Oakland Promise Brilliant Baby Evaluation

Assessing the impact of a “two-generation” intervention on college attainment


Oakland Promise

Understanding What Matters in the School Choice Process

The first comprehensive review of all text data from Great Schools, a popular school review website


Institute of Education Sciences

Making Connections Research Scholars

Providing analytical opportunities for early-career scholars and researchers of color


The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Evaluating Oakland Promise’s Cradle-to-Career Programs

NORC’s assessments enable Oakland program to identify past benefits for future funding


Oakland Promise

Partnering with Social Media Influencers as Messengers to Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy

Engaging mommy bloggers to help understand HPV vaccine hesitancy communities of color



Analyzing Parent Narratives to Create Parent Gauge™

Helping Head Start build a tool to assess parent, family, and community engagement


National Head Start Association, Ford Foundation, Rainin Foundation, Region V Head Start Association

HeartMath for Youth Resiliency & Violence Prevention

Pilot testing an educational program to build youth resilience and conflict management skills


Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Engaging Online Influencers to Address COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy

An intervention to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among parents of color through online influencers of color



Elder Abuse Survivor Equity (EASE) Study

Applying a cultural lens to personal and technology-facilitated elder abuse to better protect diverse communities


National Institute of Justice

Cyber-Abuse Research Initiative (CARI)

A comprehensive nationally representative study of technology-facilitated abuse (TFA) among U.S. young adults ages 18-35


U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women

Evaluation Training and Technical Assistance Center (ETAC)

Evaluation training, TA, and rigorous evaluations for DoD sexual assault prevention activities


Department of Defense (DoD)

Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic & Treatment (EPSDT)

Assessing and analyzing state availability, delivery, and provision of EPSDT benefit services


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services