Family Enagement

Does your school do a good job of reaching out to parents? 

Parental Involvement Checklist

One way to start improving your school's parent-school partnerships is by assessing present practices. The following questions can help you evaluate how well your school is reaching out to parents.

  • Which partnership practices are currently working well at each grade level?

  • Which partnership practices should be improved or added in each grade?

  • How do you want your school's family involvement practices to look three years from now?

  • Which present practices should change and which should continue?

  • Which families are you reaching and which are hard to reach?

  • What can be better done to communicate with the latter?

  • What costs are associated with the improvements you want?

  • How will you evaluate the results of your efforts?​


What opportunities will you arrange for teachers, parents, and students to share information on successful practices in order to strengthen their own efforts? Use this Checklist below based on the Six Slices of Parental Involvement - our National Standards - to evaluate and improve parent-school partnerships:



The Checklist

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1. Volunteering

Goal: Recruit and organize parent help and support

Get our learning compact - the Parental Involvement Pledge!

Sample Best Practices:

  • Use the Parental Involvement Pledge/Volunteer Information Survey to identify all available talents, times, and locations of volunteers.

  • School and classroom volunteer program to help teachers and administrators students and other parents. Parent room or center for volunteer work, meetings, resources for families.

  • Class parent, telephone tree, or other structures to provide all families with needed information.

  • Parent patrols or other activities to aid safety and operation of school programs.


Project Appleseed

In a U.S. Department of Education study, a majority of Title I schools indicate that compacts help promote family involvement. Title I principals were asked to rate the helpfulness of compacts in achieving different types of school and family outcomes. Responses tended to differ by school poverty, with the highest-poverty schools finding compacts most helpful.In the highest-poverty schools, 85 percent of principals found Title I compacts helpful in supporting homework completion.


  • About 8 out of 10 principals in high-poverty Title I schools rated compacts as helpful, as did a majority of principals in low-poverty schools.

  • Across all schools, about 30 percent of the principals considered compacts “very helpful”.

  • Principals perceived compacts as having the greatest impact on homework completion, school climate, student discipline, and reading at home—factors that are amenable to intervention by school-family partnership activities.



  • Use the Parental Involvement Pledge to recruit volunteers widely so that all families know that their time and talents are welcome.

  • Make flexible schedules for volunteers, assemblies, and events to enable parents who to participate.

  • Organize volunteer work, provide training, match time and talent with school, teacher, and student needs, and recognize efforts so that participants are productive.



For Students

  • Skill in communicating with adults.

  • Increased learning of skills that receive tutoring or targeted attention from volunteers.

  • Awareness of many skills, talents, occupations, and contributions of parents and other volunteers.


For Parents

  • Understanding teacher's job; increased comfort in school interactions and carryover of school activities at home.

  • Self-confidence in ability to work in school and with children, or take steps for own education or work.

  • All-family awareness that families are welcomed and valued at school.

  • Gains in specific skills of volunteer work.


For Teachers

  • Readiness to involve families in new ways, including those who do not volunteer at school.

  • Awareness of parent talents and interest in school and children.

  • Greater individual attention to students, with help from volunteers.

2. Parenting

Goal: Help all families establish home environments to support children as students.

Engage the positive effects of teacher home visits & parent education.

Sample Best Practices

  • Home visits at transition points to preschool, elementary, middle and high school; and neighborhood meetings to help families understand schools and to help schools understand families.

  • School provides suggestions for home conditions that support learning at each grade level.

  • School provides workshops, videotapes, and/or web based information on parenting and child-rearing at each grade level.

  • Parent education and other courses or training for parents (e.g., GED, college credit; family literacy).

  • Family support programs to assist families with health nutrition, and other services.


  • Provide information to all families who want it or who need it, not just to the few who can attend workshops or meetings at the school building.

  • Enable families to share information about culture, background, children's talents and needs with schools.

  • Assure that all information for and from families is clear, usable, and linked to children's success in school.​


For Students

  • Awareness of family supervision; respect for parents

  • Positive personal qualities, habits, beliefs, values, taught by family.

  • Balance in time on chores, other activities, and homework.

  • Awareness of importance of school.


For Parents

  • Understanding and confidence about parenting, child and adolescent development, and changes in home conditions for learning as children proceed through school.

  • Awareness of own and others' challenges in parenting.

  • Feeling of support from school and other parents.


For Teachers

  • Understanding families' backgrounds, cultures, concerns, goals, needs, and views of their children.

  • Respect for families' strengths and efforts.

  • Understanding of student diversity.

  • Awareness of own skills to share information on child development.

​3. Communicating

Goal: Design more effective forms of school-to-home and home-to-school communications with all families each year about school programs and their children's progress.

Sample Best Practices

  • Fill the homework gap for struggling families. Increase home-to-school communication and end digital gaps for struggling students and families. Get discounted broadband, discounted laptops, software & training for Title I parents and schools!

  • Conferences with every parent at least once a year, with follow-ups as needed.

  • Language translators assist families as needed.

  • Weekly or monthly folders of student work are sent home and reviewed, parental comments returned to teacher.

  • Parent and student pick-up of report card, with conferences on improving grades.

  • Clear information on choosing schools, or courses, programs, and activities within schools.

  • Clear information on all school policies, programs reforms, and transitions.​


  • Review the readability, clarity, form, and frequency of all memos, notices, and other print and non-print communications.

  • Consider parents who do not speak English well, do not read well, or need large type.

  • Review the quality of major communications such as the schedule, content, and structure of conferences; newsletters; report cards and others.

  • Establish clear two-way channels for communications from home to school and school to home.​



For Students

  • Awareness of own progress, and actions needed to maintain or improve grades.

  • Understanding of school expectations and procedures for behavior attendance and other policies.

  • Informed decisions about courses and programs.

  • Awareness of own role in partnerships, serving as courier and communicator.


For Parents

  • Understanding school programs and policies.

  • Monitoring and awareness of child's progress.

  • Conduct of responsive activities to address student's problems as needed.

  • Interactions with teachers and ease of communications with school and teachers.


For Teachers

  • Increased diversity and use of communications with families, and awareness of own ability to communicate clearly.

  • Appreciation and use of parent network for communications.

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