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Project Appleseed

Public schools can be improved only if the entire community unites on their behalf.

Project Appleseed attracts, mobilizes and organizes community support.

Research and Strategy

Like the double helix that combines and recombines genetic material to renew life, a school improvement strategy must combine two complementary strands: an outside strand that gathers broad community support and resources and an inside strand that changes the ways schools are run and instruction is delivered (Hill, Wise, Shapiro, 1989). Project Appleseed attracts, mobilizes and organizes broad community support. By leveraging the power of the Family Engagement Toolbox, National Parental Involvement Day, and Public School Volunteer Week, schools can mobilize the outside strand and create a powerful double helix of school improvement.

Project Appleseed Double Helix

Project Appleseed is guided by the research behind effective family engagement that highlights the importance of involving families, schools, and communities in education in order to build a pathway to college- and career-readiness in today's competitive global society. Studies have repeatedly shown that family engagement is positively correlated with student achievement. However, it is often not activated as an integral part of school reform efforts. The research emphasizes the need to transform family engagement strategies so that they are intentionally aligned with student learning and achievement (Weiss, Lopez, & Rosenberg, 2010).

Project Appleseed's strategic approach to family engagement includes three key elements: systemic, integrated, and sustained.

  • Systemic family engagement is designed as a core component of educational goals such as school readiness, student achievement, and school turnaround.

  • Integrated family engagement is embedded into structures and processes designed to meet these goals, including training and professional development, teaching and learning, community collaboration, and the use of data for continuous improvement and accountability.

  • Sustained family engagement operates with adequate resources, including public–private partnerships, to ensure meaningful and effective strategies that have the power to impact student learning and achievement.

Strategic Framework

Our organization's vision is to create a future where all public school families in America will be equipped with the knowledge, skills, resources and motivation for effective family engagement. Its mission is to strengthen families, schools, and communities by making family engagement a systemic, integrated, and sustained school improvement strategy. Project Appleseed has an evidenced-based framework for family, school, and community engagement in education.


Project Appleseed's organizational goals include:


  • Increasing family engagement

  • Advancing the importance of evidence-based family engagement

  • Improving communication between families and schools

  • Decreasing the decline in parent group formation, participation and advocacy that sustains family engagement over time.


The Strategic Framework of Project Appleseed is divided into four strategic imperativesEach strategic imperative is supported by a set of objectives and activities, which if accomplished, are expected to lead to systemic changes: 

  •   A. Expand the organization's reach to K-12 Title I public school families with school-aged children.

  •   B. Integrate the use of technology to put helpful information and resources at parents' fingertips.

  •   C. Strengthen programs through the adoption of effective research, innovation, and continuous quality improvement.

  •   D  Strengthen programs through the adoption of effective research, innovation, and continuous quality improvement.


The objectives for the 2022-2027 strategic framework include:

  • Securing partnerships

  • Expanding outreach

  • Increasing parent volunteers

  • Developing technology to support parent learning and involvement.

Project Appleseed Framework

Strategic Approach

One key aspect of Project Appleseed's approach is the use of Title I compacts, like the Parent Engagement Pledge, which have been shown to be effective in promoting family involvement in Title I schools, according to the National Assessment of Title I (1999), a study done by the U.S. Department of Education. The approach includes several inputs, such as utilizing the Family Engagement Toolbox to recruit family engagement, disseminating the Parent Engagement Pledge and Report Card to all families, and advancing staff development with the Traveling Workshop and Family Engagement Toolbox Training.

The approach also includes promoting the Six Slices of Family Engagement (Epstein 1992), activities and partnerships through National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week, utilizing technology to provide information and resources to parents, and advocating for authentic family engagement policies and metrics. Additionally, it includes seeding growth of PTA/PTO chapters and local parent-school organizations, as well as evaluating and translating effective interventions.

These inputs are expected to lead to various outcomes, such as:

  • An increase in the number of educators and parents who are trained in family engagement

  • An increase in knowledge on how to become involved in children's education

  • Building or strengthening of local collaborations at each school site to promote and sustain parent involvement.


The long-term outcomes include:

  • Increased awareness and commitment to family engagement and its sustainability

  • Increased levels of parent involvement in their children's education

  • Established family engagement program sustainability


The impacts include:

  • Increased student success

  • Increased school success

  • Community capacity to advocate effectively for better schools

Research also highlights the importance of community engagement, which refers to the support, services, and advocacy activities that community-based organizations provide in order to improve student learning and promote family engagement. Community schools, for example, consist of partnerships between schools and local organizations to provide comprehensive supports such as tutoring and service learning for students, and leadership training, parenting education, and health and social services for families.


Overall, the research emphasizes the need to move away from "random acts of family involvement" towards systemic and sustained approaches to family engagement that are aligned with educational goals and involve all stakeholders, including families, schools, and communities, in a collaborative effort to improve student learning and achievement.

Project Appleseed Strategic Approach Impacts Vertical.jpg


  • Hill, Wise, Shapiro, Educational Progress Cities Mobilize to Improve Their Schools, Rand Corporation, 1989

  • Epstein, Joyce L. School and Family Partnerships. Report NO. 6. Center on Families Communities, Schools and Children's Learning.; Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, Md., 1992

  • Prospects Study, Promising Results, Continuing Challenges: The Final Report of the National Assessment of Title I, 1999

  • Weiss, Lopez, & Rosenberg, Beyond Random Acts Family, School, and Community Engagement  as an Integral Part of Education Reform, 2010

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