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The Importance of Family Engagement in Education

Student Success Improves with Family Engagement

Research shows that children realize optimal academic, attendance, and behavioral results when strong family engagement is present in their child’s education. The extent of parental engagement in education may range from regular visits with the school administrators and teachers and active volunteerism to participating in the planning, development, evaluation, and tracking of improvements. Youth Dot Gov is an organization that strives to identify and distribute promising strategies that will promote effective programs, practices, and policies addressing youth risk and protective factors (, 2024). The organization describes family engagement and states that it occurs when families assume a meaningful and proactive role in steering student outcomes in a positive direction.


Effective family engagement is characterized by families having a meaningful say in decisions that affect young people and their families. This collaborative approach operates at both the system and service levels and enhances all outcomes.  At the system level, it encompasses planning, policy development, evaluation, and tracking of improvements. At the service level, families and agency representatives work together to identify a child’s strengths and areas for improvement and then develop plans to sustain the child’s progress.  Agencies advocating for families to participate in their child’s education must demonstrate mutually beneficial attributes- open communication, mutual respect, and a commitment to a shared vision to help all youth and their families benefit the agency and other engaged families.  When employed, these mutually beneficial attributes will lead to optimal outcomes for their child.  The positive trajectory of student academic improvement occurs, and parent-teacher, parent-school, student-teacher, and student-school relationships also improve because of parent involvement.  


Collaborative work between families and the school increases the likelihood of identifying a family’s unique needs and developing relevant and culturally appropriate service plans that address needs, build on family strengths, draw from community support, and use resources more effectively.  A comprehensive review of the literature on family engagement in early childhood reveals a universal interest in educational success among families from diverse socioeconomic, educational, and racial/ethnic backgrounds. When provided with the necessary information and guidance, these families could effectively support their child’s learning at home and school.


The Department of Education designed the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships, which helps schools create effective strategies to engage parents and communities and bring schools to the forefront of community life. The framework shows that effective family-school partnerships happen when program staff “honor and recognize families’ fund of knowledge, connect family engagement to student learning, and create welcoming inviting cultures… (and when) …families can negotiate multiple roles (as) supporters, encouragers, monitors, advocates, decision-makers, (and) collaborators”. Given the importance of family engagement and its positive effect on the best outcomes for youth from kindergarten through high school, it is incumbent on education systems, including after-school enrichment programs, and parents to develop ways to collaborate for optimal outcomes for all youth and families.