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Mapp Helps Develop Family Engagement Framework

National frameworks offer ways for schools to build stronger family and school partnerships.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today the upcoming release of the national frameworks for family engagement in which Senior Lecturer Karen Mapp, Ed.M.’93, Ed.D.’99, played an instrumental role developing.

In a brief video (see below) played today at the National Family Engagement Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, Duncan thanked Mapp and emphasized the importance of such frameworks.

“Today we’re sharing our Model Framework that schools can use to help them develop partnerships and increase family engagement,” Duncan said. “It’s just one example of the work that schools can do to build stronger family and school partnerships — ones that expand opportunities for shared responsibility between families and the broader community.”

Duncan, a supporter of the role of family engagement in student success turned to Mapp to begin drafting the frameworks in 2011. The Model Framework is based on research in adult education, family engagement, and best practices.

“The most exciting thing about the framework is in order for family-school partnerships to work, we have to focus on building capacity of all stakeholders,” Mapp said. “There are a lot of initiatives in existence that focus on building parent capacity, parent universities, or workshops thinking that if we can only teach parents how to better respond that everything will be fine. But we now know that in order for this to work and be more high impact that we have to also build the capacity of staff.”

Mapp called the new framework promising in that it aims for districts and states to target family and staff. “What we found is that school staff are very interested in connecting with families to support learning and school improvement, but don’t always know how to do that,” Mapp said.

The new framework offers such guidance in particular identifying resources to help build family capacity and teach staff. Mapp called the frameworks something that has been needed in the field for some time.

In August, Mapp will lead a three-day Program in Professional Education institute called “Family Engagement in Education: Creating Effective Home and School Partnerships for Student Success.”  Participating educators will focus on family engagement practices directly connected to student learning; the increased capacity to engage staff, families, and community; and ways to improve student outcomes.

For more information, visit: http://wpdev.gse.harvard.edu/ppe/programs/prek-12/portfolio/family_engagement.html.