3 years in the making, Parents as Allies’ guidebook offers a flexible roadmap for real family-school engagement

How can families and schools bridge the ocean that too often exists between them?

In many communities around the world, there have never been clear ways for parents and teachers to connect and genuinely partner to support students. A generation of mothers and fathers have made efforts to help kids learn, but not necessarily in partnership with teachers. Likewise, most teachers spend their careers with no roadmap for welcoming parents as collaborative partners.

When the COVID pandemic made the already spotty and often ineffective communication between families and schools even more difficult, it was clear than communities needed to make progress on this key aspect of the learning landscape.

Download a free copy of Parents as Allies: A Guidebook for Bridging the Ocean Between Home and School Through Innovative Family-School Engagement.

That’s why Parents as Allies was born. This global, collaborative project — led by Kidsburgh, grounded in research by the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at the Brookings Institution and including valuable partnership with hundrED and Learning Heroes — was launched in 2021 to help school districts and the families they serve hack this challenge.

Along with mentoring diverse teams of parents and educators to use design thinking to hack family-school engagement in ways that best serve their unique communities, Parents as Allies has hosted community conversations, produced webinars, spread our learning to additional school districts, shared our discoveries with global audiences and continued exploring the growing body of research around this vital subject.

Less than a year after Parents as Allies was launched, 200 new ideas had already emerged. The work only grew from there. Teams dreamed up events that fostered cross-cultural understanding and tackled longstanding issues like the difficulty of getting clearance to volunteer in school buildings. So many new ideas took root. In one school district, parents even became maker coaches at their local elementary school.

Three years later, a total of 31 school teams from 28 school districts across western Pennsylvania have created and tested hundreds of hacks forging engagement between families and schools.

These teams’ many discoveries are the centerpiece of a new guidebook for communities ready to embrace this work. You’re invited to download a free copy of “Parents as Allies: A Guidebook for Bridging the Ocean Between Home and School Through Innovative Family-School Engagement.”