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Online resources for parental involvement

Parent involvement can have a powerful impact. Learn how to connect with groups that promote parent involvement in schools.

By GreatSchools Staff

Check these helpful online resources to find out about research on how parent involvement affects academic achievement, how to interpret data on school performance and where parents can obtain information that helps them get involved in schools.

Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership

CIPL has trained more than 1,000 parents to take an active role in school improvement. It is a project of the Prichard Commitee for Academic Excellence, an independent citizens' advocacy group that has worked since 1983 to improve education in Kentucky.

The Education Trust

As part of its mission to raise the quality of education for all students, the Education Trust trains parents as Standards Bearers. It teaches them what grade-level learning standards mean and how they can be used as tools for school reform.

Family Involvement Network of Educators

Part of the Harvard Family Research Project, FINE promotes partnerships between families, communities and schools. The site includes Member Insights and Resources that can help parents make a case for family involvement in schools.

National ParentNet Association 

The NPNA offers a wealth of resources for increasing parent involvement in schools, including articles, success stories, scholarly research, and links to organizations and parenting programs. It is home to ParentNet®, a highly-acclaimed and low cost parent-led process that builds collaborative parent-school partnerships.

The Nation's Report Card

Produced by the federally funded National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), The Nation's Report Card is the most authoritative assessment of the skills and knowledge of U.S. students. It's a good starting point for gathering data to raise parent awareness of the need for academic improvement. For example, NAEP reported only 29% of fourth grade students in the U.S. read at a proficient level in 1998 and only 25% performed at a proficient level in mathematics in 2000.

National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education

This organization, which advocates the involvement of parents and families in their children's education, lists events and resources on its Web site. A special section of the site is devoted to helping children with special needs.

National Network of Partnership Schools

Centered at Johns Hopkins University, the NNPS brings together schools, districts and state departments of education that are committed to school-family-community partnerships.

National PTA

The National PTA lists National Standards for Parent/Family Involvement Programs and suggests project ideas. It encourages schools to apply for a Certification of Excellence, which it awards to those with outstanding parent involvement programs.

Parent Information and Resource Centers

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, these 77 PIRC centers are located in every state except Alaska, Delaware, Nebraska and Oregon. They provide parents with training, information and support for their children's developmental and educational needs, and help strengthen partnerships between parents and schools.

Parent Institute for Quality Education

PIQE's mission is to bring schools, parents and communities together as equal partners in the education of every child. It has trained more than 325,000 parents in California and has pilot projects underway in Austin and Phoenix. Although PIQE initially focused on Hispanic parents, it now teaches its nine-week course in 14 languages.

Parents for Public Schools

PPS is a national organization of community-based chapters that work to strengthen public schools through broad-based enrollment. Its Web site has an extensive list of resources for parents who want to get involved.

PTO Today

This site networks parent-teacher organizations of all kinds. PTO Today lists resources for parent group leaders and offers three products: a magazine, online discussion groups and PTO conferences. Among its parent involvement suggestions are "School Family Nights."

Comments from readers

"I know alot of parents read this and I was hoping that you all could give me some great advice with anything to do with special education. Our school is great, I would just like to help them in anyway I could. My daughter is 6 years old and is Autistic PDD-NOS. We live in a small town in upstate, NY and I would love to get advice from anyone. My e-mail adress is so much.Sincerely, a dedicated mom"
"I am looking for a school, or school district, I think in Ohio, that was featured in the last couple of years on one on the news programs - Dateline, 20/20, etc. I just can't remember which one. The school required that each parent volunteer at the school for something like 3 hours a month. Some did landscaping, some in the classroom, whatever they chose. THe students improved dramatically with the volunteer requirement. I am seeking to find this school/school district so that I may implement something similar in our school district. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks so much! "