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 Committee 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.

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 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 encourages action at a national level. It provides information on legislation, how to reach legislators and leads letter-writing campaigns. It supports family engagement at an individual level. Local PTAs seek to improve schools at the local level; check with your school.

Parent Information and Resource Centers

Previously funded by the U.S. Department of Education, PIRC centers provide parents with training, information, and support for their children’s developmental and educational needs, and help strengthen partnerships between parents and schools. Funding for program as a whole has been discontinued by the Department of Education, but several centers  are funded from other sources and remain open. Check the PIRC directory to determine the status of each state.

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. The training, model and programs are used in 11 states and Mexico City and provided in more than 15 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.”

Public Education Network

PEN has produced an 80-page guide called “Using NCLB to Improve Student Achievement: An Action Guide for Community and Parent Leaders” that can be downloaded for free.