Engaging Parents in Education: Lessons From Five Parental Information and Resource Centers
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Engaging Parents in Education: Lessons From Five Parental
Information and Resource Centers

Conducted by: WestEd, for the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement

Released: June 2007 (Download pdf)

Overview: This is the second publication in the latest Innovations in Education series, which identifies innovative and successful education programs across the country that are closing the achievement gap. Five Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs) from across the country are profiled. This report shares how they work with partner organizations to successfully increase parent involvement in education. The PIRCs emphasize the power of strong parent-educator partnerships to improve schools and raise academic achievement. Part I discusses how the PIRCs’ build understanding of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and other education related issues. Part II addresses how the PIRCs’ prepare and support parents and educators to take action for student learning. Each section includes tips for effective practice.

Key Findings: The five featured PIRCs vary in location, resources and staff expertise. They operate in different ways, use various strategies or use the same strategies in different ways. Even with their differences, they share general patterns which support using these approaches:

  • Know who you are serving. Understand the range of communication and training needs of parents, schools and districts.
  • Use your creativity to engage all parents.
  • Prepare parents and educators for partnership. Share NCLB parent involvement requirements; train people to work together.
  • Promote networks and other collaborative efforts. This avoids duplicating or conflicting efforts of like-minded organizations and agencies.

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