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SPDG: Family, School and Community Partnering - Institutions of Higher Education

The intention of the Colorado State Personnel Development Grant goal 5.5 is to increase future educators' meaningful participation with families in a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (RtI and PBIS).

A first step in supporting this goal was to develop and administer a survey to assess current educator family partnering preparation in Colorado Institutions of Higher Education during the spring of 2011. Results indicated that future Colorado educators learn about working with families primarily through the infusion of related information into existing courses. Faculty members were asked about their preference for further information regarding how best to prepare educators to work effectively with families. Recommendations for future venues and practices regarding family-school partnering coursework, experiences, and desired resources were developed. This website, with a focus on meeting the needs of higher education faculty in educator preparation programs, was designed as a result of these recommendations.

On this website, you will find results from the SPDG survey, highlighted research on family-school partnering, relevant Colorado legislation, suggested textbooks and websites, and sample syllabi. It is considered to be a "work in progress" with hopefully, ongoing contributions from those teaching in Colorado's educator training programs. The goal is to provide easy access to material that can be used in supporting future educators in partnering effectively with families.

Colorado 2011 SPDG Study: Preparing Colorado Educators to Partner with Families in a Multi-Tiered System of Supports

Select Articles

California Department of Education (2011). Family engagement framework: A tool for California school districts. Sacramento: Author (PDF)

This article sets forth a framework created for California schools when considering working with families. This framework includes principles as well as tools, research, district activities, and rubrics for implementation, all of which are included in the document.

Caspe, M., Lopez, M.E., Chu, A., & Weiss, H.B. (2011). Teaching the teachers: Preparing educators to engage families for student achievement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Projects and Alexandria, VA: National PTA.

This brief describes the importance and benefits of training for educators in regards to working with families, and the specific skills they need to be effective.

Epstein, J.L., & Sanders, M.G. (2006). Prospects for change: Preparing educators for school, family, and community partnerships. Peabody Journal of Education, 81(2), 81-120.

The researchers in this article examined courses and content offered to prospective educators, as well as perspectives of leaders and ideas for the future from a sample of 161 colleges, schools, and departments of education. The results offer factors associated with preparedness of graduates, coverage of partnership topics, and future areas for change.

Harvard Family Research Project. (2010). Family engagement as a systematic, sustained, and integrated strategy to promote student achievement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

This brief discusses family engagement as a part of complementary learning: the creation of an integrated set of resources to help support students. The definition of family engagement is expanded beyond volunteering at school, and the authors suggest that family engagement is a shared responsibility in learning, continuous across a child’s life, and occurring in multiple settings. Each of these components is explored.

Henderson, A.T., & Mapp, K.L. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family and community connections on achievement. Austin, TX: National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools.

This is a comprehensive research review of the positive effects of schools partnering with families in improving student academic achievement and other outcomes, spanning two decades. Specific, concrete applications to practice are described, as are important concepts for community members and policy developers. Cultural and linguistic diversity is addressed specifically.

Jeynes, W. (2012). A meta-analysis of the efficacy of different types of parental involvement programs for urban students. Urban Education, 47(4), 706-742. doi: 10.1177/0042085912445643.

Jeynes’ analysis examined relationship between academic achievement of students pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and parental involvement programs. The results indicate a significant relationship between academic achievement and parental involvement, and also discussed are several types of school-based parental involvement programs which are effective. Significance and recommendations are discussed. This is one of a series of meta-analyses, which highlight the importance of families in student achievement.

Redding, S., Murphy, M., & Sheley, P. (Eds). (2011). Handbook on family and community engagement. Lincoln, IL: Academic Development Institute/Center on Innovation & Improvement.

The handbook discusses many specific topics within the field of family engagement, including collaboration in high school, with students who have disabilities, and in early childhood. Each chapter offers background on the topic as well as suggestions for action for the state education agency, local education agency, and school. Case studies are also presented, as well as a checklist for action at the conclusion of the handbook.


Center for School, Family, and Community Partnerships - The Center conducts research and applies this information to policy work and programs that help parents, educators, and community members work together to strengthen schools and families. Present on the website are professional development materials and success stories from the National Network of Partnership Schools, a program provided for schools and districts. There is also a focus on TIPS (Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork), a research-based type of interactive homework, and how to implement it.

Family Involvement Network of Educators (FINE) - Harvard Family Research Project - The FINE website provides stakeholders with research dedicated to strengthening family-school-community partnerships. The website contains current studies as well as key foundational research from the past decade. Case studies, briefs, policy work, and ways in which to connect with other professionals on family engagement are also available on the website.

SEDL National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools - SEDL provides this website of resources to support connections among stakeholders in students’ lives. Provided are webinars, toolkits, literature based on research, and forums. There are also many easy to access and use briefs/handouts on a variety of topics ranging from working with diverse populations to legal mandates of No Child Left Behind.

Colorado Department of Education Resources

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

This website provides resources on PBIS in Colorado. This includes professional development opportunities, websites, information on implementing PBIS and networking.

Response to Intervention (RtI)

The RtI website helps stakeholders learn what RtI is and how it is implemented in schools by providing an overview of RtI in Colorado, glossary of terms, legislation related to RtI in Colorado, and the six components of RtI. Professional development opportunities and tools/resources are also provided.

Family, School, and Community Partnering in RtI

This site offers tools and resources such as archived FSCP Network communications, stakeholder training materials, related articles, and the RtI Family and Community Partnering: "On the Team and at the Table" Toolkit.

The toolkit is an extensive resource for implementing family-school partnering in the RtI process. It provides essential background information as well as tools and resources for involving families at each level of RtI: universal, targeted and intensive. These materials are immediately useful and adaptable to different schools. Progress monitoring and evaluation tools are also included, as well as additional resources that can be accessed.

Course Ideas

  • Sample Syllabi - Colorado
    • Family-School Partnering and Consultation, University of Denver (PDF) (Word)
    • Multi-Tiered Family, School, and Community Partnering, Colorado Department of Education (PDF) (Word)
  • Suggested Texts (PDF)


Daphne Pereles, M.A.
Colorado Department of Education, Executive Director of Learning Supports

Cyndi Boezio, Ph.D.
Colorado Department of Education, Project Director, State Personnel Development Grant and PBIS Supervisor

Erin Sullivan, M.A., M.Ed.
Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Statewide Coordinator

Gloria Miller, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Denver

Cathy Lines, Ph.D.
Colorado Department of Education, Family, School, And Community Partnering Consultant
Adjunct Professor, University of Denver

Kirsten Hermanutz, M.A.
Graduate Assistant and Doctoral Student, University of Denver

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