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Program Focuses On Improving Family Engagement, Stronger Student Outcomes

New report shows first year of work by the Department of Education, school districts and Scholastic to support New Hampshire families and students.

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Education has released its end of year report for the New Hampshire Scholastic Center for Authentic Family Voice Report. The report provides a baseline of perceptions and expectations among families, teachers, and school administrators and involved family engagement workshops and participant surveys, all to support strong student learning. The work of the Center for Family Voice is a three-year project based off of the family engagement research by Dr. Karen Mapp of Harvard University.

Among other aspects, Mapp’s work seeks to develop “Staff who can honor and recognize the wealth of knowledge that families possess, which can in turn assist schools with pedagogical priorities; and families that can negotiate multiple roles — as supporters, monitors, advocates, and decision makers for their children.”

As a baseline project, schools and families were engaged in surveys and in Mapp’s Family Engagement Workshop Series. The workshops consisted of three full-day sessions focused on the research on family and community engagement, creating high-impact family engagement events and building action plans for practices aligned with school improvement goals. Surveys covered the topics of building relationships with families, sharing information with families, and building capacity among families, all to support strong student learning. They provide communities with information about the alignment of expectations among families, teachers and administrators.

“We are excited about this work,” stated Frank Edelblut, the commissioner of education. “We know and research confirms that children thrive when families play an active role in their education. Students earn higher grades and test scores, enroll in higher-level academic programs, display better social skills and behaviors, and are more likely to go on to post-secondary opportunities.”

According to Education Consultant Mary Lane, this program is important because it links stakeholders together and builds relationships in order to improve student and school outcomes.

“Unless we engage our communities and families, the work is not complete,” she said. “When we include parents and their voices, it provides a unique component and a powerful partnership that we sometimes miss as educators. We all benefit and we all grow.”

A copy of the report can be found here in PDF format. Acrobat Reader

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New Hampshire Department of Education
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