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A Toolkit for Educators



The Iowa Parent Information Resource Center (Iowa PIRC) has developed REACH Out to Parents for Student Success: A Toolkit for Educators. This tool was designed to assist school leaders in creating a culture that welcomes, honors, and connects with families in ways that result in a joint effort to design strategies and actions for the classroom at school and at home to help each child maximize his/her learning. To do that, educators and parents must come to the table together and learn from each other. The results of that work will not look like what either group has thought of as “parent involvement” in the past. Nor will it look like what the school district down the highway is doing. Each community must look at the needs of their own children, families, and schools to determine the best approach to take to support their children and youth as learners both at school and at home. REACH Out to Parents for Student Success: A Toolkit for Educators is a tool to help you do just that!

So What


At a basic level, the toolkit can provide you with tools to assist your thinking and actions in increasing parent and family engagement to increase student achievement. It can also assist district and building leadership in forming, developing, and facilitating an action team to make decisions and implement family engagement as one strategy to increase student achievement in the district or building.

The kit is organized into 6 key steps that are necessary in developing and implementing any initiative intended to impact the quality of student learning.
  • Planning to Plan – tools to create an effect team for family engagement.
  • Needs Assessment – tools to learn more about current practices in the building/district.
  • Expectations and Research-Based Practices – tools to address actions that are research based.
  • Planning – tools to document the goals, activities, and program evaluation for family engagement.
  • Sustainability – talking points for communicating with parents and the community.
  • Program Evaluation – basic tools to review the impact.

Now What


Let’s get started with tools that can be helpful in welcoming, honoring, and connecting with parents, families, and the community in order to impact student learning.

Educators’ Toolkit - Table of Contents

REACH Out to Parents for Student Success – A Toolkit for Educators; Developing Our Youth: Fulfilling a Promise, Investing in Iowa’s Future; “Learning Is Everyone’s Business: Learning Supports in Iowa”

Tool i:

Parent Teacher Conferencing – Iowa Parent Information Resource Center (PIRC)


Tool ii:

REACH– Possible Impact and Implementation Questions


Tool 1.1:

Community Profile:Framework for Analysis of the Community/School District Profile Data


Tool 1.2

Tool 1.2.1:

Sample Questions to Identify People of Influence

Sample Influence Map


Tool 1.3.1:

Including Every Parent video (The book is available from the Project for School Innovation)


Tool 1.3.2:

Parents and Learning by Sam Redding


Tool 2.1:

Sample Inventory of School and Family Partnerships


Tool 2.2:

“Frank Discussion in Focus Groups Can Yield Useful Data” by Robby Champion (This article is also available at the National Staff Development Council web site)


Tool 2.3:



Tool 2.3.1:

Parent Friendly Schools—Starting the Conversation
This file is designed to be printed as a double-sided document.

Karen Mapp Video

Karen Mapp Video II



Tool 2.4:

Performance Measures Display


Tool 2.5:

Building/District Systems: Stakeholders – Families and Communities


Tool 3.1 


Tool 3.1.1:

Parent Involvement – No Child Left Behind and Title I 

Sample Letter from Iowa Department of Education


Tool 3.3:

Some of Iowa PIRC’s Favorite Resources


Tool 3.2:

Promoting Success through Parent Involvement - Awareness PowerPoint (to be distributed during AEA Parent Involvement Awareness Training)


Tool 3.4:

Welcoming New Iowans (This document is available at the Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration web site)


Tool 3.5:

Family Engagement Self-Assessment Map (in process)


Tool 4.1:

Title I SINA Action Plan for the Academic Years: 2005-2007


Tool 4.2:

Partnering with Parents – Walking the Journey Together – Iowa State University


Tool 4.3:

Tool 4.4:


EarlyAccess Programming


Tool 4.5:

Iowa Support Team Membership


Tool 4.6:

Standards/Questions to Consider When Deciding on a Strategy or Project Related to Increasing Parent Involvement that Improves Student Achievement 


Tool 4.7.2 and
Tool 4.7:

Cultural Competence – Administrative Version(Tool 4.7.2); Education in Mexico (Tool 4.7); Mexico (Authors, Education in Mexico, Primary, Upper/Middle, Enrollment of the Binational Students, Resources)


Tool 4.7.1 and
Tool 4.8:

Sample Questions to Ask Families to Learn about Their Culture and Their Views on Parent Involvement(Tool 4.7.1); Education in the United States (Tool 4.8); Our Kids – English Language Learners in Your Classroom (DVD) – Iowa Department of Education (This DVD is available at the Iowa Department of Education – contact

Tool 4.9 and
Tool 4.9.1:

REACH – Book Buddies (Tool 4.9); REACH – Book Buddies Study(Tool 4.9.1)

Tool 4.10:

Increasing Student Success through Parent Involvement (Iowa PIRC) (Please access the IowaParents web site)

Tool 4.11:  Math and Parent Partnerships (MAPPS): Involving Parents in the Mathematics of the Schools, Changing Attitudes about Mathematics, and Raising School-Age Competencies in Mathematics  

Tool 4.12:

Ideas for Helping Your Children Develop Reading and Math Skills: Parent Involvement Resource Center Workshops for Families

Tool 5.1:

Sample Talking Points – (in process)

Tool 5.2 and
Tool 5.3:

Chapter 12 Community Reporting – Summary of Survey and Focus Group Research Study (Boddy Media Group) (Tool 5.2); Communication Plan (Tool 5.3) (in process)

Tool 5.4:

National PTA’s Building Successful Partnerships

Tool 6.1:

Parent Involvement – Looking at the Data

So What
Now What

Essential Learnings

  1. Programs and Interventions that engage families in supporting their children’s learning at home are linked to higher student achievement.
  2. The continuity of family involvement at home appears to have a protective effect on children as they progress through our complex education system
  3. Families of all cultural backgrounds, education, and income levels encourage their children, talk with them about school...
  4. Parent and community involvement that is linked to student learning has a great effect on achievement than more general forms of involvement...
  5. Programs that successfully connect with families and community invite involvement, are welcoming, and address specific needs of parents and community.
  6. Parent involvement programs that are effective in engaging diverse families recognize, respect, and address cultural and class differences.
  7. Effective programs to engage families and community embrace a philosophy of partnership...


unchecked checkbox Birth to 5
checked checkbox Elementary
checked checkbox Middle School
checked checkbox High School

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