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Family Engagement and Education: A Research Scan and Recommendations

September 17, 2014

In September 2012, The Heinz Endowments asked the Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) at Brown University to conduct a research scan of family engagement, leadership, and organizing work related to education happening in Pittsburgh, as a part of the Endowments' larger work in supporting families as important stakeholders in their children's education. Annenberg's goal was to produce a well-researched scan and analysis of the family engagement and organizing for school reform landscape in Pittsburgh and to provide recommendations for viable funding strategies to support family engagement and organizing capacity building. Research questions for the scan included:1. Given the overall context of school reform efforts in Pittsburgh, what are the opportunities and challenges for influence from community-based parent leadership and organizing?2. What community-based organizations with a current or potential focus on equitable education reform exist in Pittsburgh?3. What is the capacity of each organization to engage in parent/family leadership and organizing work to influence school reform?All of the work completed for this report was done from September 2012 through April 2013. More specifically, data was collected from November 2012 through February 2013. Thus, new developments and changes related to what is reported here that have occurred since the spring of 2013 are not reflected in our data, findings, analysis, or recommendations.What follows is an overview of the methodology and conceptual framework driving the design and analysis of our scan research, a detailed summary of what we learned about the landscape for family engagement and leadership in Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS), a scan of current community-based organizations' (CBOs) work and capacity for supporting family engagement and leadership, and recommendations of potential strategies for cultivating family engagement and education organizing in Pittsburgh.

The Strengths and Challenges of Community Organizing as an Education Reform Strategy: What the Research Says

January 27, 2012

Outlines the advantages of community organizing as a reform strategy, such as its ability to address power relationships and build political will for broad reform; evidence of impact; effective strategies, including working via alliances; and challenges.

The Strengths & Challenges of Community Organizing as an Education Reform Strategy

January 26, 2011

Based on a literature review, examines the role of community organizing in ensuring the long-term sustainability of school and district reform efforts by addressing patterns of inequality in underserved communities; effective strategies; and challenges.

Improving Schools Through Youth Leadership and Community Action

September 30, 2009

Presents a case study of community organizing for school reform by Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition and Sistas and Brothas United: how their campaigns shaped leadership development, district policy, school capacity, and student outcomes.

Keeping Parents and Student Voices at the Forefront of Reform

September 30, 2009

Presents a case study of community organizing for school reform by Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project and Youth United for Change: how developing leadership, relationships, and research shaped district policy, school capacity, and student outcomes.

Building a Campaign for Reading Reform in Miami

September 11, 2009

Presents a case study of community organizing for school reform by Miami's People Acting for Community Together: how its campaign for a new literacy program shaped leadership development, district-level policy, school-level capacity, and student outcomes.

Rethinking the Teacher Pipeline for an Urban Public School System

July 31, 2009

Presents a case study of community organizing for school reform by Chicago ACORN: how its coalition of community groups, training programs, teacher unions, and others shaped leadership development, district policy, school capacity, and student outcomes.

Securing a College Prep Curriculum for All Students

July 31, 2009

Presents a case study of community organizing for school reform by Los Angeles' Community Coalition: how its intergenerational campaign for college preparatory classes shaped leadership development, district policy, school capacity, and student outcomes.

Building Partnerships to Reinvent School Culture

May 31, 2009

Presents a case study of community organizing for school reform by Austin Interfaith: how its "alliance schools" network and parent and community engagement shaped leadership development, district-level policy, school-level capacity, and student outcomes.

Building a Districtwide Small Schools Movement

April 30, 2009

Presents a case study of community organizing for school reform by Oakland Community Organizations: how parent and community engagement in a campaign for small schools shaped leadership development, district policy, school capacity, and student outcomes.

Organized Communities, Stronger Schools: A Preview of Research Findings

March 31, 2008

Assesses the impact of community organizing for school reform on student outcomes such as attendance and test scores, school-community relationships, parent engagement, teacher morale, and policy and resource distribution at the system level.