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Framing Program Evaluation: Why We Should Tinker With Theories of Change and Logic Models

While evaluation needs may vary, all organizations can benefit from utilizing theory-based evaluation tools to frame evaluation efforts. This article explores how three organizations developed their program’s theory of change and logic model.

Carolina Buitrago (November 19, 2015) Research Report

Putting an Equity Lens on Family Engagement in Oregon

Creating high-quality early childhood systems necessitates a strong focus on family engagement. Check out how Oregon is adopting an equity lens and building a strong foundation to engage families by leveraging federal funds, community leadership, and philanthropic investments.

Anairis Hinojosa and M. Elena Lopez (October 29, 2015) Research Report

A Human-Centered Approach to Family Engagement

A human-centered design approach – an approach that is based on observation, empathy, optimism, collaboration, and experimentation – opens new possibilities for educators to motivate and sustain family engagement.

Harvard Family Research Project () Research Report

Something Borrowed, Something New: Libraries as Learning Hubs

We share several resources on libraries - modern, evolving community spaces of education and support for families and children.

Lorette McWilliams (September 2015) Research Report

Federal Collaborations: Bringing Authentic STEM Experiences to High-Need Communities Through the Nation’s Largest Out-of-School Program

Ellen Lettvin from the U.S. Department of Education highlights how the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is collaborating with various federal agencies to bring STEM into out-of-school time learning.

Ellen E. Lettvin (June 10, 2015) Research Report

Explore More: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Resources

Children can develop 21st-century skills, even outside of the classroom. This resource guide offers hands-on, maker-inspired activities, along with advice from museums, libraries, and afterschool programs, for educators and families to use when exploring STEM topics with children.

Harvard Family Research Project (June 3, 2015) Research Report

Q & A With S. Craig Watkins: Family Engagement in Connected Learning

In this Q & A, S. Craig Watkins discusses the family’s role in the connected learning model, and how students can link what they learn in schools, afterschool programs, and their communities using digital technology.

Harvard Family Research Project (May 27, 2015) Research Report

Leave Them Wanting More!: Engaging Youth in Afterschool

Afterschool programs are a powerful influence in the lives of young people, but their benefits can only be realized if youth are engaged. This commentary explores the different dimensions of youth engagement in afterschool programs and offers promising practices for those seeking to promote and foster youth engagement.

M. Elena Lopez (May 20, 2015) Research Report

“This Is Their House, Too”: An Afterschool Space Designed for and by Teenagers

Engagement in afterschool programming is one way to keep middle and high school youth engaged in their education. Learn about how the Everett Boys & Girls Club located just outside of Boston, uses intentional informality to keep students coming back and wanting more.

Deepa Vasudevan & Jessica Fei (May 20, 2015) Research Report

Four Important Things Research Tells Us About the Transition to School

The transition to school is a process—not just a one-time event—and begins during children’s preschool years and continues into and on through the early elementary grades. Find out four important things research tells us about the transition.

Margaret Caspe, M. Elena Lopez, and Chalatwan Chattrabhuti (March 19, 2015) Research Report

Engaging Families in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Project-Based Learning

To be successful, children need a strong science, technology, engineering, and math foundation. Learn how Iridescent, a project funded in part by the National Science Foundation, connects families, engineers, and children to develop these skills early on in school.

Tara Chklovski (March 19, 2015) Research Report

Q & A With Comienza en Casa: Using Technology to Smooth the Transition to School for Migrant Children and Families

In this Q & A, the developers of Comienza en Casa │“It Starts at Home,” talk about supporting migrant families to ensure their children have smooth transitions to school through the use of real-world and digital activities.

Harvard Family Research Project (March 19, 2015) Research Report

Bibliography of Transition Research

What is the evidence base to support family engagement in the transition to school? You can check out the articles in this bibliography to read about why transition to school matters for children, families, and communities.

Harvard Family Research Project (March 19, 2015) Research Report

Taking the Lead in Family Engagement: A Message to Our Followers on Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day is a time to reflect on the importance of leadership. Learn how policymakers, researchers, and practitioners are leading the field of family engagement.

Harvard Family Research Project (February 13, 2015) Research Report

How Organizations Provide Learning Opportunities for Children and Families

Read about how organizations—including early childhood programs, schools, afterschool programs, museums, and libraries—play a key role in helping families access resources, build social networks, and create learning mindsets.

Margaret Caspe and M. Elena Lopez (December 11, 2014) Research Report

A Strong Start for Family Engagement in Massachusetts

Through its Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge funds, Massachusetts has created strategic partnerships with museums and libraries, public television, family and community programs, community nonprofits, and public transportation to build a robust and growing statewide family engagement system.

Nathan Driskell (December 11, 2014) Research Report

Q & A With Rebecca Parlakian: Learn Anytime With the Let's Play App

How can you turn daily bedtime and mealtime routines into learning opportunities for young children? How can commuting, shopping, and other everyday activities offer vibrant learning moments for children? Read about the Let’s Play app to learn how!

Harvard Family Research Project (September 17, 2014) Research Report

The Transition to Afterschool: One City’s Approach to Connecting Young Children and Their Families to Learning and Enrichment Opportunities—Part Two

How can you create a resource to help families of young children successfully transition to afterschool? What questions should be addressed? This video looks at one city’s approach to helping connect families and their young children to afterschool enrichment opportunities.

Christine Patton (September 17, 2014) Research Report

Racing to the Top: Maryland's Promising Practices in Family Engagement

Maryland is embedding a new family engagement definition statewide as a foundation of policy and infrastructure. Through comprehensive partnerships, the state brings to scale family engagement approaches and launches new initiatives.

Nathan Driskell (September 17, 2014) Research Report

Sharing Assessment Data With Preschool Families in Preparation for Kindergarten

What are the benefits and challenges of sharing assessment data with preschool families? How can you do so effectively? A preschool teacher writes about her experiences, and provides valuable tips on how to share data with families in preparation for kindergarten.

Nell Shapiro (September 17, 2014) Research Report

Finding Time Together: Families, Schools, and Communities Supporting Anywhere, Anytime Learning

How do families spend time supporting their children’s informal and formal learning beyond the school day and across settings? Find out how educators and institutions are helping families promote their children’s learning experiences anytime, in school and beyond.

Christine Patton and Margaret Caspe (September 17, 2014) Research Report

Learning Together—Exploring a Nonprofit-Museum-Preschool-Family Partnership Model

Through a resourceful museum-preschool-family partnership involving cultural institutions across the city, an organization in New York City is providing rich anywhere, anytime learning opportunities for young children from low-income households. Learn how the Literacy Through Culture program hopes to increase families’ enthusiasm and appreciation for learning in a variety of contexts and build strong parent–child interactions around fun learning activities.

Barbara Palley, Cathleen Wiggins, Melissa Ptacek, Shanta Lawson, and Charlene Melville (June 9, 2014) Research Report

Family Engagement in Anywhere, Anytime Learning

Explore the world of anywhere, anytime learning with us! Read how researchers and practitioners are helping to close the opportunity gap by creating innovative spaces, developing strategic collaborations to ensure children’s success, and engaging families and children as partners in meaningful learning experiences, both in and out of school.

M. Elena Lopez, Margaret Caspe (June 9, 2014) Research Report

Libraries Helping to Close the Opportunity Gap: Maryland Library Partnership 

Through innovative and engaging family activities, the Maryland Library Partnership is playing a crucial community role by promoting learning anywhere, anytime and reaching out to parents to help them with their children’s learning, improve literacy, and close the vocabulary gap between low-income learners and their peers.


Nathan Driskell (June 9, 2014) Research Report

Family Engagement as a Shared Responsibility in a Digital Learning Environment

HFRP director Heather B. Weiss examines how families and others involved with children and youth can ensure that children obtain the access, supports, and opportunities that they need to get the full benefits of digital media for learning.

Heather B. Weiss (April 24, 2014) Research Report

© 2015 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project