Parents Matter

Project Website

Parents Matter increases parent engagement and partnerships with schools by establishing effective communication and creating initiatives that promote academic awareness and success, through evidence based resources, technical assistance, and technology.



The purpose of Parents Matter is to provide parents, school districts, and educators with the most current research, the "best of the best" resources and practical tools in order to create a school community that integrates all stakeholders in student learning in a way that is:

  • Systemic - aligned to core goals.
  • Integrated - embedded into structures and processes designed to meet goals.
  • Authentic - based on real conversations, real interactions and relationships.
  • Sustainable - operates with adequate resources that are continually strengthened and improved.

    Parents Matter instills in parents and family members, the confidence they need in their own lives so they can steward and advocate for their children.

Program Vision

The vision of Parents Matter is to encourage:

  • A community in which every person, from parents and teachers to students and school leaders, believe they matter and are essential to one another’s success.
  • A strengthened academic environment when ALL students know that their parents and teachers are working together to support and encourage their success.
  • Unlimited school and parent partnerships governed by the understanding that everyone is essential to the process.

Research is clear on the result of involving, engaging, and empowering parents and how partnership impacts students’ social, emotional and academic success. Parents Matter offers a differentiated and proven way to accomplish this goal.


Parents, family members and guardians are a child’s first teachers. They instill the foundational values, habits and attitudes their children need to succeed in school and in life. Unfortunately, many parents see schools as supplanting, rather than supplementing, their role in the education of their children. Schools must change this dynamic by communicating effectively to parents the pivotal role that they play in a child’s education. Parent nights, group emails and a list of resources may increase involvement, but they do not promote engagement, and certainly do not create a partnership. Schools at all levels must foster an enduring partnership between parents, family members, guardians and educators.

To make a significant, positive impact on students’ academic, social and emotional success, parents must become part of the fabric of the school. True partnerships are built on trusting relationships over time. Each week shared together, each activity shared, each conversation staff and parents have, and each barrier acknowledged and removed encourages forward steps down the successful collaborative pathway.

This level of partnership is challenging. There are no simple solutions. The partnership model addresses problems and challenges and provides a framework with which to begin. Using the strategies and ideas in Parents Matter will encourage movement beyond the traditional parent and teacher roles and encourage every parent to be involved as a full partner in their child’s education.

  • Parents Matter offers a differentiated and proven way to accomplish this goal.
  • Parents Matter is more than a program – it‘s a research-based catalyst in the creation of a powerful and enduring parent-educator partnership.
  • Parents Matter instills in parents and family members the confidence they need to steward and advocate for their children resulting in academic success.
  • Parents Matter provides educators with tools and strategies for building a classroom community.


The foundational beliefs of Parents Matter:

  • The potential of a school and its community members – leaders, educators, staff members, students and parents – is fully realized only when all members know they matter and accept their indispensable role in the success of the community.
  • A successful community is based on trust and openness.
  • Trust and openness are fostered by a culture of humility and respect; one that invites, notices, notes, values and honors the contributions of everyone in the community. That which is valued, is nurtured.
  • Recognition by each individual of the vital role they play in a vibrant school community enhances everyone’s sense of self-worth and agency.
  • Educators need training on how to encourage a true partnership with parents.
  • All parents have hopes and goals for their children - but many need advice on how to help their children attain these goals.
  • Parent partnership is a process and an approach, not a program of activities.
  • Every parent can be reached.
  • The barriers to an effective school-parent partnership are most likely to be found within the practices and policies of the school than within the parents themselves.