Parent Engagement

About Parent Engagement

Afterschool and expanded learning programs are often the most accessible way for parents to interface with teachers, school leaders and their children. Engaged parents become advocates for their children and understand what the school expects of student performance. Statewide afterschool networks have engaged statewide parent organizations, such as Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) and Parent Teacher Student Organizations, as well as federally-funded programs such as the Parent Information Resource Centers (PIRC).

Key Information

  • 25 percent of parents would send their children to an afterschool or expanded learning program if one were available to them.
  • Parents want afterschool and expanded learning programs to be ‘not MORE school’, but a well-rounded program with opportunities for enrichment as well as academic help.
  • Parents want their children to be safe and supervised during out-of-school time and they see afterschool programs as a big help to working families.
  • Communication from afterschool programs is not always parent-friendly for ease of understanding.

Strategies to Support Parent Engagement

  • Reach out to your local and statewide PTA
  • Know your state PIRC.
  • Review your statewide standards for quality to see if family and parental engagement is adequately addressed.
  • Help afterschool and expanded learning programs think about how they can support parents learning to support their children’s academic progress.

General Publications

Expanded Learning Opportunities can provide parents with approachable entry points to schools and their child’s education.
One-page handout for parents on how they can infuse character-building and educational activities into their child's summer days.
A step-by-step guide that provides creative and insightful tips to engage parents and families in afterschool.

Network Publications

A list of ideas to engage the PTA in afterschool programs.
This brochure informs parents on how to choose a quality after-school program for their children.
An advocacy flyer on how the community can get engaged in youth development.


A tool designed to support at-risk high school students by engaging families, schools and the community.
A toolkit giving community planners a one-stop shop of planning tools, reproducible materials and curricula with dynamic activities for parents to encourage a healthy weight in their family.