Engaging Student Families, Adoption in the Classroom

Inclusion is one of the best ways to nurture student learners. These two resources offer tips on engaging student families and a positive approach to talking about adoption.

Teaching is a partnership between teachers, students, and parents. Resources from the Harvard Family Research Project and Adoptive Families lend practical strategies for working together so students can thrive and be the learners they are meant to be.

Harvard Family Research Project

VISIT WEBSITE: Harvard Family Research Project

Best practices and new innovations are a combination of the head and the heart. And the Harvard Family Research Project embodies an organization that brings head and heart to strengthening family, school, and community partnerships.  Its collection of resources includes articles, tip sheets, webinars, and professional development tools. Check out the resources below, and explore the Project’s website for more.

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Parent-Teacher Conference Tip Sheets

Today, most parents can track their child’s academic progress with the click of the mouse. But HFRP confirms that face-to-face interaction between parents and teachers is the foundation of successful communication and a good working relationship. These tip sheets provide suggestions for parents and teachers to walk into conferences informed and prepared so they can get to the heart of the student’s learning.

Click here for tip sheets

Adoptive Families 2Achieving Excellence and Innovation in Family, School, and Community Engagement Webinar Series

Engaging the family in a student’s education isn’t just a good idea. Research shows that involved families are a key factor in boosting student achievement and decreasing dropout rates. 

This four-part webinar series is more than a one-time event. It provides a set of day-to-day practices, attitudes, beliefs, and interactions that support learning at home, at school, after school, and during the summer. Leading practitioners, researchers, and policymakers share real-life examples to showcase best practices and new innovations. There also is a question-answer session at the end of each webinar, where you will probably hear someone ask the same question you were itching to ask.

To visit the Engagement Webinar Series click here

HFRP FamilyFree newsletter subscription

The Family Involvement Network of Educators (FINE) Newsletter shares the newest and best family involvement research and resources from HFRP and other experts. In addition to articles and first-person commentary from leaders in the field, the monthly newsletter features a “teaching case” that highlights a particular school and the challenges its administration, staff, families, and community may encounter to support student learning.

To sign up for a free subscription, click here.

Since 1983, Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) has helped thought leaders and those invested in education develop and evaluate strategies to promote the well being of children, youth, families, and their communities. HFRP works primarily within three areas—early childhood education, out-of-school time programming, and family and community support in education. At the heart of HFRP’s work is complementary learning—a systemic approach that integrates school and non-school supports to better ensure that all children have the skills they need to succeed.



Adoptive Families

Adoptive Families logo

VISIT WEBSITE: Adoptive Families

Today, it’s not unusual for you to have a child in your classroom who is adopted. Addressing adoption in the classroom can be awkward. You want to be sensitive and inclusive, but you may be uncertain of what to say or do. Adoptive Families offers positive, practical tools that send the message that adoption is a wonderful and normal way to build a family. Here are two terrific resources. You’ll find plenty more on the Adoptive Families website.

The Great Back-to-School Kit

17 simple and effective ways to bring adoption into the classroom.
This straightforward guide highlights 17 ways adoptive parents and teachers can be allies, including how to educate fellow classmates and their parents about adoption. One of the most helpful tips is on offering activity options (for all kids, not just adopted ones) for exploring family history.

Click here to see the Back-to-School Kit


Photo by typical genius

A Memo to My Fellow Teachers

When it comes to adoption, instructors need to check their curriculum and their stereotypes.
A colleague, who also happens to be the parent of adopted twins from India, acknowledges that a teacher’s unconscious stereotypes may be communicated to students. She confronts—head on—some of those pervasive stereotypes, and offers a positive approach to adoption, including how to handle classmates’ curiosity.

To read the Memo click here


Adoptive Families magazine is an award-winning, national adoption magazine and a leading information source for families before, during, and after adoption. The Adoptive Families website offers a breadth of free, downloadable resources, including a complete adoption guide, handouts and articles, advice from experts in the field, directories for local events and organizations, and suggested books.

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