When “parent and family engagement” became an absolute priority for the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program in 2012, family engagement proponents rejoiced. But it soon became clear that the federal program’s short duration of implementation time and emphasis on evaluating student outcomes was a mismatch with the slow, patient, and intensely relational work of family engagement. What lessons can we learn from i3 grants about how to build the right conditions for family engagement initiatives to flourish?
This issue of VUE grew out of AISR’s role as a program evaluator for an i3 grant in Central Falls, Rhode Island. The authors in this issue – program directors and coordinators, district administrators, evaluators, and youth leaders, representing rural and urban communities across the country – draw on their own experiences to reveal the critical elements of successful, sustainable, and scalable family engagement programs.