Educational Success through Family Engagement

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Karen L. Mapp, senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and faculty director of the Education Policy and Management Master’s Program, visits the City Club to discuss her 20 year focus on educational partnerships between families, community members, and educators.

The partnerships that Mapp endorses are designed to support both student achievement and school improvement, often focusing on moving from parent involvement to family engagement. To overcome some of the barriers to effective family engagement, this shift often includes training and reexamining the practitioners own biases. Mapp believes that we must see our families and community members as “co-creators and co-producers of the excellent schools and learning opportunities” that we want our students to have. She is the co-author of several books, including Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships, A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform, and Powerful Partnerships: A Teacher's Guide to Engaging Families for Student Success. Mapp recently served as a consultant to the United States Department of Education in the Office of Innovation and Improvement from 2011 to 2013, advocating for family engagement on a national level.

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