The Family Engagement Report Educators Need to Know About

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Reporting Family Engagement

If you haven’t heard, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published a report that every educator needs to read. The Parent and Family Involvement in Education Report (PFI) summarizes the important findings within family engagement in K-12 education.

The PFI survey asked parents of students from kindergarten through 12th grade questions about how they are involved in their child’s education. Questions like how often parents help with homework, attend school events, or involve themselves in other family engagement activities were asked. Also, they asked parents who had children who were homeschooled or attend virtual schooling similar questions.  

The findings of this report allows school leaders to get insight into many facets of family engagement. In addition, we recommend you read the report in full, but we also wanted to share some key highlights just in case back to “school” planning doesn’t allow for a lot of reading time.


Here’s what they found:

School Communication

How did parents say they received communication from school?

Generic Written Communication is Most Frequent. 

  • 89% of parents reported receiving newsletters, memos, e-mail, or notices addressed to all parents 

  • 66% of parents said they received any form of student-specific communication with notes and emails about student 

  • 40% of parents said they received phone calls about their student

  • More parents who live below the poverty threshold reported getting phone calls about their students (50%) than parents at or above the poverty threshold (38%)



Parent satisfaction with schools

Is every parent satisfied?

White, Private, Elementary school parents are most satisfied. 

  • 67% of White parents reported being “very satisfied” with their child’s school compared to 59% of Black parents

  • 77% of parents with children at private schools reported being “very satisfied” with the order and discipline at their child’s school, compared to 57% of parents with children in public schools. 

  • Fewer parents with children in grades 9-12 are satisfied with the way school staff interacts with parents (44%) than parents of students in other grades. 68% of parents with children in Kindergarten through second grade reported being “very satisfied” with the way school staff interact with parents, the highest of any other grade level.



Parent priorities when selecting a school

What do parents want in a school?

All parents want high-quality staff. Black parents consider safety more often and white parents care less about extracurriculars. 

  • More parents considered the quality of a school’s staff as a factor in choosing a school for their child than any other factor

  • Significantly more Black parents (82%) considered safety as a factor when choosing a school as compared to White parents (66%)

  • Of all factors listed, the least amount of parents considered convenient location, special facilities, and the religious orientation of the school as a factor 

  • Nearly twice the proportion of Non-White parents (35-40%) considered extracurricular activities (including before and after school programs) a factor compared to White parents (20%)

To learn more about how to measure your school’s family engagement, contact Possip today.


Hanson, R., and Pugliese, C. (2020). Parent and Family Involvement in Education: 2019 (NCES 2020-076).

U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 6 Aug. 2020 from