Building Family-School Connections: Modeling Pathways to Children’s Educational Outcomes
Wendy Hoglund

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



New York University

Primary Discipline

Bridging connections between family and school ecologies has been identified as a critical ingredient of school-based prevention programs and educational policies directed at improving children’s educational outcomes, particularly for high risk children. Goals of recent educational reforms include making schools more inviting for diverse parents to promote parent participation in school-related activities. However, few studies have used experimental designs to understand how whole school approaches can causally influence parent participation and, in turn, children’s educational outcomes in the context of challenging inner-city environments. This project uses longitudinal data from a group-randomized, experimental evaluation of a universal, school-wide prevention program in 9 intervention and 9 control inner-city elementary schools: The 4Rs Program: Reading, Writing, Respect and Resolution. The 4Rs study is one of seven school-based program evaluations participating in a national network funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at the US Department of Education, in collaboration with the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control, and is also funded by the William T. Grant Foundation. The 4Rs Program is a literacy development and conflict resolution prevention program that is integrated into the language arts curriculum for all children in grades K-5. The 4Rs program includes a parent component that brings children’s in-class learning into their home environment through two sets of activities to expose parents to the 4Rs classroom curriculum: interactive home-based literacy activities (Parent-Child Connections) and parent workshops (Peace in the Family).The current research project builds from the 4Rs focus on classroom and school ecologies and examines how family and school ecologies co-contribute to children’s educational outcomes, including literacy skills, engagement in class activities and regulation of aggressive, disruptive behavior in school. Specifically, parent participation in school-related activities, such as attending school events and assisting child with homework, is tested as a partial mediator of (1) the effects of family and school characteristics, such as family risk indicators and school social climate, and (2) classroom and school implementation of 4Rs and the 4Rs parent component on changes in children’s educational outcomes from grade 3 to 5. This project is well positioned to extend understanding of how universal, school-wide interventions can effectively engage diverse parents in school-wide strategies designed to promote children’s literacy and conflict resolution skills. This knowledge is critical for the development and implementation of intervention strategies aimed at bridging the family and school ecologies that jointly influence children’s educational outcomes.
About Wendy Hoglund

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