Improving School-Family Communication and Engagement: Handout

Learn about 7 School-Family Communication Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic that are still useful today.

 The insights shared by parents and educators of K–12 students from Chicago’s south, west, and south-west communities are summarized on page 1, followed by a comparison of 3 different approaches to school-family engagement. 

Together, these insights can help strengthen communication and collaboration between schools and families across Chicago—and across the country.


GO FIGURE is a series of straightforward ~90 second videos in which research authors break down and explain a figure, table, or graphic in a Consortium report for busy educators want to know how this work applies to their everyday lives. These vidoes are great starting points to learn about some of the most important insights from the UChicago Consortium.

Explore topics like attendance, school-family engagement, getting to and through college, and more.

Practitioner Guide: Elementary On-Track

By helping students improve their GPAs and attendance, elementary and middle school educators can have a powerful impact on students’ long-term success. 

This guide shares a Condensed Elementary On-Track (EOT) metric to help elementary and middle school educators analyze school-wide trends, diagnose adultcentered problems of practice, match 3rd- through 8th-grade students with interventions, and monitor progress over time. The framework and findings are meant for educators: we do not recommend using it and discussing it with students.

Mitigating the Academic Impacts of Proximity to Homicide

Key Findings

  • The experience of living in close geographical proximity to homicide varied considerably for students across Chicago. 
  • Living in close geographical proximity to homicide negatively affected students’ academic performance. 
  • Some schools mitigated typical negative effects of living in proximity to homicide on academic performance.
  • Schools that mitigate the negative effects of living in close geographic proximity to homicide on students’ academic outcomes were characterized by strong, positive school climates across a range of measures, includi

America has too many schools

LOS ANGELES—In a huge city awash with tiny schools, few are smaller than the Hilda L. Solis Learning Academy. 

The public high school, housed in a former hospital in East Los Angeles, is down to 170 students from the surrounding Latino neighborhoods. On a hallway bulletin board, handwritten hearts display reasons students love the school, including, “how everyone knows each other” and “the fact that school is small.”

Whole School Safety

In partnership with Chicago Public Schools, the University of Illinois, Lurie Children's Center for Childhood Resilience, and four community-based organizations, we are working to understand how school communities implement CPS's Whole School Safety process and the impacts of removing school resource officers on students and schools.

Chicago Public Schools recover from pandemic declines more than other districts, study shows

Chicago Public Schools students’ reading scores are recovering faster since the pandemic than most school districts across the country, according to a new national report. 

The district’s surprising rebound, documented by researchers at Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University and The Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University, also found the state of Illinois led the nation in reading growth between 2022 and 2023 and is one of just four states to return to pre-pandemic achievement levels...


There's a difference between feeling like you belong in a space and that that space belongs to you. Dr. Shanette Porter has studied schools that have created that sense of belonging, and found that not only are strictly academic measures improved (test scores, etc), but other benefits come as well. From increased graduation rates, to decreased disciplinary incidents, to increased attendance, schools that focus on creating a sense of belonging do better for the whole child. Dr. Porter joins us to share some of her findings, as well as a powerful definition of belonging...

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