Parents and caregivers are arguably the most important stakeholders in a child’s educational success. With nearly 1.3 million students dropping out of high school each year, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance developed this toolkit to engage parents in dropout prevention and development strategies to ensure the success of all children. This toolkit is a resource for all organizations and community leaders interested in bringing the parent voice into the planning process and the development of local and state action plans addressing the dropout crisis. It is intended to provide a set of resources to effectively reach out to parents, solicit their perspectives and engage them in the development of strategies that will lead to educational success for their children. The use of the term “parent engagement” in this toolkit is all-inclusive of any adults who are responsible for raising children.

How to use this toolkit

An underlying premise of this toolkit is that a community will develop a more effective plan for preventing school drop-out if the process draws upon the knowledge and perspectives of parents. This toolkit is organized by the key transition points that a child experiences in their education—from entry into elementary school, elementary to middle school, middle to high school. Within each section of the transition points are 4 priorities that are clearly critical to student success throughout a child’s academic career. Each one is heavily influenced by the actions and thinking of parents as well as educators, community-based providers and students themselves.

  1. Attendance Every Day: Ensure that children go to school regularly 
  2. Achievement Every Year: Monitor and help children make satisfactory progress each year 
  3. Attainment Over Time: Set high expectations for children and plan for attaining their long-term goals
  4. Advocacy For All: Empowering parents and families to improve opportunities for excellence in education