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Volume 21, Number 5
September/October 2005

Parents as Partners in School Reform

Outreach, training—and respect—are keys to tapping this critical source of support


Jared Christensen is a real estate investor in the burgeoning suburbs of southern Salt Lake County. The father of four, he is also a parent representative on the community council at South Hills Middle School. He’s not an expert on education, but two years ago, when then-principal Michael Siroiscame to the council to talk about what adolescents need in school, how the school needed to change, and how parents could help, Christensen was intrigued.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

H.C. Giles. “Parent Engagement as a School Reform Strategy.” Available online at

M. Fullan. The New Meaning of Educational Change, 3rd ed. New York: Teachers College Press, 2001.

L. Lambert. Leadership Capacity for Lasting School Improvement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2003.

National Association of Elementary School Principals. “Leading Learning Communities: Standards for What Principals Should Know and Be Able to Do.” Alexandria, VA: Author, 2001. Executive summary available online at