Skip to main content


The Equitable Parent-School Collaboration Research Project at the University of Washington (EPSC-UW) seeks to contribute to a collective effort to promote equitable educational outcomes for under-served students, families and communities, particularly in South Seattle/South King County. The project currently focuses on the Road Map Project, a regional collaborative initiative aimed at dramatically improving student achievement from “cradle to college and career.” In 2012-2013, the Road Map region served 120,890 students, of which 59% were low income, 67% were students of color, and 16% were English Language Learners. Parent and family engagement is a key strategy for reaching the goal of doubling the number of students on track to graduation or a career credential by 2020 (

In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Community Center for Education Results (CCER), and regional districts and organizations, the UW Equitable Parent-School Collaboration Research Project seeks to understand and support district and community-based parent engagement efforts and their use of indicators to build more equitable parent engagement with schools and communities in the 7-district Road Map region[1]. The research includes two components: case studies (and design work) and indicators work.


We conducted an in-depth comparative case study to support, document, and learn from the implementation of two school district and one place-based initiatives focused on building parent-school-community collaborations to improve student learning and academic outcomes. Through the case studies, we provide systematic insights on the factors and conditions that promote and inhibit equitable and authentic parent/family engagement at a systems level within the context of the Road Map collective impact initiative.

Building on the case study in one of the districts, we then engaged parents, teachers, and school and district administrators in an intensive design process to develop an asset-based family engagement curriculum  intended to be part of a multi-session parent academy.  The process tapped nondominant parental expertise on systemic inequities, fostered collective agency and leadership, built relationships between families and educators aimed at making a difference for students — and evolved a set of  to guide collaborative efforts.


We also engaged Road Map partners in an extensive, iterative process of identifying and adapting a set of common indicators of family engagement (see the white paper describing the process and an initial pilot of the measures in a regional telephone poll).  These indicators formed the basis of the Road Map Family Engagement Survey instrument, which went through an extensive process of language translation (the survey is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Somali, and Mandarin Chinese (coming soon)) and piloting in two elementary schools in the Renton School District.

With Renton School District partners and Neighborhood House, we developed a model of Data Inquiry for Equitable Collaboration to demonstrate how data inquiry might be a vehicle for engaging with families in efforts to improve schools and educational organizations.  This work continues through an ongoing community-based effort.