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The coronavirus pandemic revealed the necessity, the complexity, and the tremendous value of building strong ties between schools and families. To ensure continuity of learning, schools were forced to rely heavily on families and caregivers to support learning in the home.

But the conversation around family engagement is not new. The value of family involvement in education has been clear for decades, with strong evidence establishing this engagement as a critical driver of student academic and socioemotional outcomes.

Building on this robust research base, the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY) in 2016 began to explore a strategy of building the home-to-school connection. CCNY partnered with EY-Parthenon to study the role of philanthropy in bringing strong family engagement practices to schools and districts. EY-Parthenon found that funders actively supported family engagement, but the field lacked clear definitions of what constituted engagement and needed to create infrastructure to allow for shared learning and field building.