Epstein's Six Keys

The overall importance of parent and family involvement as the foundation for all other education reforms warranted the establishment of national standards to guide parent involvement programs and evaluate their quality and effectiveness. The National Standards for Parent/ Family Involvement Programs were developed in 1998 by the National PTA in cooperation with education and parent involvement professionals and through the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE). These standards were built upon the six keys of parent involvement identified by Dr. Joyce Epstein of the Center of School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University.

The following are the six keys for involvement and some of the ways the Boise School District uses these keys to build strong programs for student success.


Key #1 - Parenting

Helping all families provide a supportive and healthy home environment where learning can take place.

Key #2 - Communicating

Insuring comfortable two-way (school-to-home; home-to- school) communications that increase understanding about the school, its programs, and each child's progress.

Key #3 - Volunteering

Providing opportunities for families to help with school or classroom-related activities, programs, and projects; individual students; or other parents.

Key #4 - Learning at Home

Helping families support children's learning at home through homework and other learning activities that families can do with their children.

Keys #5 - Decision Making

Developing parent leaders who play a decision-making role in councils, organizations, planning committees, and advocacy groups at both the school and district levels.

Key #6 - Collaborating

Focusing on ways that businesses, service-providers and others in the community can support families and schools to strengthen student learning and development.

  • Individual School Leadership Teams
  • Continuous Improvement Plan Teams
  • Business - "Partners in Education"