Families and school staff work together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of students. Family engagement with schools is a shared responsibility of both school staff and families. School staff are committed to making families feel welcomed, engaging families in a variety of meaningful ways, and sustaining family engagement. Families are committed to actively supporting their child’s learning and development. This relationship between school staff and families cuts across and reinforces student health and learning in multiple settings—at home, in school, in out-of-school programs, and in the community. Family engagement should be continuous across a child’s life and requires an ongoing commitment as children mature into young adulthood.
Parent engagement in schools can promote positive health behaviors among children and adolescents. For example, students who feel supported by their parents are less likely to experience emotional distress, practice unhealthy eating behaviors, consider or attempt suicide, or disengage from school and learning. In addition, school efforts to promote health among students have been shown to be more successful when parents are involved. For instance, studies have shown that when parents volunteer at their children’s school, the likelihood of their children initiating smoking decreases, and the likelihood of their children meeting the guidelines for physical activity increases. In addition, interventions with a parent engagement component have been shown to increase positive health behaviors such as children’s school-related physical activity.