Every PTA® member is asked to step up and become a service leader in their community by identifying unmet needs in their schools, developing their own service projects, and recruiting new PTA and community members who are interested in the same issues.

Volunteerism often stops at the schoolhouse door when volunteers leave the building. However, this effort is designed to encourage people to stay involved and invested over time by building effective relationships with each other through meaningful, outcome-oriented activities.

These opportunities to serve can position PTA to be involved in meaningful, sustainable and effective long-term solutions in communities across the country. These service projects will allow parents and families to collaborate on and commit to solving some of the most important and challenging issues today.

PTAs are encouraged to develop creative partnerships with a broad and diverse group of stakeholders, including nonprofits, faith-based groups, issue groups, labor unions, educational institutions, businesses, corporations, foundations, and all levels of government to expand the impact of their community work.

Involving Youth

PTA leaders and members are encouraged to involve youth as leaders and as participants in planning and implementing their service projects. Young people bring unique perspectives and energy that can be positively contributed to the project. This Toolkit can be used by both youth and adults, and youth-adult partnerships, to lead service projects in their communities.

Connect with Current Projects

If you do not have the time, energy or resources to start a project, connect with local service projects that are currently at work in your community. Visit the variety of volunteer service websites on the Internet (see a few examples below) to learn more about projects in your area that are making a difference, and connect your PTA as a partner with those projects. Learn about AmeriCorps, Senior Corps or Learn and Serve America programs currently underway in your community as well. – AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Learn and Serve America – White House and Corporation for National and Community Service – VolunteerMatch – 1-800-Volunteer – Points of Light Institute


PTA® is renowned for supporting educational initiatives across the country. For more than 110 years members have strived to improve early childhood education, teacher quality and other issues that are important to the success of our nation’s schools. During service projects members are encouraged to engage with their schools and communities to actively, meaningfully and effectively build and expand on this legacy.


The most pressing issue facing many Americans today is the health and well-being of their families. Good health is vital to a child’s quality of life and a child’s ability to learn is directly related to his or her state of health. Inadequate health care is a barrier to education. PTA members are encouraged to provide equal access to quality, affordable and basic preventive health care which can prevent chronic disease.


State Laws on Family Engagement in Education National PTA Reference Guide

The National Parent Teacher Association developed this publication as a tool for State Parent

Teacher Associations and other family and child advocates to increase systemic, effective

family engagement in all of our nation’s public schools. Family engagement in education is a

critical strategy for ensuring students’ academic achievement, graduation from high school,

and overall success in life. Low levels of family engagement in schools must be addressed

at the federal, state, and local levels through the development of sound public policy and

implementation, evaluation, and replication of best practices.

Implementation of state policies at the local school level is among the most critical components

of achieving greater family engagement in education. To accomplish this, state legislatures

can promote family engagement in education by requiring State Education Agencies

(SEAs) to develop effective policy that, in turn, governs activities of the Local Education

Agencies (LEAs), or school districts.

The purpose of this reference guide is two-fold. First, it provides families and advocates

with information on family engagement provisions within state education laws so that they

can better advocate for their children’s education on the school and district levels. Second, it

guides policymakers’ and advocates’ development of their legislative reform initiatives as well

as their efforts to monitor the implementation of laws already in place. The reference guide

provides key facts, background, analysis, noteworthy statutes, and policy recommendations

for crafting successful family engagement legislation at the state level. Finally, the reference

guide contains a survey of laws including legal citations pertaining to family engagement in

education in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

This reference guide is structured so that you have information at your fingertips in order

to be an effective advocate with a reputation for being a responsive and a credible resource

to policymakers. The format allows you to quickly and easily navigate the guide to find your

state’s laws on family engagement. The guide is organized into six topics: family engagement

laws and policies; state grant and award programs for family engagement; labor laws

regarding parental participation in school activities; family engagement in early childhood

education and literacy programs; family engagement targeting children and youth in highrisk

situations; and family engagement for families with English Language Learners (ELLs).

State PTA leadership and child advocates can use the report to:

1. Educate PTA leadership, child and family advocates, state and local education leaders,

superintendents, principals, family outreach coordinators, Title I directors, and other

educators on state statutes on family engagement in education.

2. Train families on federal and state laws affecting family engagement so that they can

successfully advocate for their children at the school, district, and school board levels.

3. Monitor Implementation of current state and federal laws on family engagement in

education and partner with State Education Agencies and Local Education Agencies to

ensure that the law is translated into effective policy and practice.

4. Identify gaps and areas within state laws that could be developed and strengthened, using

the Essential Components of Systemic Family Engagement in Education Laws and

the noteworthy statutes identified in the report as a framework.

5. Develop a policy agenda and legislative language to support effective family engagement

in education.

6. Build Coalitions among stakeholders, including school boards, teachers unions, universities,

community and faith-based organizations, and businesses to advance a family engagement

in education agenda.

7. Advocate for state laws that increase family engagement in education and use state-bystate

data in the report to support your policy agenda.

8. Share and Replicate effective state and district level advocacy strategies with other State

and local PTAs and state child advocates.