News from Ohio State University

Ohio State’s family engagement center to expand programs through federal grant

A $4.6 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education will enable The Ohio State University’s Center on Education and Training for Employment (CETE), housed within the College of Education and Human Ecology, to expand community engagement and outreach programs. CETE will administer the grant through the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center.

The only organization of its kind in the state, the Statewide Family Engagement Center is one of 20 such centers across the country that received the federal grant. The engagement center offers a wide range of free resources and research for educators, families and community organizations, said CETE Director Ana-Paula Correia.

Ana-Paula Correia“The Statewide Family Engagement Center collaborates with dedicated College of Education and Human Ecology faculty members who are deeply concerned with the challenges faced by students and families in today’s schools,” she said.

“These faculty members are eager to create a positive impact by implementing practices grounded in robust research findings. A partnership with the Statewide Family Engagement Center makes this goal a tangible one.”

The new federal grant supports CETE and the Statewide Family Engagement Center in providing educators across the state with access to Ohio State’s academic research by translating it into day-to-day practices, Correia said. The engagement center offers professional development and coaching for educators, research-based tips and workshops for parents on how to help their children improve their academic achievement. It also has online tutorials for educators and families on a variety of topics, including kindergarten readiness, literacy and attendance, among other resources.

“The Center on Education and Training for Employment is committed to delivering innovative practices to those who will benefit the most,” she said. “With the new grant, these practices can be implemented more effectively and expanded on a larger scale.”

CETE and the engagement center provide technical assistance and training to the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce and local schools, students and families in Ohio and beyond, said Barbara Boone, the engagement center’s director. 

“Research in many fields makes it clear that when educators, families and students are all working together, students are more successful in school, have better mental health, and better long-term outcomes in life,” said Boone, an Ohio State alumnus who earned her doctorate in human development and family science from the College of Education and Human Ecology in 2002.

“We have networks of educators that are growing, and we will continue to reach more districts and schools each year. We provide ongoing technical assistance, professional learning, and support for them year after year.” 

Barbara BooneThe center hosts a virtual Family Engagement Leadership Summit each September that draws hundreds of participants from across Ohio, the United States and internationally. 

The Statewide Family Engagement Center is also developing a leadership program for family members to better understand the education system and advocate for students’ needs in schools, districts and communities, Boone said.

“We’ll implement the leadership program with families around the state,” she said. “And we’ll continue our commitment to develop resources for all families, whether those are workshops or print products or online products.”

Another initiative that the new grant is supporting is an outreach program that provides resources for Ohio families, including 2,000 families of multilingual students. The outreach program will assist the families of multilingual students in working with their children’s schools to support their education, Boone said.

“We do so many different types of outreach, and we have so many avenues of working with schools. We have extended seminars for teachers, and we have a summit every year and a newsletter,” Boone said. “We feel fairly confident that we have in some way touched all counties of Ohio, whether that’s people accessing our resources or coming to the summit or seminars.”

For more information about the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center, visit the organization’s website.