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    Continuous Improvement in Secondary Family Engagement

    Engaging Families in High School Success (EFIHS) is a collaborative initiative of Seattle Public Schools and Johns Hopkins University (JHU), funded by the U.S. Department of Education. It focuses on the impact of 8th and 9th grade family engagement on increased student attendance and course passing rates – important predictors of on-time student graduation and college enrollment.

    Seattle high schools and middle schools are working to implement 8th and 9th grade transition-related family events and activities to engage all families. These activities are reflected on and improved through coaching and inquiry for continuous improvement.

    The importance of 9th grade

    Scores of national studies consistently point to the importance of 9th grade as a pivotal year in a student’s high school trajectory. Intentional family engagement activities by secondary schools have shown to increase parental efforts in supporting student learning, modeling learning behaviors, and reinforcing the importance of schoolwork and success in school.

    Parental support of secondary student learning from home has also been linked to students’ perceptions of themselves as learners, increased motivation to do their best in school, and graduate.

    EFIHS Schools

    Seattle secondary schools participating in the EFIHS initiative receive training, coaching, assistance to develop family engagement activities, materials and a small grant. Participating schools are:

    High Schools

    • Center School
    • Chief Sealth High School
    • Cleveland STEM High School
    • Franklin High School
    • Garfield High School
    • Ingraham High School
    • Nathan Hale High School
    • Nova High School
    • Rainier Beach High School
    • Skills Center
    • West Seattle High School

    Middle Schools

    • Aki Kurose Middle School 
    • Broadview Thompson K-8th
    • Hamilton International Middle School 
    • Jane Addams Middle School
    • Madison Middle School
    • McClure Middle School
    • Orca K8
    • Pathfinder K8
    • Robert Eagle Staff Middle School
    • Salmon Bay K-8th
    • South Shore Pre-K-8th
    • Washington Middle School
    • Whitman Middle School

    The EFIHS initiative contributes to improved school-family partnerships in secondary education and will develop a set of evidence-based model practices for schools nationwide.


    Successful High School Transitions Are Key Focus for Family Engagement Institute
    During the Engaging Families in High School Success Institute, teams from 24 participating Seattle schools joined together to reflect on best practice, brainstorm strategies, and network across school communities to increase 8th and 9th grade families engagement rates.

    Tackling Two 'Danger Zones' of Freshman Year: Attendance and Homework
    Ingraham High School and Jane Addams Middle School are teaming up to engage families through their children’s transition from 8th to 9th grade in this Education Week article.


    8th to 9th Grade Transition and Beyond Family Toolkit: