How it Works


The GPS Self-Assessment is an opportunity for schools to get feedback from staff and families on the quality of family-school partnerships. Through responses to a short set of research-aligned questions on the practices, perceptions and beliefs among staff and families within a school, the GPS system will reveal where a school falls along a continuum of family-school partnership “types”, ranging from non-collaborative and ineffective, to high-functioning, dual-capacity and sustainable.

5 Components of High-Quality Family-School Partnerships

Building Trust: The extent to which positive, goal-oriented relationships exist between the school and families.

Connecting Classroom and Home: The extent to which family engagement activities improve families’ understanding of curriculum, instruction, and standards and involve them in their students’ learning.

Honoring Differences: The extent to which families from various cultural, linguistic, ethnic and/or socio-economic backgrounds are honored and reflected in school curriculum and activities.

Strengthening Family Voice: The extent to which parents have an understanding of and a voice in the educational progress of their child and the educational opportunities for all students in the school community.

Developing Family Leadership: The extent to which families are involved in all major decisions at the school, including improvement efforts and decisions that impact student achievement.


Results Report

Family-School Partnership Status Report
Results from the GPS Self-Assessment are presented in a report designed to help schools begin their path towards becoming a True Partnership School. GPS provides protocols and facilitation guides so that representative team of administrators, families, and teachers can collaboratively review the results of the self-assessment and work together to identify which areas they want to target for improvement.

True Partnership 

Staff in True Partnership Schools view families as equal and integral members of the school community. The academic and social success of students is dependent on the strength of the relationships among families, the school and other community organizations.


Parents and family members are a frequent present in Engaging Schools and there are many activities that involve families. However, the school does not engage families in their children’s learning. Schools like to keep families busy with activities that do not “interfere” with the educational process.

Warming Up

In Warming Up Schools, parents are involved in the school community only if and when school staff invite them, and only when their help is needed or required. Parents have little say in how or what they will be involved in. The school calls all of the shots when it comes to family involvement.


The general belief among staff in Unwelcoming Schools is that families do not value education and that is why they choose to not be involved in the school community. If students in the school struggle academically and/or behaviorally, it is not the school’s fault. Perception of the school staff is that the students would be higher performing if it served families from other neighborhoods or “better” backgrounds.

Family-Engagement Practices “Check-Up”

Status of Practices “Checklists”
The diagnostic “checklists” will reveal to schools the status of specific strategies to support high-quality family-school partnerships.   The team will collaboratively complete the checklists, reflecting on which practices are in place, what is working and what may need more attention, and discuss which practices they may want to consider initiating in the school. Through dialogue and collaboration, schools will work through the checklists and select goals and strategies for improving the quality of family-school partnerships around which they would like to develop an action plan. 

Action Planning

Dynamic Action Planning Tool
GPS houses a digital template for developing a family engagement action plan. For the goals and strategies selected by the team, GPS will provide examples of action steps and that can be modified and adapted to meet the unique context and needs of each school. 

Implementation Resources Library

Aligned Research-Based Resources to Support Implementation
In order to support high-quality, high-fidelity implementation of research- and evidence-based strategies for improved family-school partnerships, GPS hosts a library of implementation resources.  Through a rich database of research articles, implementation guides, training materials, videos, and web tutorials, GPS provides schools a network of support for action plan implementation. 

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