District, Council or Regional Grant


Transformative Family Engagement & Whole Child Learning

The window for district/council/regional PTAs to apply for the Transformative Family Engagement & Whole Child Learning grant has closed. Thank you to all who have submitted.


Informational Webinar

Watch now to learn more about this grant.



Family engagement supports student success—children with involved family members are more likely to graduate, are more motivated, attend school more often and achieve more while they’re in school.

Research also shows that excelling at family engagement is just as important as other school improvement strategies. In the past decade, there has been a surge of new research and practice in the family engagement industry.

For example, new research suggests that not all forms of family engagement are equally effective. Increasingly, PTAs are expanding their influence and impact by focusing on transformative family engagement practices and policies that empower every parent to make their child’s potential a reality.

Research continues to demonstrate that student learning is more than reading, writing and arithmetic. Student learning requires a whole child approach, one that extends beyond the narrow vision of academic success.

Family Engagement

Whole child learning requires a broadening and deepening of the conversation around student achievement to one that incorporates components like independence, resilience, self-efficacy, social awareness and stress management, among others. Research shows that students who successfully develop these noncognitive skills have a higher likelihood of success in the workplace, stronger physical and emotional health, and greater civic involvement.

The Center for Family Engagement will support three district/council/regional PTAs to deepen their learning and leadership in transformative family engagement and whole child learning through this $4,000 grant. Grant dollars are intended to fund the convening of at least two focus groups and five subsequent stakeholder engagement meetings.

Application Requirements

Please apply if your district/council/regional PTA wants to:

  • Expand your understanding of transformative family engagement and whole child learning.
  • Enhance your organizing and advocacy skills around family engagement issues inside and outside of the PTA.
  • Elevate the diverse perspectives and ideas of local families through focus groups.
  • Deepen your engagement with your community by sharing your findings with local education decisionmakers and influencers.
  • Contribute to a national body of research on transformative family engagement and whole child learning

Active district, council or regional PTAs in good standing are eligible. Preference will be given to those that have a designated School of Excellence PTA in their jurisdiction. 

Grant Timeline

The National PTA Transformative Family Engagement & Whole Child Learning grant has three phases:

Phase 1: APPLICATION & SELECTION | April – May 2019
  • April 11
    45-minute informational webinars (required) at 11:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. EDT; register for the webinar (it will be recorded and posted on the website for those unable to attend live)

  • April 28 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    All applications must be submitted.

  • May 13-15
    Semi-finalist interviews to confirm commitment and designated leads.

  • May 23
    Announcement of grantees.

Phase 2: LEARNING AND FOCUS GROUPS | May - September 2019
  • May 31 at 11:30 a.m. EDT
    Orientation webinar to finalize grant administration and learn about best practices in convening focus groups

  • During this timeframe, grantees will participate in monthly one-on-one or group calls to learn cutting edge research on family engagement and whole child learning.

  • Grantees will identify demographic participation goals and secure location(s) and date(s) for their focus groups.

  • Grantees will work with their PTA and other partners to develop a recruitment plan and ensure smooth logistics. This will include addressing needed outreach, transportation, incentives, interpretation, etc.

  • Focus groups will be professionally facilitated by a contractor with National PTA. Grantees will communicate logistics with the faciliator prior to the focus groups.

  • National PTA will provide each grantee with a community-specific and overarching national summary report of focus group findings. Trends, questions, reflections, and next steps from these reports will be discussed at an in-person convening in Alexandria, Va., which will be scheduled in advance.

Phase 3: ENGAGEMENT WITH STAKEHOLDERS | September - December 2019
  • Grantees will determine the key messages from focus group reports, as well as learnings on transformative family engagement and whole child learning, that they want to share or discuss with stakeholders.

  • With support from National PTA, grantees will also develop and implement a stakeholder engagement plan to reach 5+ local influencers (education decisionmakers, community partners, media, etc.).

  • Grantees will participate in one-on-one and cohort virtual meetings to troubleshoot and discuss next steps based on their stakeholder engagement meetings.

Grant Background

Building on a 120-year legacy of empowering families as advocates for all children, National PTA’s 2020 Strategic Vision includes a key goal as building our body of knowledge, advocacy, and programmatic excellence to advance family engagement. Specifically, it establishes a new Center for Family Engagement to effectively meet the needs of changing demographics.

The Center’s design process harnessed the perspectives of over 350 individuals—volunteer leaders, family engagement and education experts, and PTA staff—and analyzed PTA’s unique role in the family engagement landscape.

Launched in March 2018, the Center for Family Engagement aims to increase demand for transformative family engagement. As a volunteer-led organization governed by parent leaders at the national, state, and local levels, PTA represents the authentic talents and passions of parents across the country.

The 24,000+ school-based PTAs, representing approximately 25% of all public schools and over 16 million students, are an untapped resource in creating long-term systems change—from classroom to school to district, state, and federal policy—that values parent voice and leverages family engagement to ensure the success of every child.

To accomplish this vision, the Center will develop and support grassroots parent leaders to champion transformative family engagement practices and policies.

What is Transformative Family Engagement?


Transformative family engagement is a shared effort of families, schools, and community leaders to advance programs, practices, and policies that empower every parent to make their child’s potential a reality.
All family engagement should transform the lives of every child in America. That’s why National PTA is investing in our mission with the Center for Family Engagement.

Father and Son

Our desired outcomes are that:

  1. PTA members and leaders have the awareness and knowledge to advance transformative family engagement that is inclusive towards all families.

  2. State, district, and local PTAs are actively leading innovation and expansion of best practices in transformative family engagement.

  3. Parent voice has influenced educational practices, educational systems, and policies to prioritize transformative family engagement.

The National PTA Transformative Family Engagement & Whole Child Learning grant is a unique opportunity designed to achieve many of these goals at the district, council and regional levels. National PTA's Center for Family Engagement is receiving support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to build the capacity of local PTA leaders on effective ways to engage parents and the broader school community, including through this grant opportunity.