State Grant


State PTA Family Engagement Challenge

The window for state PTAs to apply for the State PTA Family Engagement Challenge has closed. Thank you to all who have submitted.


Informational Webinar

Watch the webinar to learn more about this challenge. 



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. Though research has shown that increased family engagement can transform a child’s life, not all family engagement practices are equally impactful. More so, meeting the needs of our changing demographics demands PTA to use new approaches to engaging families. To make every child’s potential a reality, we must be transformative in our family engagement strategies.

The Center for Family Engagement is excited to empower state PTA’s to be go-to resources for transformative family engagement through this two-stage leadership initiative. In the first stage, five PTAs will receive training, networking, $1,000 and technical assistance support from the Center for Family Engagement to engage stakeholders and develop a roadmap that outlines the goals and activities that will advance their leadership in transformative family engagement. In the second stage, challenge participants will be eligible for up to $5,000 in additional funding to implement ideas from their roadmaps.

Family Engagement

Application Requirements

Please apply if your state PTA wants to:

  • Engage in mission-driven work that further demonstrates your state PTA’s relevance
  • Learn new research and best practices in family engagement and network with other experts and state leaders through a conference and training package valued at $5,000 per state PTA
  • Grow and apply your PTA’s collaboration and planning skills
  • Connect with other state PTAs who are deepening and exercising their leadership for family engagement
  • Receive $1,000 to deepen your engagement efforts with PTA leaders, non-profits, unions, government agencies, and funders in your state and get their input and buy-in to your PTA’s roadmap to advance transformative family engagement
  • Be eligible to receive up additional funding to implement your state PTA’s roadmap to advance transformative family engagement
  • Be better positioned to access state and federal funds for family engagement available through competitive grant opportunities

State PTAs in good standing and with an active 501(c)3 status are eligible to apply.

Grant Timeline

The State PTA Family Engagement Leadership Challenge has four main phases:

Phase 1: APPLY | March – May 2019
  • April 16 at 11:30 a.m. OR 7:15 p.m. EDT
    All state PTAs interested in this unique initiative should attend one of these brief informational webinars.

  • April 28 at 11:59 p.m. EDT
    All applications for the State PTA Family Engagement Leadership Challenge must be submitted.

  • May 20-21
    Semi-finalist interviews held to confirm commitment and shared expectations from application.

  • May 30
    Challenge participants announced!

Phase 2: PREPARE | June - August 2019
  • June 3 at 11:30 a.m. EDT
    Awardee state PTA presidents and family engagement innovation leads participate in a welcome and orientation webinar.

  • June 20
    Deadline for signing Memoranda of Understanding and booking travel for the Transformative Family Engagement Institute and IEL’s National Family & Community Engagement Conference.

  • July 9-10
    PTA’s Transformative Family Engagement Institute held in Reno, Nev.

  • July 10-12
    IEL’s National Family & Community Engagement Conference held in Reno, NV.

  • Monthly June-August
    One-on-one calls to develop a shared understanding of state context for family engagement, PTA roles and priorities, and draft ideas for stakeholder engagement.

Phase 3: ENGAGE | August - December 2019
  • Challenge participants will identify key stakeholders whose input they want to include in their leadership plans.

  • State PTAs will then gather input (survey, focus group, Board or Committee meetings, informal conversations, etc.).

  • Materials will be provided to help state PTAs develop guiding questions and track their responses.

  • Monthly August-December
    Cohort or one-on-one calls to share progress, problem-solve, and continue learning related to transformative family engagement and leadership planning.

Phase 4: PLAN and RE-COMPETE | January - March 2020
  • State PTAs will draft leadership plans, using the provided template, based on their stakeholder engagement efforts.

  • Challenge participants will share draft plans with National PTA and one another for discussion and collective problem-solving.

  • March 1
    Deadline for submitting final leadership plans.

  • April
    Implementation awards announced.

Grant Background

Building on a 120-year legacy engaging families as partners and advocates in the success of all children, and in response to PTA leader input about their priorities, National PTA’s 2020 Strategic Vision includes building PTA’s body of knowledge, advocacy efforts and programmatic excellence to advance family engagement as one of PTA’s five key goals.

National PTA began an extensive planning process for this renewed focus in June 2017. As a first step, we collaborated with nearly 300 PTA leaders and members, over 50 external industry leaders in education and family engagement and each national staff member to clarify the role, desired outcomes and definitions that should guide this work. We also conducted an internal landscape assessment of PTA’s past and existing family engagement initiatives and an external landscape assessment of how PTA is situated among other family engagement advocates, practitioners and intermediaries.

Emerging from this mapping and listening was a clear need for PTA to focus on increasing demand for transformative family engagement practices among policymakers, educators and PTA members.

Family Walking

We define transformative family engagement as the role parents play that support their child’s success and the programs and strategies that schools, PTAs and community institutions use to enable parents to play that role. As an association of nearly 4 million parent leaders, our aim is to ensure that every parent is treated as a critical asset in making their child’s potential a reality and that the voice of parents influences all family engagement practices and policies.

One of National PTA’s key responsibilities is to help states build their capacity around family engagement so that they lead relevant and mission-driven family engagement approaches—both inside and outside PTA. Thus, the State PTA Family Engagement Challenge is our first step on the path to achieving our vision.

State leaders will learn more about this renewed focus on family engagement, specifically the new Center for Family Engagement’s plans (including what’s coming next in addition to the State PTA Family Engagement Challenge), during its official launch in mid-March 2018.