Background: Family and community involvement in schools is linked strongly to improvements in the academic achievement of students, better school attendance, and improved school programs and quality.
Methods: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts the School Health Policies and Programs Study every 6 years. In 2006, computer-assisted telephone interviews or self-administered mail questionnaires were completed by state education agency personnel in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and among a nationally representative sample of school districts (n = 461). Computer-assisted personal interviews were conducted with personnel in a nationally representative sample of elementary, middle, and high schools (n = 1029) and with a nationally representative sample of teachers of required health education classes and courses (n = 912) and required physical education classes and courses (n = 1194).
Results: Although family and community involvement in states, districts, and schools was limited, many states, districts, and schools collaborated with community groups and agencies to promote and support school health programs. More than half of districts and schools communicated information to families on school health program components. Teachers in 55.5% of required health education classes and courses and 30.8% of required physical education classes and courses gave students homework or projects that involved family members.
Conclusions: Although family and community involvement occurred at all levels, many schools are not doing some of the fundamental things schools could do to increase family involvement. Improvements in family and community involvement can support school health programs in states, districts, schools, and classrooms nationwide.