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School Districts

Strengthen Family Engagement with Data

Provide families with information and insights on their student’s attendance, grades, and other important notifications to boost student progress.

Family Involvement in Education is Crucial for Student Success

Across all backgrounds, students with involved parents and caregivers are more likely to have higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school. But staying on top of the many factors involved in supporting students can be challenging.  Busy parents want more information but might not know how to navigate school IT systems to effectively synthesize information about their child’s progress, success, or needs.

of students are more successful with family involvement regardless of income or background 

Students whose parents or caregivers are involved in their schooling are more likely to have higher grades and test scores.

Increased chance of graduating 

Studies show that parent and family involvement improves graduation rates.

Predictor of learner’s success, development, educational attainment and success in school and life

Family engagement is one of the most powerful predictors of student success.

Create Your Own Family Engagement Portal With Ed-Fi

Using Ed-Fi technologies and interoperable data, you will be guided through steps to use a working demonstration of the portal, and then to quickly stand up a family engagement portal application with sample data included, to share a working, clickable prototype with your team. Once you’ve rallied your team around the power of using data in this way to strengthen family engagement, we will guide you through the next steps to install and configure your own implementation using your own data in your own test environment, along with recommended rollout strategies to plan your full deployment. We’ve packaged up all of these instructions and tools into an easy-to-use format called the Family Engagement Starter Kit.

Chris Darville

YES Prep • Managing Director, Technology Strategy

"We know how much our families want to play an active role in preparing their students for success, and we know it can be a challenge to keep track of schedules, assignments, attendance, and everything else. That’s why we launched the YES Prep Family Portal, an Ed-Fi based, user-friendly portal for parents and guardians to access and understand their students’ progress and to be able to directly communicate with teachers and school staff whenever they have questions or concerns. Since we launched the portal, we’ve received tons of positive feedback from families."

Common Questions Before You Get Started

  • How much will this cost?

    All Ed-Fi technology and resources are available at no cost.

  • How much time will this take?

    We recommend starting with the sample application and sample data, that we estimate will only take a few hours to create using what we’ve provided in the starter kit. This will provide you with a clickable prototype, so you can visualize the solution and envision how it would work in your own district. Later in the kit we’ll guide you through the process of connecting your district’s own data and applications (your time will vary depending on factors discussed in more depth in the kit, but still optimized to help you proceed as rapidly as possible).

  • What district systems will be involved?

    The only source system you’ll need to start is your Student Information Systems (SIS). You may choose to incorporate data from other systems over time.

  • Who (and what roles) should be involved?

    We recommend forming a core team of champions to solve this challenge of strengthening family engagement with data:

    • Program and Data Leads – Central office departments like Accountability or Learning & Teaching

    • Communications Leads – Central office communications staff

    • Campus Leads – Principals and registrars or attendance staff

    • IT Leads – System administrators and SIS administrators

  • What district technology will I need?

    To start your prototype, or sample environment, you’ll need an installation of Windows Server with administrative access and internet access. This can be a virtual machine on your own system, or you can ask your IT support to provide a base Windows instance.

Get Started with Ed-Fi: Strengthen Family Engagement

Use our step-by-step implementation guide to strengthen family engagement in your district. Our goal is to make implementing Ed-Fi as simple and straightforward as possible, so you can start seeing results and improving student outcomes right off the bat. 

Option 1

Do It Yourself

Our Family Engagement Starter Kit provides a step-by-step guide for both technical and non-technical district leaders to use together. With the starter kit, you and your team can learn how to implement Ed-Fi specifically to address parent and family engagement. The guide follows seven steps, summarized below.

Step 1


Create an account, and access the Family Engagement Portal demonstration site. It’s a working version of the portal, so that you can look around and kick-the-tires before setting it up yourself.

Then run a simple installation script and verify the installation of your own sample application completed successfully.

Step 2


Complete the deployment and configuration of the tools installed in the previous step.

Step 3

Use the Portal

Familiarize yourself with the Family Engagement portal and relevant use cases in a sample application using the included sample data.

Step 4

Install Your Own Test Environment

Install all of the components of this Ed-Fi solution summarized in the Quick Start section to start creating your district’s test environment for your own Family Engagement solution.

Step 5

Load Test Data

Load test data from your SIS to the ODS API so it can be available to the Family Engagement Portal web application.

Step 6


Configure the application and settings to enable the data visualization capabilities of the Family Engagement starter kit in your own test environment with your district’s data.

Step 7


Now that you have created a test environment for your Family Engagement solution with your district’s own data, you can use it to:

  • Verify functionality and support from key systems
  • Understand what resources and technical skills you need to support it
  • Test this solution with your key audience in a pilot
  • Plan and conduct a production rollout of your solution

Get the Starter Kit

Option 2

Working With Tech Vendors

Step 1

Education Technology Vendors

Vendors are an important part to bring the benefits of interoperability to your district. It is always a best practice to communicate early and often with all of your vendors that provide you with systems, like SIS and assessment vendors. Make sure these vendor-types are part of your planning process.

Step 2

System Integrators

While each school district is different and has varying in-house resources and timelines, some districts have had success by working with a system integrator that is familiar with Ed-Fi. In any instance, you will need to have a working understanding of the milestones and pre-work necessary for a successful implementation but a system integrator can help you along the way.

Contact us for a list of Systems Integrators that may be available to help you.

Step 3

Managed Hosting Providers

There are several vendors that now offer differentiated Ed-Fi software as a service (Saas) or Platform as a service (PaaS) offerings. These offerings range from implementing and onboarding your district, providing you with a platform experience with Ed-Fi native tools and value added tools they provide, technical support, analytics and data visualization capabilities, etc. Providers that have badged their solution offerings are published on the Ed-Fi Tech Docs site. Once you get an account you’ll have full access to this list.

Step 4

Cloud Providers

You may have the technical capability in-house to stand up your Ed-Fi implementation with the help of a cloud provider. All of the major cloud hosting platforms have templatized deployment options for deploying Ed-Fi technology tools that can help you get started fairly quickly.

  • Amazon Web Services
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Inteport via Azure Marketplace

Contact Ed-Fi

Option 3

Share with a Colleague

Want to start your Ed-Fi journey but need to get other teammates involved? Send them an email with a link to this page to share this important information with them and start building your data team.

Send Email

Not Sure Where to Begin?

We’re here to help. Reach out anytime. 

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Sean Casey

Director, Vendor Partnerships