Evaluators release 3-year evaluation of our Empowering Families program

Researchers see significant gains made by families and educators

External evaluators find that both families and educators view family engagement in the schools more positively and have a better understanding of the cognitive, social and emotional growth of young children.

In January, the Wellesley Centers for Women out of Wellesley College released its three-year evaluation of Empowering Families, the four-year program we are conducting with the Providence Public School Department.

Through this initiative we are bringing Mind in the Making, a 16-hour facilitated workshop, to more than 2,000 family members and educators in Providence. As of the end of the period covered in this evaluation, 1,276 family members and 278 educators had participated in the program.

Empowering Families got under way in the spring of 2014, shortly after we received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education and matching funds from public and private sources.

Here are some of the highlights of the Wellesley evaluation:

  • The training protocol has been successfully completed in its entirety
    and with fidelity for families and teachers.
  • Attendance of participants has been consistently high, including
    that of non-English and low-income families.
  • Participants consistently responded positively to the training, and
    reported gaining knowledge.
  • Educators report more developmentally appropriate beliefs surrounding
    early childhood development.
  • Families reported significantly less authoritarian views toward
    parenting, which research shows leads to higher executive function
    skills in children.
  • Parents reported stronger views regarding the importance of their
    involvement in the schools and in the education of their children.
  • Parents expressed more confidence in their ability to help and support
    their children in school.
  • Parents reported growth in the social, emotional and cognitive
    development of their children.


summary of the evaluation can be found here. For details on all the instruments used in the study and specific data, go to the evaluators’ full report.

Read how parents and educators say Empowering Families and Mind in the Making are breaking down linguistic and cultural barriers in the schools.

In addition to the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation Fund, other organizations making Empowering Families possible are: The Rhode Island
Foundation; United Way of Rhode Island; the Anne E. Casey Foundation; The Campaign for Grade Level Reading; The A.M. Fund; The Bezos Family Foundation; and the Hasbro Children’s Fund.

Shown above is one of the first classes of family members to complete Mind in the Making in the spring of 2014.



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