In Focus: Men and Student Success

  • With the increased involvement of men—including single fathers, noncustodial dads, homeschooling dads, custodial grandparents and other concerned relatives—in their students’ education, there is a greater need for male parent support.
  • Research shows that when fathers and father figures are engaged in children’s education, student grades and test scores improve, attendance increases and students are more involved in school activities.[1]
  • Father involvement is associated with children’s better socio-emotional and academic functioning.[2]
  • Active and regular father engagement with children impacts a range of positive outcomes, including enhancing cognitive development and decreasing delinquency and poverty in low socioeconomic families.[3]

[1] Allen, S., & Daly, K. (2007). The effects of father involvement: An updated research summary of the evidence. Ontario, Canada: Father Involvement Research Alliance; U.S. Department of Education. (2010). A call to commitment: Fathers’ involvement in children’s learning. Retrieved from

[2] Howard, K. S., Burke Lefever, J. E., Borkowski, J. G., & Whitman , T. L. (2006). Fathers’ influence in the lives of children with adolescent mothers. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 468–476.

[3] Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2007). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: A systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta Paediatrica, 97(2), 153–158.

Key Strategies for Starting a Male Engagement Program

  • Identify strong leadership, especially a “point” person who is willing to make a long-term commitment to the effort.
  • Educate men about the importance of their involvement. Emphasize the positive benefits of men’s involvement in their students’ education and in PTA.
  • Meet with leadership and key players. Find a shared issue to address.
  • Establish a plan of action.Get men involved in concrete projects.
  • Meet with local administrators for approval.Address any safety concerns and follow volunteer and visitation policies.
  • Develop a male engagement team of men and women.Seek out male community leaders and role models. Ask men to join directly, rather than through flyers or posters.
  • Adapt communication and activities for male involvement.Don’t use generic materials! Keep messages succinct and to the point. Publicize men participating in activities to avoid the appearance of a “token” presence.
  • Keep the momentum up.
    • Keep school staff and PTA leadership involved and informed.
    • Hold regular events and follow up.
    • Celebrate successes and continue to evaluate progress.
    • Reinforce male engagement with regular quarterly and biannual programs.
    • Arrange for individual men to do one-day school visits.