Partnership with Alief ISD

Since 2015, TPL and its faculty affiliates have supported Alief ISD in developing, evaluating, and scaling innovative early childhood family and community engagement strategies.


Like many school districts, Alief ISD seeks to spend its family engagement dollars in the most effective way possible. Federal Title I, Part A Family and Family Engagement dollars total $14 billion in annual spending across the country, yet very little is known about which investments lead to the best results in terms of academic gains.


TPL’s role:

TPL is supporting Alief ISD in taking bold action to develop and evaluate family and community engagement approaches, serving children as young as 18 months of age. Our collaboration has resulted in two randomized controlled trials.  The first was focused on AISD’s own JumpStart parenting program, tracking the program’s impact among approximately 900 three-year-olds. We are now conducting a randomized controlled trial of LENA Start—a language development curriculum that incorporates a “talk pedometer”- to determine its causal impact on toddler language development and academic performance in a public-school setting. This evaluation includes a rigorous study of fidelity of implementation to inform successful adaptation and scaling of this program in a public-school district.



This partnership is transforming a public funding stream by identifying programs that work and supporting the smart scaling and expansion of early childhood development approaches. Decisions affecting funding, the district’s service population, curriculum, and future research have all been made as a result of this partnership. The district is now supporting early childhood family engagement programs with federal funding, freeing up individual campus budgets while demonstrating to families the value of their participation.



“The partnership with Texas Policy Lab has allowed us to garnish more buy-in within our school district leadership and with families because we can show research that supports the program, and this opens doors for future funding.  Families also see the data and evidence of impact and understand the value of participating.  An understanding of the brain development research critical for working with younger children has now been transferred to staff. That knowledge allows us to serve our families better across the board. I often speak of the power of this work all over the state.”

—Shanceler Terry, Family & Community Engagement Coordinator, Alief ISD

Project Deliverables:

  • 01/02

    JumpStart Policy Brief

    Click here to review the Policy Brief

  • 02/02

    Technical Paper

    Click here to review the Technical Paper