In 1996, ParentNet® was developed under the leadership of Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D. and Susan Grijalva, M.A. to help build collaborative family-school partnerships. With initial success at the Overlake School in Redmond, WA, ParentNet® soon spread to involve more than 2,000 volunteers and 40 schools nationwide who helped refine its development.
In 2001, Price-Mitchell and Grijalva founded the nonprofit National ParentNet Association (NPNA) as an advocate for family involvement in education and a resource for schools. ParentNet® was registered as a trademark of the NPNA. Funded by the Johnson Family Foundation of Tampa, Florida, the Discuren Foundation of Seattle, WA, and numerous individual donors and schools, more than 8,000 families participated in ParentNet® in its first five years. At the same time, resources and training materials were developed to make the program affordable and replicable by other schools.
In 2007, the organization launched ParentInvolvementMatters.Org, a website that provided free, downloadable resources for schools wishing to use or modify ParentNet® within their communities. Materials were downloaded by hundreds of schools throughout the U.S., Canada, and abroad.
In 2014, Price-Mitchell and Grijalva invited a group of education leaders in Seattle, WA, to co-create the next chapter of the organization’s future — a focus on family and community engagement in Washington State, where ParentNet® has its roots. The National ParentNet Association was renamed the Washington State Family and Community Engagement Trust (WAFCET) and this website was launched to better reflect the scope and services of the nonprofit. ParentNet® remains a trademarked program of WAFCET.
Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell remains involved with research, writing, and speaking in the field of family engagement, positive youth development, education, leadership, and parenting. Read her blog at Roots of Action, aimed at nurturing positive youth development through family, school, and community collaboration.