Robust family engagement in schools positively affects student growth, improves test scores, and enhances the overall vibrancy and success of a school.
– Jessica Lander
Meaningfully Involving and Engaging Families and Trusted Community Advocates
Offer structures to listen to families.
In addition to self-reflection and professional development, teachers, school leaders, and district staff may benefit from intentional structures that allow them to practice listening to families over time. In many schools, communication may be primarily initiated by the teacher; however, schools that establish regular listening sessions with families can help teachers improve their listening and relational skills with families and the community.
Engage family members and community members in ongoing and recurring efforts.
For families that have not yet built trust and communication with school staff, it can be challenging or intimidating to become more involved. Schools and districts can partner with family or community members to help bridge the divide, using trusted members of the community to help translate and share key messages and support effective communication.
Schools and districts can also ask family or community members to serve as interpreters or facilitators during meetings or after-school events. Schools and districts can also create formal structures, such as a family-led advisory committee, to help school staff learn more about how to best create a shared understanding and system of support between the school and the community.