Families support teaching and learning, guide students through the school system, and partner with educators and community organizations to create better schools.
Family engagement is:
- A shared responsibility in which schools and other community agencies and organizations are committed to engaging families in meaningful and culturally respectful ways, and families are committed to actively supporting their students’ learning and development.
- Continuous across a child’s life, providing support and commitment as students mature from early childhood into young adulthood.
- Evident everywhere in students’ lives – at home, in pre-kindergarten programs, in school, in after-school programs, in faith-based institutions, and in community programs and activities.
Why do partnerships matter?
- Family-school partnerships support the academic, social, emotional, cultural, and physical health and development of students. Effective family-school partnerships are a two-way street. Educators learn more about students and their families, leading to effective instructional strategies. Families, for their part, support learning at home, in the classroom and in the community.
- When schools provide information to families and communities about the public education system and have clear policies, families are better able to advocate for their students and others. These efforts lay the foundation for families to serve in leadership roles in their schools and throughout the community.
What is effective family engagement?
- Partnerships are built on mutual trust and respect. Effective partnerships include all families served by the school, including those that have been traditionally underserved. Effective schools communicate in the home language of students and demonstrate an understanding of diverse cultural norms and practices.
- Families and schools share access, voice, and ownership in the education of students. Partners discuss shared values and operating principles. Schools and families work together to write district and school-wide policies. The partnership acknowledges the unique relationship that schools must develop with tribal nations.
- Effective schools recognize the variety of ways in which families can support learning and provide tools to strengthen student learning at home and in the community. While important, attendance at school-based events and activities is only one measure of effective family-school partnerships. Families and schools together define “effective” family engagement, which takes place in the student’s home and community as well as in the school building.