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Family/Community Engagement: School/District Resources

 
Topics: Standard 1 | Standard 2 | Standard 3 | Standard 4 | Standard 5 | Standard 6

Standard 1: Connect families to community resources that support their goals, interests, and needs.

U.S. Department of Education English Learner Toolkit 
Chapter 10 of this toolkit, Tools and Resources for Ensuring Meaningful Communication with Limited English Proficient Parents, describes the requirements for districts to communicate with families of English learners, as updated in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The chapter also includes strategies for school leaders to integrate English learner families into school culture, along with interpretation and translation resources for districts.

A New Tool for Understanding Family-School Relationships: The Harvard Graduate School of Education PreK-12 Parent Survey
This survey, from the Harvard Family Research Project, includes seven sets of questions for parents to assess family-school relationships, and can be administered online. It is available in Spanish and English. 

Bringing Attendance Home Toolkit Attendance Works
This toolkit includes research on engaging families with attendance issues, materials to share with families, and interactive exercises to facilitate conversations about attendance.

Connecting Children & Families to Resources
This guide is intended to give practitioners, policy makers, and researchers an overview of the approaches in use, and to provide organizational frameworks that serve as gateways to understanding and making relevant existing work in communities across the country. Each page provides a descriptive snapshot of a different program or approach currently being implemented. 

An Early Educators' Guide to Resources for Immigrant Families
National Association for the Education of Young Children provides an overview regarding equitable access and resources for families.

PA Resources for Immigrants
This guide will connect you with information and resources for Pennsylvania immigrants.

Engaging ELL Families through Community Partnerships
How can schools develop strategic relationships with community partners? Which issues are best addressed through a community partnership? Learn more from the strategies below. These strategies appear in Engaging ELL Families: Twenty Strategies for School Leaders.

How to Provide Social-Emotional Support for ELL Students 
Learn more about strategies that individual educators and schools can use to support immigrant students, help address stress and anxiety, and create a respectful classroom environment discussions related to immigration. These strategies are part of the Colorín Colorado resource guide, How to Support Immigrant Students and Families: Strategies for Schools and Early Childhood Programs.

Family-School Partnerships: An Essential Component of Student Achievement
Sandra Christenson et.al. detail the importance of family-school partnerships and its impact on the overall school community and academic achievement. 

Supporting Students from Military Families
Eric Rossen and Courtney D. Carter describe methods to support students who come from military families. This covers stages of military deployment as well as recommendations specifically for schools. 

Supporting Students with Incarcerated Parents
Eric Rossen describes recommendations for educators in supporting children of incarcerated parents. It discusses methods of engaging, as well as consideration of re-entry of the parent to the family following release. 

Children and Families of the Incarcerated Fact Sheet
The growing number of children with an incarcerated parent represents one of the most significant collateral consequences of the record prison population in the U.S.
 
Incarcerated Fathers Library and Biblioteca sobre hijos de padres encarcelados – En castellano
This Library contains a number of pamphlets that contain helpful information for incarcerated fathers and those that serve them. Topics include how to prepare a child for a prison visit to how to tell a child that their father is incarcerated.

The Challenges of Homelessness
Tory Cox describes methods of supporting children from homeless families. For example, you can contact your child's teacher if you have questions, or you may be invited to events at the school. These resources describe how you can build a relationship with your child's school.

Raising Bilingual Kids
One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the gift of two (or more!) languages. Being bilingual is good for your child's brain, makes communication with grandparents and relatives easier, and is an advantage for finding jobs in the future. To learn more, see our resources for ideas on raising bilingual children at www.colorincolorado.org.

Family Guides: Supporting Learning in 2020-21
These guides provide information on the most important things students should be learning, and how to reinforce learning with everyday activities, tips for talking to teachers, and online resources. 

Standard 2: Build partnerships with families that are strengths-based, authentic, reciprocal, and respectful.

Partnerships with Families and Communities
In order to provide the best possible education, schools must partner with families and communities. True partnerships are based on mutual respect. Teachers respect and value parents' knowledge and insights about their children. Parents respect and value teachers' knowledge and insights about the learning process and understanding children's educational needs. In a school-family-community partnership, all members of the community recognize changing family needs in order to raise children in an environment that provides the conditions for health, safety, and learning.

Participatory Asset Mapping: A Community Research Lab Toolkit 
This toolkit describes concepts related to and methods for identifying assets in a neighborhood. It includes guides to planning and facilitation of community meetings to collect knowledge and experiences about local assets.

Encouraging and Sustaining ELL Parent Engagement | Colorín Colorado
How can schools (and school leaders) "think outside the box" when it comes to the family engagement of ELLs? What has worked for other schools? These strategies appear in Engaging ELL Families: Twenty Strategies for School Leaders. The following strategies offer tips for thinking creatively about how to engage families around topics or activities that are important to them and their children.

A New Tool for Understanding Family-School Relationships: The Harvard Graduate School of Education PreK-12 Parent Survey
This survey, from the Harvard Family Research Project, includes seven sets of questions for parents to assess family-school relationships, and can be administered online. It is available in Spanish and English. 

Best Practices in Engaging Diverse Families
This report examines literature and case studies on engaging diverse families in public, K12 settings. It focuses in particular on the experiences and needs of large, urban public school districts, and on the experiences and needs of African-American and Hispanic families. The report is organized as follows: Section I: Engaging Diverse Families addresses practices for engaging diverse families. It outlines general best practices, then explores specific strategies for African American and Hispanic families, respectively. Section II: Case Studies presents two case studies of districts recognized for their service to diverse populations.

How to Support Immigrant Students and Families: Strategies for Schools and Early Childhood Programs 
Across the country educators are looking for ways to support immigrant students and families facing great uncertainty. This comprehensive guide includes more than 50 strategies that educators, staff, and administrators can use to ensure that schools and early childhood settings remain safe, welcoming places for immigrant students and their families.

Beginning Again With Marginalized Parents
The article discusses how U.S. teachers and schools can deal with the parents of high school students in alternative-learning programs, and it mentions how these types of parents often feel marginalized due to the educational failures of their children. Psycho-social issues and at-risk students are addressed, along with individualized education plans and communication in education involving parents and teachers. Student disciplinary hearings and problem-solving conferences are assessed.

Crossing boundaries: how to create successful partnerships with families and communities
Well-planned and faithfully executed partnerships between schools, families, and communities can benefit children, parents and other family members, teachers, schools, and communities. If schools want to achieve successful collaboration with families and communities they must know how to communicate effectively, make the school or program more welcoming, reach out to those who do not want to come to the school, enlist parent and community agencies to help educate children, and help families get the support they need to do a good job with their children. Educators, community representatives, and families must learn how to cross the boundaries that prevent them from achieving partnerships.

Strategies for Community Engagement in School Turnaround
This report examines one key strategy for making school turnaround more effective: community engagement. The purpose of community engagement is to ensure that school improvement is done with the community, not to the community. It recognizes how integral schools are to their communities, and how much parents and communities have to offer as partners when fundamental change must occur in schools

Can We Talk? Using Community–Based Participatory Action Research to Build Family and School Partnerships with Families of Color - School Community Journal
The discussion centers on the school district's strategic plan and the community–university partnership used as a vehicle for responding to these critical concerns. 

PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships Assessment Guide: The Framework for your School District's Local Control and Accountability Plan (2016) 
This resource includes rubrics for the six PTA national standards for family-school partnerships. Available in English and Spanish. 

Partnering with Families and Communities
A well-organized program of family and community partnerships yields many benefits for schools and their students.

Sample Inventory of School and Family Partnerships
This Iowa version of the inventory will help educators identify their district's present practices in three of the six types of parent involvement that create a comprehensive program of school, family, and community partnerships.

Partners in Education - A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family–School Partnerships
This publication provides a framework for family–school partnerships, three case studies, and recommendations. 

Building Partnerships Series for Early Childhood Professionals
Explore the importance of family engagement and practice strategies for building relationships with families. Use this resource to review the following: description of family engagement, benefits of relationships with families, strengths-based attitudes and relationship-based practices, practical examples, and additional resources and related references.  This guide is intended for professionals in the early childhood field. Individuals, groups of staff, and supervisors can use this tool as part of training and reflective practice and supervision. 

Administrators:  ELL Resources
Administrators play a crucial role in creating an environment in which ELLs can succeed. This section offers school leaders — particularly those with growing ELL populations — ideas and strategies to make that happen. Resources include articles, recommended reports, professional books, and expert interviews.
 
How to Support Immigrant Students and Families: Strategies for Schools and Early Childhood Programs
Across the country educators are looking for ways to support immigrant students and families facing great uncertainty. This comprehensive guide includes more than 50 strategies that educators, staff, and administrators can use to ensure that schools and early childhood settings remain safe, welcoming places for immigrant students and their families.

COVID-19

Rethinking Family Engagement During School Closures
This article recommends taking time to check assumptions about family engagement can make a huge difference in the lives of your students and their caregivers.

Standard 3: Partner with families to identify information, resources, and strategies to support them in their roles as teachers, models, encouragers, monitors, leaders and advocates as they support their child's learning and development.

Parent Friendly Schools - Starting the Conversation 5 Tools for Schools
This tool is designed to help schools begin a conversation about the environment and how welcome people feel in the building. This initial conversation provides a start to continued conversations about honoring and connecting with parents in ways which support student achievement.

Communicating Important Information with ELL Families: Strategies for Success 
It is critical for schools to understand the rights that English language learners (ELLs), immigrant students, and their families have regarding access to schooling and information in their home languages. Learn more about those rights below, as well as some best practices for not only meeting those obligations but building positive partnerships with ELL families in support of their children.
 
Finding Answers for Our Immigrant Students and Families: An ELL District Leader's Perspective
As news reports about the future of DACA dominate the headlines, schools and individual educators can play an important role in helping to inform and support immigrant students and families during uncertain times. The attached article was written by Bright Ideas for Teaching ELLs contributor Kristina Robertson about her efforts to create a supportive community for immigrant students and families, as well as staff, throughout her district.

Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships
For schools and districts across the U.S., family engagement is rapidly shifting from a low-priority recommendation to an integral part of education reform efforts. Family engagement has long been enshrined in policy at the federal level through Title I of ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act), which requires that Title I schools develop parental involvement policies and "school– family compacts" that outline how the two stakeholder groups will work together to boost student achievement.

How Districts Can Lay the Groundwork for Lasting Family Engagement
Family engagement in a student's education can lead to improved student academic achievement, attendance, and behavior. Yet many districts and schools still struggle to form strong partnerships with the families they serve. Having a supportive district-level infrastructure is key to the success and sustainability of family engagement initiatives. This issue of SEDL Insights outlines district supports that can lay the foundation for high-impact family engagement.
 
U.S. Department of Education Newcomer Toolkit
Newcomers to the United States are a highly heterogeneous group. This chapter of the toolkit discusses diverse situations and circumstances among newcomers; the assets they bring; and ways schools can support newcomer students and their families as they adapt to U.S. schools, society, and culture.

How to Support Immigrant Students and Families: Strategies for Schools and Early Childhood Programs
Across the country educators are looking for ways to support immigrant students and families facing great uncertainty. This comprehensive guide includes more than 50 strategies that educators, staff, and administrators can use to ensure that schools and early childhood settings remain safe, welcoming places for immigrant students and their families.

How to Support ELL Students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFEs) 
While educating students with interrupted education may seem overwhelming at first glance, they can indeed obtain a high school diploma with the right kind of support and go on to future academic and professional success. This article provides a profile of SIFEs and their needs, recommendations of best practices, and examples of the kinds of quality support that will accelerate their academic achievement.

Strengthening Relationships with Families in the School Community: Do School Leaders Make a Difference? 
Many family engagement programs logically focus on providing training and support for parent leaders, giving them the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively partner with schools. Yet in implementing family engagement programs, the author has found again and again that the key to successful partnerships between families and schools is the school principal. Even with comprehensive parent leadership training, sustainable family engagement initiatives cannot truly take hold without buy-in, shared understanding, and a structure for parent engagement at the school level.

Supporting Parent Success 
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has a long history of promoting a two-generation approach to improving reading proficiency for children in low-income families — working to achieve successful outcomes for both children and parents. Several recent national efforts by leading experts and institutions have bolstered our conviction that parents are a key ingredient in children's school success. These efforts (see list on p. 9) include a national study on parents, a federal policy statement on family engagement, essential frameworks, and a national parent survey — all guiding us toward an even stronger foundation on which to base our conviction that parents are the secret sauce!

Taking Action on Attendance:  How Parents Can Make a Difference at Home - Exercise 
The purpose of this activity is to help parents see how their choices affect whether their children are in school on time, every day for the entire day (what educators call "time on task"). Time on task matters for a child's learning and success. Through this activity, parents will know what they can do to support their children in getting to school on time, every day.

NYU Metro Center - Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Remote Education
Resources on culturally responsive-sustaining remote learning, including tips on CR-S family engagement, and tools for schools/districts to engage with families.

Count Us In: Advancing Equity in Rural Schools and Communities | MAEC, Inc. 
The Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC) compiled a series of essays, articles, and research to tackle the question: how do we, as a society, value and support rural students and families? Users will benefit from accessing current information around equity in rural spaces.

COVID-19

Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium
An interactive map that displays resources for families in the midst of the global pandemic. The map allows families/caregivers to access their home state for information related to state department of education opening guidance, unemployment resources, access to food resources, family resource centers, and how to report hate incidents and crime.

Standard 4: Provide intentional opportunities for families to connect and engage with each other.

Understanding Family Engagement Outcomes: Research to Practice Series
Families rely on other families and the support of their communities to celebrate the joys and face the responsibilities and challenges of raising children. 

Partnering with Families and Communities
A well-organized program of family and community partnerships yields many benefits for schools and their students.

Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education Family and Community Engagement
Teaching Tolerance shares five practices to increase the connection between families. 

Ways to Foster a More Meaningful Connection with Families
Family engagement means that we work to connect schools, families and the community, to work together to support students during their education. By being intentional in fostering these connections, it leads to a network of support for students and their families and amplifies the learning potential of all students.  

Events During the School Year
During the school year, there are several events that help build the foundation for partnerships with families of English language learners (ELLs). Look at these ideas for engaging families throughout the year, with special tips about reaching out to families in their home languages.

Family Engagement: Partnering With Families to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes 
This paper aims to support policymakers in setting expectations for effective family engagement through policy and to equip them with best practices to support providers in implementation. An exploration of how policy, contextualized to Philadelphia, can promote strong family engagement across programs is first presented.

Handbook on Family and Community Engagement 
This Handbook offers a broad definition of family and community engagement, seen through the lens of scholars and practitioners with a wide-ranging set of perspectives on why and how families, communities, and schools collaborate with one another.

Ways to Foster a More Meaningful Connection With Families
It is so important to our student success that we find ways to involve families more than just in periodic conversations or events at school but go beyond and truly bring them in to the learning experience of our students. Family engagement means that we work to connect schools, families, and the community, to work together to support students during their education.

Evidence-Based Strategies for Supporting and Enhancing Family Engagement
Family engagement should be a vital component of any strategy to expand learning opportunities for children and youth after school and during the summertime—whether at the organizational, community, state, or national level. Under current federal guidelines for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, "family engagement" takes the form of activities to support parental involvement and family literacy. 

Family and Community Engagement - USDE
Check out the resources on this webpage supporting the framework for building greater support and capacity in schools, homes and communities, so ALL students have the chance to succeed. Get ideas for how to bring your passion, talents, and energy to help students and to make your neighborhood schools stronger. 

Standard 5: Support families as they develop their leadership and advocacy skills.

Equity-Based Family Engagement Boosts Education
Providing equity-based opportunities for family engagement can help parents and caretakers become effective advocates and culture-bearers in schools, which in turn improves educational quality and relevance.

Race, power, and minority parent participation
Articles such as these highlight the importance of moving away from White middle-class ethnocentric notions of parent participation to recognize the nuanced ways in which families from different cultures define and practice parent participation.

Tips for Administrators, Teachers, and Families: How to Share Data Effectively 
This resource provides guidance to educators on sharing data with families about their student's achievement, strengths and challenges, and learning styles. It also includes tips for families about talking with teachers about their child's progress. It is available in Spanish and English.

Natural Leaders
Families serve as multi-cultural bridges between students, families, communities, and schools.  This program is not a top-down, school-directed training programs teaching parents how to help their kids succeed. The Natural Leaders program is different.  Parents take on leadership roles and learn the skills needed to build relationships with families in their community, identify what helps these families be successful in the school system, and then implement these ideas.  Currently based in Washington State.  

Families as Advocates and Leaders – Preschool and Beyond
This resource presents a summary of selected research, promising practices, proven interventions, and program strategies intended to be useful for Head Start, Early Head Start, and other early childhood programs.  Much of this content is also applicable beyond the early childhood levels.  

Strategies for Equitable Family Engagement
This resource includes summaries of the research on equitable family engagement as well as examples of school and district practices across the country, linking to publicly available information where possible. School and district leaders may use this resource to build staff knowledge around equitable family engagement and inform strategy selection.

Parent-Teacher Conferences: Strategies for Principals, Teachers, and Parents
Reuniones entre padres y maestros: estrategias para directores, maestros y padres (Spanish)
Global Family Research Project views parent-teacher conferences in terms of the 5Rs: reach out, raise up, reinforce, relate, and reimagine. Applying these approaches can lead to innovative ways to partner with families to ensure that they receive the information they need to help their children, and that teachers understand their students' strengths and needs.

Family Agency and Voice: Designing the Next Generation of Family Engagement
Three family-staff activities to develop agency and voice.

Working with Families on Advisory Bodies
This resource is designed for district leaders to plan and implement a strategy for creating family advisory teams for the school district. 

Supporting Two-Way Communication
This resource is a strategy that district leaders can use as they develop policies at the district level, as well as to support efforts to interact directly with families. District leaders can use two-way communication to learn about families' experiences in being engaged in the process of supporting their child in the formative assessment process, and to surface the cultural considerations necessary for effective communication.

District Leaders-Peer to Peer Family Network
This resource is for district leaders to develop policies that support the implementation of the family engagement strategies. To be paired with the Peer to Peer Family Networks PowerPoint presentation.

District Leaders - The Power of Peer to Peer Family Networks – PowerPoint Presentation
This resource is designed for district leaders to facilitate with principals and for principals to use with teachers to introduce them to the definition and importance of peer social networks. In addition, it introduces relationships as a strategy for increasing family capacity in shared decision-making around the formative assessment process.

National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds
The National Alliance of Children's Trust and Preventions Funds (Alliance) has a diverse portfolio of training resources to support parent partnership and continues to develop these through the relationships we have been building with our parent partners. The Alliance also works with membership and with other mission-related organizations to develop customized TA. The TA is designed to address the developmental needs of organizations who wish to be more effective at partnering with parents in their work. This can vary in scope – from recommending excellent parent speakers from our network of parent partners – to designing a plan for creating a Parent Advisory Group or Council to meet an organization's specific needs.

Parent Cafes - Be Strong
Parent Cafés are physically and emotionally safe spaces where parents and caregivers talk about the challenges and victories of raising a family. Through individual deep self-reflection and peer-to-peer learning, participants explore their strengths, learn about the Protective Factors, and create strategies from their own wisdom and experiences to help strengthen their families. Cafés are structured discussions that use the principles of adult learning and family support. They are highly sustainable with training reinforcement, institutional support, and a commitment to an approach that engages and affirms parents as leaders. Participants leave Parent Cafés feeling inspired, energized, and excited to put into practice what they've learned.

Strategies for Engaging Latino Parents in Assessment Advocacy
One in four students in classrooms today are Latino, and this number will increase to one in three by 2050. With these changing demographics, education policies are being debated and implemented that affect millions of Latino children—and more state leaders, educators and education advocates are looking for ways to effectively engage Latino parents. In particular, as states have raised expectations for student learning in recent years to better ensure students are being taught skills and knowledge they need for success—and put in place higher quality tests aligned to these expectations—Latino parents have both embraced these changes and sometimes been unsure how to use these new tools to advocate for their children. 

OSEP English to Spanish Translation Glossary

This second edition of the OSEP Glossary of Spanish Translations of Common IDEA Termsincludes over 400 terms related to IDEA Parts B and C (the parts of IDEA that cover special education and early intervention services, respectively). The terms were selected by experienced translators from Parent Centers who have worked with families with children with disabilities representing the majority of Spanish-speaking cultures in Latin America and Spain.

Racism

Racial Justice Resource Guide
This comprehensive National Education Association resource guide includes tools and resources for talking about race, conducting racial equity assessments, strategic planning, ideas for capacity building and action, FAQs, and a directory of web pages, documents and allied organizations focused on racial justice in education.

Housing and Schools: The Importance of Engagement for Educators and Education Advocates
Housing and school policies have a strong reciprocal effect on patterns of racial and economic segregation, which makes it especially important for educators and education advocates who understand the benefits of school integration1 to become involved in housing and land use policy. This policy brief aims to enhance educator, school leader, parent, and education advocate understanding of the dynamics of the housing-schools relationship and their effectiveness as advocates in their local communities.

Seven Harmful Racial Discourse Practices to Avoid

This report identifies and describes seven harmful racial discourse practices.  It provides definitions for the practices and describes the specific negative effects these practices have on racial discourse. Each practice discussion also contains an example or two of its use from recent events. Educators may find this resource useful in improving communication with families of varying backgrounds.

Standard 6: Build partnerships with families during times of transition

Four Important Things to Know About the Transition to School 
Transition is an equity issue. Studies have shown that upon kindergarten entry, children from higher socioeconomic backgrounds begin school with higher average achievement scores in comparison with children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. These preparation gaps can be explained, in part, by families from low-income households having less access to high-quality preschool opportunities, fewer resources, less social support, and higher family stress than families from high-income households.

Strategies for Community Engagement in School Turnaround
This report examines one key strategy for making school turnaround more effective: community engagement. The purpose of community engagement is to ensure that school improvement is done with the community, not to the community. It recognizes how integral schools are to their communities, and how much parents and communities have to offer as partners when fundamental change must occur in schools.

ESL and Immigrant Students and Families
Newcomers to the United States are a highly heterogeneous group. This chapter of the toolkit discusses diverse situations and circumstances among newcomers; the assets they bring; and ways schools can support newcomer students and their families as they adapt to U.S. schools, society, and culture.
 
Transition Discoveries
The Transition Discoveries Guide was developed by The Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network, The George Washington University, and Temple University and funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council.  The Guide is available to Transition stakeholders in order to plan for and create pathways to success for Transition aged youth with disabilities.

State and Local Task Force – Special Education
The State Task Force serves as an advocate for students with Intellectual Disabilities, but actions, decisions and initiatives often affect all students with disabilities. The State Task Force has the responsibility to call upon the Commonwealth's resources for resolution of needs and problems through administrative and policy making means. Meeting at least five times a year, the State Task Force is comprised of four members, representing the following:
• The Arc of Pennsylvania
• PA Department of Human Services
• PA Department of Education
• Governor's Office
Additionally, each Intermediate Unit across Pennsylvania is responsible for providing support to a Local Task Force. Sometimes known as a Local Parent Task Force or Right to Education Local Task Force, they were formed to represent the needs and interests of students with Intellectual Disabilities and their families on a local level. Today, Local Task Forces have expanded their efforts to include all students with Disabilities. All Local Task Force meetings are open to parents, agency providers, and school professionals who are concerned about the education of students with disabilities. It is especially important that families of a child with a Disability who is transitioning from Early Intervention Services to School Age Services receive information on the State and Local Task Force. Access more information on the State Task Force.

U.S. Department Education Newcomer Toolkit
Newcomers to the United States are a highly heterogeneous group. This chapter of the tool kit discusses diverse situations and circumstances among newcomers; the assets they bring; and ways schools can support newcomer students and their families as they adapt to U.S. schools, society, and culture.

How to Support Immigrant Students and Families: Strategies for Schools and Early Childhood Programs
Across the country, educators are looking for ways to support immigrant students and families facing great uncertainty. This comprehensive guide includes more than 50 strategies that educators, staff, and administrators can use to ensure that schools and early childhood settings remain safe, welcoming places for immigrant students and their families.