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How Can Schools Work to Better Involve and Engage Families?

Throughout the pandemic, I’ve heard school leaders and teachers talk about how essential it has been to connect with families. Certainly, distance learning only truly worked when schools and parents worked as partners. But, now that most schools are beyond the point of needing to provide full distance learning for all students, how do schools continue to value those connections that were made and work to meaningfully partner with families?

In a webinar I attended this winter, they focused on the term “family-centric”. Their simple definition for the term is that it means start with the family. As schools are working to plan for graduation, summer school and next year, they need to truly seek to know what the families want - what are THEIR priorities, THEIR goals, THEIR needs, THEIR resources? Research from the Flamboyan Foundation shows that families play five essential roles in support of their children’s education:

  • Communicating high expectations

  • “I know you can pass that test.” or “I believe you can go to college.”

  • Monitoring their child’s performance

  • “How did you do on the test?” or “Are you on track to meet your goals?”

  • Supporting learning at home

  • “Can I help you study for the test?” or “Let’s read together.”

  • Guiding their child’s academic path

  • “You should take this class first.” or “Let’s explore college entrance requirements.”

  • Advocating for their child

  • “Who can we ask for help” or “I will ask your teacher about that.”

By starting with the families, it assumes we have much to learn from them - and we truly do! Educators need to believe that all families, regardless of income level, race, or other social factors, dream of success for their children and all families have the cap