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What Does Meaningful Engagement and Communication With Families Look Like in YOUR School?

I cannot help but to feel that equity and equitable practices in schools starts with re-learning how to truly engage, communicate with, listen to, learn from and follow through with knowledge gained from our families.

Dr. Karen Mapp from Harvard University describes Family Engagement as “ a full, equal, and equitable partnership among families, educators, and community partners to promote children’s learning and development from birth through college and career.”


What is concerning about Family Engagement in schools currently?

  • Many educators have not experienced robust examples of what family engagement could look like.

  • Traditionally in schools, engagement often looks like compliance, like homework checks. Also, having parents volunteer is not always accessible for some families. This maintains a system that tends to marginalize some people.

  • Many educators do not receive training in family engagement, which makes it harder to think out of the box and come up with equitable strategies.

  • How schools traditionally practice family engagement can cause families to feel disrespected, undervalued, and excluded from participating and contributing in the school. This fortifies the harm that was created from past negative experiences within the education system.

  • Oftentimes, when strategies don't work out, the blame is placed on families. This generates an adverse, false narratives that families do not care about or value education and that they are not committed to their child's education.


"Why" is Family Engagement Important in Schools?

Youth and Family outcomes according to research at youth.GOV: