1) Review: Introduction, Description, Objectives, and Key Concepts of lesson
2) Read: Material in Your Essential Library
4) Complete: Activity 1: School Practices Assessment: Family, School, and Community Linkages
5) Complete: Activity 2: Assessing Needs to Devise Family Engagement Strategies
This lesson helps participants explore family-centered practices for engaging and supporting families. It provides a grounded examination of successful strategies, practices, and policies that promote meaningful engagement across the education continuum and spanning culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
After completing this lesson, participants should be able to:
Family engagement skills must be learned.
Most teachers, and leaders, enter the field of education because they like working with children. This doesn’t mean that they have any interest or skills in working with the adults in the child’s family.
Educators often accept children “where they are,” but do not offer the same open-minded approach to families. The socio-economic and cultural background of the family influences how they view teachers, schools, and programs. When the background of the family differs from that of the teacher, it can lead to misunderstandings. Respect for families’ cultural traditions and expectations is a pre-requisite for building effective partnerships.
Principals/directors must build opportunities for teachers to improve their cultural competence.
Families are an important asset in this process and can co-create these learning experiences.
Relationships come first.
Engaging families and building trust is the foundation for family engagement. Strengthening the family-child bond reinforces the importance of parenting.
Family engagement extends past the school walls.
Family involvement must be defined as the family’s involvement in the child’s learning, whether that means volunteering in the classroom or sharing values with the child at home. Effective principals/directors find out how parents in their communities define engagement and what they expect from schools and programs.Principals/directors can, and should, engage a variety of community institutions—museums, libraries, early childhood programs, family services, after school and summer programs—in their efforts to involve families.
Principals/directors lead the way.
Principals/directors must set clear expectations, policies, accountability standards, and processes for staff. Is family involvement part of your school improvement plan? Part of your hiring process? Part of your attendance policy? A regular topic at faculty meetings? Principals/directors must make sure that efforts to engage families are systemic and sustained.
LINC has identified the following resources as the most essential current resources to help you inform yourself on this topic. You should peruse each of these resources prior to teaching this lesson. If you would like to complete additional research in this topic, there are optional resources in the Additional Resources for Further Study section.
To synthesize the material completed thus far in this lesson, consider the following through either small group discussion or individual writing response:
The post-lesson activity is designed to help students assess family engagement in their own schools. It should be completed after the rest of the lesson has finished.
This post-lesson activity will provide you with practice assessing the needs of your families and devising strategies to best support and engage them