ACSA Affiliate Content

Family Engagement Toolkit

The Association of California School Administrators is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the United States, serving more than 17,000 California educators.

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10 Fa m i l y En g a g e m e n t To o l k i t LAYING THE FOUNDATION Laying The Foundation Four important actions lay the foundation for effective family engagement. The first is to establish a district-level family engagement team that will work closely with and offer guidance and support to the district family engagement coordinator. The other actions are discussing core beliefs about family engagement; agreeing on a district vision statement for family engagement based on those beliefs; and reviewing district and school family engagement policies. Each action is described more fully below. Establish a District Family Engagement Team Establishing a team of district- and school-level educators, staff members, family members, and community representatives for the planning process enables a district to benefit from the collective perspectives they bring. Johns Hopkins University researcher Dr. Joyce Epstein was an early advocate of having family engagement teams, and her book, School, Family and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action (2009) is a foundational resource in the field. Epstein emphasizes the importance of including both family members and educators on such teams, along with others who have important connections with families and students. By including educators and staff who have roles in different programs, such as Special Education, Title I, English Learner Services, Student Services, and Health and Wellness, the team can beer align family engagement activities across existing district initiatives. On the family side, it is important to include those who reflect the diversity in the district, to ensure that the voices of all families are reflected in the design, implementation, and evaluation of family engagement activities. (Districts using Johns Hopkins University's Action Team for Partnerships model may want to include representatives of site-based action teams on the family engagement team.) We suggest you consider people in the following roles for your team: y District Family Engagement Coordinator y District, state, and federal program staff (e.g., programs for English learner students, students with disabilities, students in foster care, and students who are homeless) y Site administrator(s) y Teacher(s) y Parent leader(s), including members of advisory commiees (e.g., an English learner advisory commiee, a special education advisory commiee)

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