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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14 Fa m i l y En g a g e m e n t To o l k i t GETTING STARTED: WHERE ARE WE NOW? Getting Started: Where Are We Now? When the district has laid the foundation by establishing a family engagement team, discussing core beliefs, agreeing on a vision statement, and reviewing current district and school family engagement policies, the real work of engaging families begins. An assessment of the current family engagement situation is the starting point for strengthening the two critical dimensions. The team will need to learn about the fam- ilies in the district, the current relationships between educators and families, and the effectiveness of existing family engagement activities. This information will become the basis for beginning the PDRA process. Family engagement activities may sometimes be planned based on assumptions about the needs of families, on what has always been done in the district, or on what has worked in another district. But just as planning teams have learned to use data in academic planning and in areas of school climate (e.g., aendance or discipline), so too should districts use data in family engagement planning. Each district context is different, so understanding the strengths, or assets, in your district, as well as your unique challenges, is key to building a family engagement program that effectively engages all of your families. We suggest your family engagement team investi- gate the current situation and gather data in the following areas: y Strengths and challenges of families in the district y Current levels of trusting relationships between educators and families y Current levels of connections of family engagement activities to student learning y Strengths and challenges of existing family engagement activities Strengths and Challenges of Families in the District The families in every district have unique strengths and challenges. Using an assets- based or strengths-based approach to understanding families will help the team be more culturally responsive and help guard against making negative assumptions about families

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