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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7 Fa m i l y En g a g e m e n t To o l k i t EFFECTIVE FAMILY ENGAGEMENT Effective Family Engagement Effective family engagement has been described as "an intentional and systemic part- nership of educators, families, and community members …[who] share responsibility for a student's preparation for school, work and life, from the time the child is born to young adulthood [Weiss, Lopez & Rosenberg, 2010]. To build an effective partnership, educators, families, and community members need to develop the knowledge and skills to work together, and schools must purposefully integrate family and community engage- ment with goals for students' learning and thriving" (California Department of Education, 2017a, Definition, para. 3). This description of family engagement is grounded in the work of key family engagement scholars and researchers of the last four decades, including Joyce Epstein at Johns Hopkins University, Karen Mapp at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Anne Henderson at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. It also aligns to the 2013 Dual Capacity-Building Framework. Two Critical Dimensions of Family Engagement We suggest that having schools in which educators and families work as partners to sup- port student learning requires the continuous strengthening of two critical dimensions of family engagement: trusting relationships between educators and families, and the connec- tions of family engagement activities and efforts to student learning, referred to hereaer as connections to learning. Trusting relationships are weak when y Educators make assumptions that some families don't value education or are not interested in supporting student learning y Educators do not communicate effectively with families y Families do not feel welcome at their child's school and do not aend events at the school

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