Download a printable version of “Encouraging Family Involvement”

1. Recognize that all parents, regardless of income, education level, or cultural background are involved in their children’s learning and want their children to do well in school.

Possible Actions to Take:Encouraging Family Invovlement

  • Examine assumptions about parents, assume that with support and training, they can help their students achieve.
  • Avoid blaming parents and look for ways to learn from them.

2.  Create programs that will support families to guide their children’s learning, from preschool through high school.Possible Actions to Take:

  • Adopt features from programs that are linked to gains in children’s learning (e.g. home visits, lending libraries, classes for parents).
  • At all levels, work with families to support children in making transitions.

3.  Work with families to make connections with outside organizations and groups.

Possible Actions to Take:

  • Develop families’ political knowledge and skills; help them understand how schools and organizations work.
  • Develop families’ beliefs that they can and do make a difference in their child’s life.

4.  Develop the capacity of school staff to work with families and community members.

Possible Actions to Take:

  • Increase opportunities for professional development on how to connect families and community members.5.  Link family and community engagement efforts to student learning.Possible Actions to Take:

5.  Link family and community engagement efforts to student learning.

Possible Actions to Take:

  • Develop or adopt programs to engage parents in working with their children to develop specific skills (e.g. TIPS, Family Math, Family Science, Family Reading, etc.)

6.  Focus effort to engage families and community members in developing trusting and respectful relationships.Possible Actions to Take:

  • Respect cultural and class differences (i.e. learn about various communities and their perceptions of school).
  • Adopt simple but effective practices of teacher outreach to families (e.g. person contact).

7.  Embrace a philosophy of partnership and be willing to share power with families.  Make sure that parents, school staff and community members understand that the responsibility for children’s educational development is a collaborative enterprise.Possible Actions to Take:

  • Adopt a philosophy that family and community engagement is a key component of whole school reform plan.
  • Find creative ways to involve families and communities in planning, establishing policy and making decisions.

8.  Build strong connections between schools and community organizations.Possible Actions to Take:

  • Work with community organizations to offer programs that encourage reading, writing and studying during evening, weekends and summer.
  • Open the school to community groups and agencies that offer services to families through a family resource center.
  • Collaborate with community-organizing groups that want to improve the school.
  • Coordinate efforts to reach families with community organizations, including religious groups.

9.  Design and conduct research that is more rigorous and focused, and that uses more culturally sensitive and empowering definitions of parent involvement.Possible Actions to Take:

  • Use the available resources of universities, or other institutions of high education to assist in the design, implementation and evaluation of local programs.
  • Explore how practices to engage families can enhance reform measure to improve and close the achievement gap.
  • Investigate a great variety of forms of family and community engagement.
  • Investigate how families attempt to influence schools and become more involved.

Download a printable version of “Encouraging Family Involvement”

Provided by:

Dr. Betty Howell Gray

Seattle Alliance of Black School Educators (SABSE) in partnership with

Seattle Public Schools Family Engagement Department

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