What is Family Engagement?

Our center has adopted the Dual Capacity-Building Framework and the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) definition of family engagement: 

  • Family engagement is a shared responsibility in which schools and other community agencies and organizations are committed to reaching out to engage families in meaningful ways and in which families are committed to actively supporting their children’s learning and development.
  • Family engagement is continuous across a child’s life and entails enduring commitment but changing parent roles as children mature into young adulthood.
  • Effective family engagement cuts across and reinforces learning anywhere and anytime because children learn at home, in pre-kindergarten programs, at school, in after-school programs, in faith-based institutions, and in the community.

Why Family Engagement Matters

For Students

  • Higher grades and test scores, enrollment in AP 
  • Grade promotions, more credits 
  • Improved school attendance and homework completion rates 
  • Improved social skills and behavior 
  • Higher self-esteem 
  • Higher school graduation rates and college/post-secondary attendance

For Families

  • Enhanced parent-child interaction and increased sensitivity to children’s emotional and intellectual needs
  • Higher confidence in parenting abilities
  • Better rapport with teachers and school staff
  • Greater understanding of children’s progress and how to help
  • Strengthened commitment to their children’s schools
  • More active in policy making at school and in the community
  • Increased deep and supportive social connections

For Schools

  • More positive school climate
  • Higher morale and greater retention of teachers
  • Parents have more respect for the teaching profession
  • Improved communication between  educators and parents
  • Better reputation and more support from the community
  • Improved facilities, better curriculum, and higher-quality classrooms

High Impact Strategies

High-impact family and community engagement is collaborative, culturally competent, and focused on improving children’s learning.

Some examples of high-impact strategies are:

  • Building personal relationships, respect, and mutual understanding with families through home visits, community walks, and class meetings.
  • Sharing data with families about student skill levels.
  • Modeling effective teaching practices so families can use them at home.
  • Listening to families about their children’s interests and challenges, then using this information to differentiate instruction.
  • Incorporating content from families’ home cultures into classroom lessons.
  • Aligning family engagement activities with school improvement goals.

Practices like these are even more effective when combined.

Dual Capacity-Building Framework

The Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships, Version 2, is designed to support the development of family engagement strategies, policies, and programs. This research-based framework identifies the goals and conditions necessary to develop and sustain effective family-school partnership initiatives that support student learning and school improvement.