Families & the Community Download

DOWNLOADABLE: Best Practices for Building School-Family Relationships

By Libby Stanford & Gina Tomko — April 25, 2024 1 min read
Emmanuel Trujillo-Beas, family liaison at Marie L. Greenwood Early-8, talks with other school liaisons during a group discussion at Lowery Conference Center on March 13, 2024 in Denver. One of the goals of the meeting was to discuss how schools can better integrate new students and families into the district. Denver Public Schools has six community hubs across the district that have served 3,000 new students since October 2023. Each community hub has different resources for families and students catering to what the community needs.
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Schools can boost student outcomes when educators cultivate trusting relationships with families and enlist parents as partners in their children’s learning. Schools that have brought parents into the learning process have seen a variety of improvements confirmed by researchers, including better attendance and improved math performance.

Luckily, it doesn’t require an influx of resources or funding to transform a school’s approach to engaging with families.

Most of the time, experts say, it’s about shifting educators’ mindsets to make families central to discussions about student academics. There are easy steps schools can take to build positive, long-lasting relationships with families that are based on trust—as well as more elaborate setups schools can pursue to enrich those relationships.

See Also

Various school representatives and parent liaisons attend a family and community engagement think tank discussion at Lowery Conference Center on March 13, 2024 in Denver. One of the goals of the meeting was to discuss how schools can better integrate new students and families into the district. Denver Public Schools has six community hubs across the district that have serviced 3,000 new students since October 2023. Each community hub has different resources for families and students catering to what the community needs.
School representatives and parent liaisons attend a family and community engagement think tank discussion at Lowery Conference Center on March 13, 2024 in Denver. One of the goals of the meeting was to discuss how schools can better integrate new students and families into the district.
Rebecca Slezak For Education Week
Families & the Community 5 Ways to Get Parents More Involved in Schools
Libby Stanford, April 25, 2024
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Whatever particular approach they pursue, schools stand the best chance of ensuring their family engagement makes a difference when they make it systemic, meaning everyone in the building places a priority on cultivating relationships with families; accessible, so no group of parents is excluded because they can’t, for example, attend an in-school event; and customized to the school’s community and culture.

Here’s a downloadable guide to five key strategies schools can employ, with resources to take family engagement strategies further.

Download these tips (PDF)

Dive Deeper

This story is part of a special reporting project on family engagement.
The Future of Parent Engagement: Parents and caregivers are paying more attention to their children’s education than ever. Here’s what that means for schools.
A New Community School Model: Family and community engagement is central to the success of Stevenson Elementary School in Southfield, Mich. See how the transformation started.
“Add-on” or Core Skill? Researchers agree family engagement is effective, but few colleges actually teach it.
Bridging the Gap: A home visit program is helping parents and teachers build more trusting relationships in Denver.
A New Generation of Apps: Tech platforms are changing the way teachers communicate with families. How can schools use them effectively?
5 Strategies: Schools don’t need an influx of money and resources to have effective family engagement. Find out how. (Here’s a downloadable guide.)

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