What’s often missing in diverse and low-income schools is a culture of eagerness among staff to work with families. Families are ready, but often schools are not. The following three principles will ignite, nurture and sustain a new culture in your schools to engage families for years to come.
Leadership – The school leader sets the tone for staff and consistently models that he/she values family engagement. The school leader can’t do it alone though. A representative group of administrators, families and teachers needs to meet throughout the year to develop and monitor goals and action plans. This group reports to the school staff and school leadership team.
Teacher Development for Proven Strategies – Your teachers are the linchpin of family engagement. Introducing them to proven, innovative strategies to challenges teachers to build a whole new understanding of what meaningful family engagement can look like in their classrooms. Dedicated teacher development time, as well resources and coaching, help teachers make this shift.
Data Collection for Continuous Improvement – Transparent systems and metrics need to be in place to track how staff members are performing in family engagement relative to expectations. Data needs to be collected multiple times a year from all teachers, school staff, and families about the extent and impact of their family engagement practices, challenges, and priority areas for additional support. And just as he/she would in other areas of school improvement, the school leader consistently uses this data to hold staff accountable for continuous improvement.
These three principles are powerful drivers of family engagement, building trusting relationships with families and getting the results that students deserve.
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