Schools engaging families & communities


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The PowerPoint from a presentation on engaging families and the local community at The University of Newcastle's Teachers' Visit Day .
"Research shows that strong partnerships between schools, parents, businesses and the local community organisations can make a significant difference to educational and social outcomes for students. Community engagement is a two way process that involves more active participation than simply inviting parents to the school.
Drawing on the work of the Family Action Centre and the experience of participants, this interactive workshop will explore practical strategies for engaging families and the local community in your school. We will investigate some of the challenges and potential benefits of active community engagement, ways of identifying and mobilising family and community resources, as well as examples of successful community partnerships and potential funding sources."
I've also written a blog post on making parents welcome at school available from

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  • There is extensive research showing that partnerships between schools, families, and communities strongly and positively affect student achievement (Australian Council for Educational Research, 2008)
  • Melbourne declaration signed by Federal and State education ministers in 2008 set the agenda for Australia’s educational future. The proposed NationalCurriculum and the Digital Education Revolution are two examples of radical changes to education in Australia that have been facilitated by the agreement. Another area which was lower on the priority list, but is being addressed is family and community engagement.
  • Effective communication:• is active, personal, frequent and culturally appropriate;• is where schools go out of their way to make families feel welcome and valued;• is a two-way exchange between families and schools; • is multi-dimensional – it may be formal or informal, and happen in different places (both in the school and in other sites such as community centres) Role of the family – they are primary educators and, as such have a lasting influence on their children’s attitudes and achievements at school.Participating - families’ time, energy and expertise can support learning and school programs in many ways.
  • Engagement is more than involvement
  • Conn, E. (2011). Community engagement in the social eco-system dance. Birmingham: Third Sector Research Centre. Available from
  • Schools engaging families & communities

    1. 1. Engaging families and the local community Graeme Stuart
    2. 2. Introductions  Name  School and role  Why you are here
    3. 3. Why engage families?
    4. 4. Outcomes for students  Improved school readiness  Higher retention and graduation rates  Enhanced cognitive development and academic achievement  Higher motivation and greater ability to self-regulate behaviour  Better social and relationship skills. (Jennings & Bosch, 2011)
    5. 5. Increasing emphasis in policy Australian governments commit to working with all school sectors to ensure that schools engage young Australians, parents, carers, families, other education and training providers, business and the broader community to support students’ progress through schooling, and to provide them with rich learning, personal development and citizenship opportunities. (Ministerial Council on Education, 2008)
    6. 6. Building strong communities Schools play an important role in  Providing resources  Providing leadership (e.g., Connected Communities)  Bringing communities together  Building social capital
    7. 7. What is family engagement? Family engagement is a shared responsibility of families, schools, and communities for student learning and achievement; it is continuous from birth to young adulthood; and it occurs across multiple settings where children learn (Weiss, Lopez & Rosenberg, 2010, p.3)
    8. 8. Key Dimensions of family-school partnerships 1. Communicating 2. Connecting learning at home & at school 3. Building community and identity 4. Recognising the role of the family 5. Consultative decision-making 6. Collaborating beyond the school 7. Participating. (DEEWR, 2008)
    9. 9. Family engagement  Systemic: purposefully designed as a core component of educational goals such as school readiness and student achievement  Integrated: embedded into structures and processes designed to meet these goals  Sustainable: adequate resources to ensure meaningful and effective strategies that have the power to impact student learning and achievement (Weiss, Lopez & Rosenberg, 2010, p.3)
    10. 10. Checklist to see if your school’s engagement with parents and the community is in good shape
    11. 11. Vertical community engagement
    12. 12. Horizontal community engagement
    13. 13. (Conn, 2011)
    14. 14. World Café
    15. 15. World café etiquette  Focus on what matters  Contribute your thinking  Listen with an open mind  Link and connect ideas  Listen together for insights and ideas  Write, doodle and draw  Have fun! (For more on World Café see )
    16. 16. World Café  Share some stories of successful parent or community engagement  What helped make them a success?  How were challenges address?
    17. 17. Read more  For more see my blog post Making parents feel welcome in schools /2013/04/05/welcoming-parents-in- schools/
    18. 18. Some useful resources  Schools First Awards  Partners for learning  Family-School & Community Partnerships Bureau  Strengthening family and community engagement in student learning resource (DEEWR, 2011)
    19. 19. Come study with us!!  Graduate Certificate or Masters in Educational Studies • Specialisation in engaging families and communities • Specialisation in educating boys  Master of Family Studies
    20. 20. Conn, E. (2011). Community engagement in the social eco-system dance. Birmingham: Third Sector Research Centre. Available from Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2008). Family-School Partnerships Framework: A guide for schools and families. Canberra: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Available from Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2011). Strengthening family and community engagement in student learning resource. Available from Jennings, K., & Bosch, C. (2011). Parent engagement in children's education. Western Creek, ACT: Family-School & Community Partnerships Bureau. Available from Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training & Youth Affairs (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Melbourne: Curriculum Corporation. Available from Weiss, H., Lopez, M. E., & Rosenberg, H. (2010). Beyond random acts: Family, school and community engagement as an integral part of education reform: National Policy Forum for Family, School and Community Engagement. Available from HFRP.pdf.
    21. 21. Graeme Stuart Family Action Centre Ph: 4921 7241 Family Action Centre webpage Personal blog