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Implementing Effective Family Engagement Strategies


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Have you or your colleagues grappled with the most effective ways to engage parents in the education of their students? Do you feel like your strategies have little impact? The primary goal of Families United in Educational Leadership (FUEL) is to involve families in the process of helping their student’s access higher education. This workshop will outline FUEL’s program model, explain the strategies used to engage families, and guide workshop participants through the process of determining how to most effectively reach families in their own communities. Through revealing the successes and challenges of implementing this program at nine schools and community organizations, workshop participants will leave this session with a set of steps to implement in their own contexts to encourage and incentivize family engagement.

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Implementing Effective Family Engagement Strategies

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  3. 3.  Present workshop objectives Warm-up to get us going! Overview of FUEL and our Program Model Building a Family Engagement Program – Implementing lessons into your own contextPartner Consultation & Sharing Best PracticesConclusions & Feedback
  4. 4. 1.) Share the key components of the FUEL Program2.) Identify effective and ineffective engagement strategies learned through the implementation of FUEL3.) Identify and plan to apply transferable family engagement techniques to programs at your own sites
  5. 5. If implementing aNEW program If improving an existing program If wondering if there is just an easier way to do this family engagement stuff…
  6. 6. Share the key components of the FUELProgram
  7. 7. FUEL believes that higher education is attainable for all, regardless of income, and that family is crucial to students’ educational achievement. Working with community partners, FUEL provides knowledge, resources,connections, and financial incentives that empower parents to propel their children into higher education.
  8. 8. “…students with involved parents, regardless of their family income or background, are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, enroll in higher level classes, attend school and pass their classes, develop better social skills, graduate from high school, attend college, and find productive work. The opposite is true for students whose parents are less engaged” Balfanz, Robert, Bridgeland, John M., Moore, Laura A., Fox, Joanna Hornig. Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic. Johns Hopkins University, America’s Promise Alliance. November 2010. p. 52“…the key to furthering students’ academic success is to “provide information to increase families’ knowledge of the college-going process.” Stoutland, Sara E., How Students are Making it: Perspectives on Getting through College from Recent Graduates of the Boston Public Schools, The Boston Foundation, June 2011.
  9. 9. FUELParents Community Partner
  10. 10. Types of Partnership Charter schools 16% After-school programs Public 48% school systems 36%66% of partners work with exclusively high school-aged students
  11. 11. 9 Sites in Boston, Lynn & Chelsea, MassachusettsMassachusetts Map Image taken from:
  12. 12. Our Families Family Demographics Household Income Caucasian Multi- Other 3% Racial 5% 3%Asian 7% More than $50,000 25% $30,000 or under Hispanic 44% African- American 54% $30,000 to 28% $50,000 31% 73% of FUEL parents report having earned less than a bachelors degree.
  13. 13. Open Savings Account and make monthly deposits to receive match! EncourageAttend at least 6 child’s Savings Circle participation inWorkshops per after-school year program A Successful FUEL Parent
  14. 14. Identify effective and ineffectiveengagement strategies learned through theimplementation of FUEL
  15. 15. • Immigrant community • 82% first language not English • 89% of students on free/reduced lunch • 55% high school Image taken from: graduation rate Partnered with: Chelsea Education FoundationChelsea Data taken from - Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Massachusetts School and District Profiles, Chelsea High 2009-2010. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Massachusetts School and District Profiles, Chelsea High 2009-2010. Cohort 2010 GraduationRates.
  16. 16. In the beginning…• Model: High School-wide• Start Date: January 2010• Enrolled: 70 families• Staff: 1 part time staff person• Program components: – Savings Goal: $1500 with match – Attendance Requirement: 6 meetings per year• Workshop content/facilitation: Community-driven• Workshop Location: various Chelsea meeting spaces
  17. 17. Alignment with mission/ Goal #1 beliefs Improve Savings Circle Workshop Attendance Goal #2Improve Savings Rates
  18. 18. • First morning Savings Circle • Implementation of Alert Now call systemApril 2011 • Closed at least 30 zero balance accountsMay 2011 • First hot mealsAug. 2011 • Full time staff member • Implement FUEL Family Statement • Regular meeting time: 2nd Thursday each monthSept. 2011 • Raffles and scholarships to incentivize attendance • Decrease of saving rate & update family contact info • FUEL Compacts announcedNov. 2011 • Implement FUEL Savings Circle curriculum • Bilingual sessions start & consistent meeting locationDec. 2011 • Winter Giveaway
  19. 19. 90% 80% 80 70% % 73% 60% Percentage of families on track 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 11/1/2010- 4/1/2011- 11/1/2011- 3/31/2011 (140 10/31/2011 (167 3/31/2012 (113 familes) families) families)milies saving on Percentage of families 67% 50% 73% saving on track kmilies attending on Percentage of families 44% 23% 80% attending on trackack
  20. 20. Structures Consistent Meeting Location Two Meeting Time Options Consistent Meeting Times/Dates Use of 24 session curriculum (planned in advance) Consistent Facilitator Bilingual Facilitation Full Time Staff Member Hot meals for parents and family members
  21. 21. SystemsNon-Monetary  Auto-call system with personalized message  Monthly Newsletters  Efforts to Outcomes Data Tracking Methods  Development of Family Statement  Sticking to the Contract  Create opportunities to learn from familiesMonetary  Attendance Incentives  Good Standing Incentives  FUEL Compacts  Lower Saving Rates
  22. 22. Link student experiences to parent workshops Use multiple communication Offer more channels to reachmeetings than familiesfamilies must attend Offer brainstorming and collaborative sessions to highlight existing knowledge
  23. 23. Pair up with someone from a different organization than the one you are fromStep 1 – Partner 1, present your preliminary planStep 2 – Partner 2, ask clarifying questions • What is clear? What remains unclear/undefined? • Avoid comments at this point, questions only!Step 3 – Partner 2, provide Partner 1 with ideas • How can they implement new structures/systems to support their existing programming? • If the program is new, is it aligned with mission and family engagement goals?Step 4 – Open Discussion between partners • Next Steps for Partner 1?
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