Family & Community Engagement


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Family and community engagement consists of reciprocal interactions between schools, families, and the community, working together to create networks of shared responsibility for student success. At community schools, community and family engagement creates shared accountability and a more participatory decision-making process. This content area explores how families and communities are mobilized around community schools, how family and community engagement operates at school sites, and challenges and promising practices for family and community engagement.

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Family & Community Engagement

  1. 1. A RESOURCE GUIDE FORUNDERSTANDING COMMUNITY SCHOOLS Family and Community Engagement October 2012 Prepared by: Iris Hemmerich Urban Strategies Council
  2. 2. Family and Community EngagementTable of ContentsA Resource Guide for Understanding Community Schools .......................................................................... 2 Updating the Resource Guide ................................................................................................................... 4 Additional Community School Resources ................................................................................................. 4Our Community School work with Oakland Unified School District ............................................................. 5Family & Community Engagement: Literature Review ................................................................................. 6 Introduction .............................................................................................................................................. 6 Review ....................................................................................................................................................... 6 1. Mobilizing Families and Community Members around Community Schools ................................ 6 2. Family and Community Engagement Operating at the Site-Level ................................................ 7 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................. 8 1. Challenges ..................................................................................................................................... 8 2. Promising Practices ....................................................................................................................... 8 3. Concluding Remarks ...................................................................................................................... 9Family & Community Engagement: Annotated Bibliography ..................................................................... 10 1. Family and Youth Engagement Strategies ...................................................................................... 10 2. Broad Community, Family, and School Engagement Strategies ..................................................... 15 1 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  3. 3. A Resource Guide for Understanding Community SchoolsINTRODUCTIONUrban Strategies Council has collected and reviewed more than 175 evaluations, case studies,briefs and reports for use by those considering or planning a community school or communityschool district. Our intention is to provide interested individuals and stakeholders theresources they need to better understand the unique structure and core components ofcommunity schools. The promising practices, recommendations, tools and information sharedin this document have been culled from documents representing the last 20 years of researchand documentation of community schools across the United States.We highlighted 11 content areas that we believe to be the most foundational for understandingcommunity schools. Within each of the content areas, you will find: 1. A literature review: The literature reviews for each content area are organized around core questions and provide a synthesis of the most commonly identified solutions and responses to each question, as well as highlights, promising practices, challenges and recommendations. 2. An annotated bibliography: We gathered and annotated literature in each of the content areas to underscore key themes, some of which include: best practices, exemplary sites, models and tools. The annotations vary by content area in order to draw attention to the most pertinent information. For example, the Evaluations content area includes annotations of the evaluation methodology and indicators of success.The 11 content areas include the following: 1. Community School Characteristics Provides a general overview of the structure, function, core elements, programs and services of a community school. 2. Planning and Design Explores the general planning and design structures for community schools, and discusses the initial steps and central components of the planning and design process, as well as strategies for scaling up community schools. 3. Equity Frameworks and Tools Examines literature and tools that can be adapted to an equity framework for community schools. We included equity frameworks and tools that explore disproportionality and the monitoring of disparities and demographic shifts. 2 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  4. 4. 4. Collaborative Leadership Addresses how to build, strengthen and expand the collaborative leadership structure at community schools. Collaborative leadership is a unique governance structure that brings together community partners and stakeholders to coordinate a range of services and opportunities for youth, families and the community.5. Family and Community Engagement Explores how community and family engagement operates as well as the challenges for actualizing it at the site level. Family and community engagement is a unique component of community schools in which the school, families, and community actively work together to create networks of shared responsibility for student success.6. Data Collection and Analysis Addresses the outcomes measured at community schools, methods for collecting data at community schools, and short and long term indicators.7. Assessment Tools Includes tools used to measure outcomes at community schools.8. Community School Evaluations Provides evaluations of community school initiatives with special attention paid to methodology, indicators of success, findings and challenges.9. Community School Funding Explores how to leverage revenue streams and allocate resources at community schools.10. Budget Tools Includes tools that support the process of budgeting and fiscal mapping.11. Community School Sustainability Explores promising practices for creating sustainability plans, partnership development and leveraging resources for the future. 3 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  5. 5. UPDATING THE RESOURCE GUIDEUrban Strategies Council will continue its efforts to update the Resource Guide with the mostcurrent information as it becomes available. If you know of topics or resources that are notcurrently included in this guide, please contact Alison Feldman, Education Excellence Program,at We welcome your ideas and feedback for A Resource Guide forUnderstanding Community Schools.ADDITIONAL COMMUNITY SCHOOL RESOURCESNational:The Coalition for Community Schools National Center for Community Schools (Children’s Aid Society) University Center in Child Development and Social Policy Center for Community School Partnerships, UC Davis for Strategic Community Innovation’ 4 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  6. 6. Our Community School work with Oakland Unified School DistrictUrban Strategies Council has a long history of working with the Oakland Unified School District(OUSD) to support planning for improved academic achievement. Most recently, we helpeddevelop and support the implementation of OUSD’s five-year strategic plan, CommunitySchools, Thriving Students. Adopted by the Board of Education in June 2011, the plan calls forbuilding community schools across the district that ensure high-quality instruction; developsocial, emotional and physical health; and create equitable opportunities for learning. UrbanStrategies Council has worked with the school district, community members and otherstakeholders to support this system reform in several ways: Community Schools Strategic Planning: Urban Strategies Council facilitated six School Board retreats over a 14-month period to help develop the strategic plan. As part of that process, the District created 14 task forces to produce recommendations for the plan, with Urban Strategies Council facilitating one task force and sitting on several others. Full Service Community Schools Task Force: Urban Strategies Council convened and co- facilitated the Full Service Community Schools and District Task Force, which created a structural framework and tools for planning and implementation, and produced a report with a set of recommendations that formed the foundation of the strategic plan. Community Engagement in Planning: Urban Strategies Council partnered with the district to educate and engage more than 900 school and community stakeholders on how community schools could best serve them. Planning for Community Schools Leadership Council: Urban Strategies Council has been working with OUSD’s Department of Family, School and Community Partnerships to lay the groundwork for building an interagency, cross-sector partnership body that will provide high-level system oversight and support, and ensure shared responsibility and coordination of resources towards the vision of healthy, thriving children supported through community schools. Convening Workgroups: Urban Strategies Council continues to partner with the District to convene and facilitate several workgroups developing specific structures, processes, and practices supporting community school implementation, as well as informing the eventual work of the Community Schools Leadership Council. African American Male Achievement Initiative: Urban Strategies Council is a partner in OUSD’s African American Male Achievement Initiative (AAMAI), a collaboration supporting efforts to close the achievement gap and improve other key outcomes for African American males in OUSD. Urban Strategies Council has developed data-based research; explored promising practices, programs and policies inside and outside the school district; analyzed the impact of existing system-wide policies; and developed policy recommendations to improve outcomes in various areas identified by the AAMAI Task Force. Boys and Men of Color: Urban Strategies Council is the Regional Convener for the Oakland Boys and Men of Color site, which adopted community schools as a vehicle to improve health, education and employment outcomes for boys and men of color. 5 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  7. 7. Family & Community Engagement: Literature ReviewIntroductionFamily and community engagement has been identified as a fundamental social innovation thatcan be leveraged to improve student learning1. It is also being employed as part of thecommunity school strategy to improve student learning while building stronger families andhealthier communities. In community schools, family and community engagement consists ofreciprocal interactions in which the school, families, and the community actively work togetherto create networks of shared responsibility for student success2. We used three centralresearch questions to guide the literature review of community and family engagement: 1. How are families and community members mobilized around community schools? 2. How does family and community engagement operate at the site level? 3. What are the challenges of engaging families and the community?Published research on family and community engagement from 1994 to 2011 has beenincluded as part of this literature review. The research varies widely in its scope and depth ofstrategies, tools and examples around family and community engagement. While there is someexisting research on the importance of communication and accountability, what seems to belacking in research and scholarship is a focus on how to operationalize accountability betweenthe school and community.Review 1. Mobilizing Families and Community Members around Community SchoolsThe bulk of research suggests that in order to mobilize families and community membersaround community schools, the school must first establish a communications plan. This initialplan should address who needs to be informed, how frequently, the type of information theywill need to know and who is responsible for various communications tasks. A crucial part ofinitiating a communication plan is to research the appropriate communication venues andoutlets (i.e. language and cultural venues) and invite families and community members toparticipate in focus groups, surveys and the design of the plan. The literature suggests that their1 National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group. “Taking Leadership, Innovating Change:Profiles in Family, School, and Community Engagement.” National Family, School, and Community EngagementWorking Group, March 2010. Web. 20 March 2012.<>.2 Berg, Amy C., Atelia Melaville, and Martin J. Blank. “Community and Family Engagement: Principals Share WhatWorks.” Coalition for Community Schools, October 2006. Web. 19 December 2011.<>. 6 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  8. 8. input creates broad ownership of the school’s vision and objectives and subsequently keepsthem more engaged in the effort3.Another frequently discussed method for mobilizing and engaging the community is involvingthe use of data. The use of shared data helps demonstrate the impact of the school’s effortsand makes the case for why families and communities should stay engaged and how they canhelp. More specifically, sharing student data with parents was underscored in many literaturepieces as an effective way to keep parents engaged in their student’s learning. 2. Family and Community Engagement Operating at the Site LevelAt the site level, profiles of effective family and community engagement efforts shared similaroperational elements. Effective partnerships were generally those that created mutualaccountability through a participatory decision-making process that was inclusive of allstakeholders, although the steps for this process were not detailed. The creation of a logicmodel defining goals, identifying and specifying roles, desired outcomes, and determiningmeasures to track progress appeared to be a core foundational component. Qualitativeworksheets consisting of targeted questions were the most commonly used tool to assessfamily and community engagement efforts.The literature suggests that in order to build healthy adult-youth partnerships, adults and youthshould be involved in the joint creation of ground rules, goals, roles and a plan for mutualaccountability. In many cases, students were given the opportunity to actively participate indecision-making processes. If youth did not possess the practical skills or backgroundknowledge needed to be active participants, they were often given scaffolded opportunitiesand paired with mentors or adults to help them4.Professional development trainings were underscored as one of the most importantoperational elements of family and community engagement. In many profiles and case studies,adults and staff members underwent professional development trainings around topics such ascultural competency and mutual respect in order to build trusting relationships with students.Adults also formed peer support networks and often participated in collective reflection.3 National Association of Elementary School Principals. “Principals in the Public: Engaging Community Support”.National Association of Elementary School Principals, 2000. Web. 23 February 2012.<>.4 U.S. Department of Education. “Strong Families, Strong Schools: Building Community Partnerships for Learning.”U.S. Department of Education, September 1994. Web. 19 December 2011.<>. 7 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  9. 9. Conclusion 1. ChallengesThe barriers inhibiting family and community engagement in education seem to be variablessuch as time, parent uncertainty about their role, prior negative experiences, lack of asupportive environment and cultural barriers. Schools can use research along with thecommunity needs assessment to determine the best ways to address these barriers, but thesolutions must be contextualized. In some profiles, schools provided services and heldengagements at hours and locations that were more supportive for families. These factors needto be considered when creating an initial communications plan. 2. Promising PracticesThe use of a logic model to specify roles, desired outcomes, and determine measures to trackprogress was identified as a promising practice5. In terms of communication, the followingpromising practices were identified by the U.S. Department of Education: (1) establish a liaisonfor each population; (2) frequently communicate small accomplishments for good publicrelations; (3) expand opportunities for contact, meetings and activities; (4) get rid of jargon toclarify communication; (5) address language barriers with interpreters, translated materials,and bilingual staff; (6) reduce cultural barriers through parent resource centers, home visits,and workshops; and (7) utilize new technology to communicate and track engagement6.Professional development training for school staff and community members aroundinterpersonal skills, cultural competency, and other topics supporting community engagementwas frequently identified as a promising practice. Furthermore, providing on-going training inparenting and early childhood, literacy, career training and other helpful programs wasidentified as a promising practice to encourage engagement. Another promising practice wasinitiating peer support and youth-adult mentoring programs to increase communityengagement7.Parent access to student data was also identified as a catalyst for meaningful familyengagement in school. Involving parents in the design-process to ensure the data is user-5 Westmoreland, Helen, M. Elena Lopez and Heidi Rosenberg. “How to Develop a Logic Model for DistrictwideFamily Engagement Strategies.” Harvard Family Research Project, November 2009. Web. 20 March 2012.<>.6 U.S. Department of Education. “Strong Families, Strong Schools: Building Community Partnerships for Learning.”U.S. Department of Education, September 1994. Web. 19 December 2011.<>.7 Berg, Amy C., Atelia Melaville, and Martin J. Blank. “Community and Family Engagement: Principals Share WhatWorks.” Coalition for Community Schools, October 2006. Web. 19 December 2011.<>. 8 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  10. 10. friendly, customizing outreach to promote parent awareness and access, and supportingparents to use technology effectively were identified as promising practices to engage parents8. 3. Concluding RemarksCommunity and family engagement can help create shared accountability among students,school staff, families and the community at large. Emphasized practices, such as developing aculturally and linguistically appropriate communications plan, sharing out data and collectivelydeveloping a family and community engagement logic model, are all centered on mutualresponsibility and shared ownership. If fully developed as a program area at communityschools, family and community engagement has the potential to not only improve outcomes forstudents, but to shift the power dynamic within schools and the community to one that is moreparticipatory and democratic.8 Polakow-Suransky, Shael. “ARIS Parent Link: Five Lessons in Linking Families to Student Data Systems.” FINENewsletter, Volume II, Issue 3, Issue Topic: Using Student Data to Engage Families, October 2010. 20 March 2012.<>. 9 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  11. 11. Family & Community Engagement: Annotated Bibliography 1. Family and Youth Engagement StrategiesHow to Develop a Logic Model for District-wide Family Engagement StrategiesWestmoreland, Helen, M. Elena Lopez and Heidi Rosenberg. Harvard Family Research Project,November 2009. Web. 20 March 2012.<>.The guide maps out the process of developing a logic model for district-wide familyengagement efforts. It is designed to help the reader understand how family engagementefforts lead to better learning outcomes for children and youth. The tool is intended forprogram planning, implementation, and evaluation to communicate accomplishments andidentify areas that need improvement. Five steps are identified as essential to developing afamily engagement logic model and include: 1. Define the goals that will shape your strategy; 2. Identify your district’s inputs; 3. Specify which activities your district will implement; 4. Define the desired outcomes of your district’s activities; and 5. Select performance measures to track progress.Furthermore, it offers a sample logic model based on promising practices along with lessonslearned from family engagement research and evaluation studies. Best practices: See five steps above Models: Sample Logic Model for a District-wide Family Engagement Strategy (pg. 9)Seeing is Believing: Promising Practices for How School Districts Promote Family EngagementWestmoreland, Helen, Heidi M. Rosenberg, M. Elena Lopez and Heather Weiss. Harvard FamilyResearch Project and PTA, July 2009. Web. 19 July 2012.<>.The brief explores how school districts build systemic family engagement from cradle to careeras a core education reform strategy to ensure student success. It discusses promising practices,policy implications, provides school district profiles and identifies core district-levelcomponents necessary for systemic family engagement. The core district-level componentsinclude: 1. Fostering district-wide strategies; 10 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  12. 12. 2. Building school capacity; and 3. Reaching out to and engaging families. Promising practices: 1. a shared vision of family engagement 2. Purposeful connections to learning 3. Investments in high quality programming and staff 4. Robust communication systems 5. Evaluation for accountability and continuous learning Exemplary sites: 1. Federal Way Public Schools, WA 2. Prince George’s County Public Schools, MD 3. Wichita Public Schools, KA 4. Boston Public Schools, MA 5. Oakland Unified School District, CA 6. St. Paul Public Schools, MNThe Family Engagement for High School Success Toolkit: Planning and implementing aninitiative to support the pathway to graduation for at-risk studentsUnited Way Worldwide, Harvard Family Research Project, November 2011. Web. 23 March2012.<>.The toolkit highlights the lessons learned from a planning process that tasked 15 local UnitedWay pilot sites with bringing together schools, community organizations, families and otherstakeholders to develop a comprehensive family engagement initiative. The pilot sites adoptedoutcome-focused approaches with the aim of designing family engagement strategies toremove obstacles to engagement and build stronger connections between families and schools.All of the principles contained in the toolkit are applicable to a wide array of K–12 familyengagement initiatives, but the toolkit is based on an initiative focused on improving academicoutcomes for students at high risk of not graduating from high school.By using the toolkit, nonprofits, schools and other community organizations will be able to: (1)identify how to spot ninth graders who are at risk of dropping out, considering factors such asattendance, behavior, and academic performance; (2) enlist and enroll the right partners andwork creatively to reach parents of at-risk kids; and (3) work with parents, schools, and partnersto apply research-based strategies and promising practices to get at-risk students back on trackto graduate from high school. Best practices: Planning a Family Engagement to High School Success Initiative 1. Base decisions on facts 11 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  13. 13. 2. Engage the right people for the purpose at hand 3. Be specific about desired outcomes 4. Uncover underlying issues 5. Aim for lasting community change 6. Measure, learn, improve, communicate Exemplary sites: 1. United Way and Education Alliance of Washoe County, Reno, NV 2. United Way of Lake County, Gurnee, IL 3. United Way of the Bay Area, San Francisco, CA 4. United Way of York County, York, PA 5. United Way of North Central Florida, Gainesville, FL Tools: 1. Appendix B: Checklists for Planning and Implementing Family Engagement Initiatives (pgs. 78-81) 2. Appendix C: Tables and Workbooks (pgs. 82-105) 3. Appendix D: Developing a Logic Model (pgs. 106-109)Strong Families, Strong Schools: Building Community Partnerships for LearningU.S. Department of Education. U.S. Department of Education, September 1994. Web. 19December 2011.<>.The report begins by describing the factors inhibiting parental involvement in education, whichinclude: (1) time; (2) uncertainty about what to do and their own importance; (3) culturalbarriers; and (4) lack of a supportive environment. Moreover, the report addresses how schoolsand families can develop partnerships and how local communities can connect with familiesand schools. Recommendations for family engagement to improve student learning in schoolinclude: 1. Expanding opportunities for contact using evening and weekend hours for meetings and activities; 2. Providing teachers with a telephone in the classroom; 3. Getting rid of jargon to clarify communication ; 4. Making the school grounds and environment more friendly-including student-parent- teacher days throughout the year; 5. Addressing language barriers with interpreters, translated materials, and bilingual staff; 6. Reducing mistrust and cultural barriers through parent resource centers, home visits, and workshops; 7. Encouraging family learning in homework assignments; 8. Encouraging parental input in school decisions; and 9. Utilizing new technology to communicate. 12 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  14. 14. Additionally, schools can connect with communities and families by: 1. Providing training in parenting and early childhood, literacy and career training, referrals for services and other helpful programs; 2. Providing youth-adult mentoring programs; 3. Enlisting community volunteers, including retired and older citizens; and 4. Making health, library and other cultural services easily accessible to the schools neighborhood.Legislation and federal programs to support family involvement are also discussed. Best practices: See 13 recommendations aboveYouth Engagement in Out-of-School Time ProgramsSchools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Service System. Department of County Human Services,Multnomah County, Oregon, 2011. Web. 19 December 2011.<>.The worksheets provide guidance for youth engagement in out-of-school time (OST) programsand youth-adult partnership strategies. Central youth-adult partnership strategies include: 1. Clarify Expectations, Goals & Roles; 2. Provide Adequate Resources, Training & Support; and 3. Cultivate a Program Culture of Partnership. Best practices: See three strategies above (detailed on pg. 3) Tools: Sample template for engaging youth in OST programs (pg. 2)ARIS Parent Link: Five Lessons in Linking Families to Student Data SystemsPolakow-Suransky, Shael. FINE Newsletter, Volume II, Issue 3, Issue Topic: Using Student Datato Engage Families, October 2010. 20 March 2012.<>.ARIS Parent Link connects parents to New York City’s Achievement Reporting and InnovationSystem (ARIS), a secure online platform where educators can access and explore importantinformation about student learning. By using ARIS Parent Link, parents have access to the samestudent data as teachers and school leaders. The longitudinal data system empowers parents tomonitor their children’s learning and engage in more informed conversations with teachers.Allowing parents access to student data is identified as a catalyst and foundation for meaningful 13 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  15. 15. family involvement in school and helps parents use the information to advocate for their child. The following lessons were identified from New York City’s experience with ARIS: 1. Involve parents in the design process to ensure the data is user-friendly; 2. Customize outreach to promote parent awareness and access; 3. Support parents to use technology effectively; 4. Track usage to measure impact; and 5. Keep improving the system. Best practices: See five lessons aboveData Collection Instruments for Evaluating Family InvolvementWestmoreland, Helen, Suzanne Bouffard, Kelley O’Carroll and Heidi Rosenberg. Harvard FamilyResearch Project, May 2009. Web. 20 March 2012.<>.The instrument guide serves as a resource to help practitioners and researchers collect and usedata for continuous improvement in the field of family involvement. It provides stakeholderswith commonly used and standardized data collection instruments on family involvement andhelps them choose which instruments they need to assess impact and quality. By providing aninventory of instruments, program and policy leaders can examine which measures are mostappropriate for their work and how to adapt or develop tools to assess it. Tools: See Family Involvement Instruments with School Staff as Respondents (pgs. 6-16) Connecting Families and Schools Assessment Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Service System. Department of County Human Services, Multnomah County, Oregon, 2011. Web. 19 December 2011. < ssessment.pdf>. The SUN assessment tool is intended to be used as an evaluative measure, a guide to improving family involvement, and a tool to promote discussion among staff members that are working with culturally and linguistically diverse students. It is intended for families whose home language is not English, as they face larger obstacles than most in order to become involved in their child’s education. The tool is based on researched best practices on the importance of family involvement for students who do not speak English at home. It includes worksheets for improving family involvement and partnership in education. Tools: Worksheets on: 1. Preconditions for Family Involvement: School Staff and School Environment 14 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  16. 16. 2. Familiarizing Families with the System: How Do Schools Work? 3. Families as Partners: Involving Families in Student Learning 4. Parents as Leaders in Education: Developing Leadership Skills in Family Members 2. Broad Community, Family, and School Engagement StrategiesCommunity and Family Engagement: Principals Share What WorksBerg, Amy C., Atelia Melaville, and Martin J. Blank. Coalition for Community Schools, October2006. Web. 19 December 2011.<>.The report uses the experiences of principals to inform best practices and strategies forcommunity engagement. Six key strategies for community engagement were highlighted andinclude: 1. Know Where You’re Going; 2. Share Leadership; 3. Reach out; 4. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room; 5. Tell your school’s story; and 6. Stay on course.Part II explores how these six key strategies relate to engaging families, school staff, partners,and the broader public. The postscript discusses ways higher education institutions can providetraining for principals who want to do this work. It also addresses the role that the central officeplays in community engagement. Best practices: See six strategies above and the following suggested practices: 1. Provide training in interpersonal skills 2. Provide training in culturally competent leadership 3. Provide training about community, collaborative strategies, and community engagement 4. Provide policy flexibility 5. Provide professional development opportunities that support community engagement 6. Encourage peer-to-peer support and mentoring Models: Figure 1: Using The Six Keys To Engage Stakeholders (ES-5) 15 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  17. 17. Developing Effective Partnerships to Support Local EducationSchool Communities that Work. Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University,June 2002. Web. 19 December 2011.<>.The article focuses on new ways of thinking about district-community partnerships andprovides design principles for building effective partnerships as well as operating principles forsustaining effective partnerships. New ways of thinking about district-community partnershipsare identified as: 1. Assessing and aligning their services to promote not only results, but equity as well; and 2. Considering all their current activities and future plans from a youth engagement and development perspective.Additionally, the nine design principles for building effective partnerships include: 1. Effective partnerships have champions; 2. Effective partnerships begin with the ends in mind; 3. Effective partnerships build civic capacity; 4. Effective partnerships distribute accountability among partners; 5. Effective partnerships make good use of data; 6. Effective partnerships are honest about partners’ individual needs and resources; 7. Effective partnerships seek out and listen to students; 8. Effective partnerships seek out meaningful relationships with parents; and 9. Effective partnerships pool resources.Furthermore, the operating principles for sustaining community partnerships are: 1. Partners reach out to new members; 2. Partners develop long-term structural and institutional supports; and 3. Partners are realistic about progress and celebrate “small wins.” Best practices: See 12 elements above (nine design principles and three operating principles)Principals in the Public: Engaging Community SupportNational Association of Elementary School Principals. National Association of Elementary SchoolPrincipals, 2000. Web. 23 February 2012.<>.The guide is intended to help public school principals refine their approaches tocommunication, marketing, public affairs and public relations. It provides instructions forprincipals on how to look at public support and on how to clearly understand their school’s 16 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  18. 18. perception by the public. Furthermore, it provides instructions on how to create and implementa communication plan, communicate with and engage parents, school staff and particularaudiences. Practical tips on specific issues such as creating a press release or designing aneffective welcome packet are provided. The guide also outlines strategies for special projectsand practical ways to involve people in the school. Additional resources to help principalsenhance their school’s image are provided in the final section of the guide. Best practices: See “Ideas That Work” (pgs. 205-221) Tools: See “Effective Communication: Tools & Techniques” (pg.61-131)The Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework: Promoting FamilyEngagement and School Readiness, From Prenatal to Age 8 Office of Head Start. Office of Head Start, August 2011. Web. 20 March 2012.<>.The Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework is a research-based approach thatshows leaders across systems and service areas how to work together to promote parent andfamily engagement alongside children’s learning and development from pre-k to age eight. Models: 1. Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework (pg. 1) 2. Head Start Parent and Family Engagement Outcomes (pg. 5) 3. Family Well-Being (pg. 7) 4. Positive Parent-Child Relationships (pg. 8) 5. Families as Life-Long Educators (pg. 10) 6. Families as Learners (pg. 11) 7. Family Engagement in Transition (pg. 13) 8. Family Connections to Peers and Community (pg. 14) 9. Families as Advocates and Leaders (pg. 16)Using the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework in yourProgram: Markers of SuccessOffice of Head Start and the National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement.Web. 20 March 2012.<>.The comprehensive guide details how to build a parent, family, community engagement (PFCE)assessment team, how to use the Head Start PFCE assessment tool and how to create a PFCEaction plan. The guide also offers ideas for innovative ways to enhance efforts through bestpractices informed by the input of hundreds of program directors and staff, training andtechnical assistance specialists, regional office staff and Head Start leadership. Effective parent,family and community engagement are identified as: 17 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  19. 19. 1. Shaped by families, programs, and communities working together to co-construct opportunities for engagement that are most appropriate for families in their community; 2. Built upon a foundation of mutual respect and trust among families and staff; 3. Individualized for each family and developed over time to deepen and broaden their engagement in the program and the early learning of their children; 4. Focused on the strengths of children and families and built on those strengths to create a growth-oriented path toward enhanced family well-being and optimal educational outcomes for children; 5. Based upon a strong understanding of how children’s behavior and development present predictable challenges to family functioning as well as to family-program relationships; 6. Shaped by genuine respect for the culture and linguistic diversity of the families enrolled and the importance of actively valuing and incorporating the richness of this diversity into the program’s institutional culture, physical surroundings, learning environment, and social interactions between and among children, families, and staff; 7. Supportive of children and families with disabilities so that they can fully participate in the program and benefit from family and community engagement opportunities; 8. Aware and respectful of families as capable, competent partners in their children’s development even when they are struggling with adversity; and 9. Achieved through effective leadership and management, ongoing training, support and self-reflection of program staff, an established protocol that reflects a commitment to engagement, as well as organizational culture that prioritizes families. Best practices: See nine principles above Models: Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework (pg. 6) Tools: 1. Assessment Grid Key (pg. 23) 2. Starting Point, Progressing and Innovating Standards Self-Assessment Tools (pgs. 30- 67) 3. Sample Template of PFCE Action Plan (pgs. 73-78)Handbook on Family and Community EngagementRedding, Sam, Marilyn Murphy and Pam Sheley. Academic Development Institute, 2011. Web.20 March 2012.<>.The handbook explores the definition of family and community engagement informed byscholars and practitioners. It also explores the components of a theory of change for the familyand community engagement field, the home and community outcomes which need to beaddressed in family and community engagement efforts, and how to implement family andcommunity engagement at school. Additionally, promising practices and strategies are 18 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  20. 20. discussed in depth alongside individual student stories. There are 11 strategies for effectivefamily and community engagement and they include: 1. Importance of a federal role; 2. Collective action and organizing by families with a shared vision toward demanding quality education for all children; 3. Promoting school capacity building and redesign of the “factory model school”; 4. Local parent information and resource centers; 5. Promoting school turnaround over parental choice; 6. Strengthening of the school–parent compacts; 7. Fully prepared school staff in working with parents; 8. Ongoing personal communication; 9. Home learning to build a culture of learning; 10. Community coordination and support; and 11. Research for program improvement.A comprehensive checklist of best practices is provided at the end of the document. Best practices: See 11 strategies above and “Checklist of Suggested Practices” (pgs. 165- 178) Models: 1. Figure 1: A Collaborative Leadership Structure for Community Schools (pg. 50) 2. Figure 2: A Process for Building a 6-Stage Scaled-up System (pg. 51) 3. Figure 3: Building a Scaled-up System (pg. 52) 4. Figure 4: Community Schools Results and Indicators (pg. 53) 5. Appendix 16.1: Logic Model for a Parents as Teachers Early Childhood System (pg. 140) Tools: 1. Appendix 3.1: An example of online tools to help parents understand their child’s assessments and ask teachers questions to support a child’s progress (pg. 27) 2. Appendix 3.2: An example of disaggregated data used in training parent leaders (pg. 28)Taking Leadership, Innovating Change: Profiles in Family, School, and CommunityEngagementNational Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group. National Family, School,and Community Engagement Working Group, March 2010. Web. 20 March 2012.<>.The National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group have compiled 12profiles of leading innovations in family involvement for student learning. Profiles of the 12family-school approaches are provided and are intended to engage policymakers and 19 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  21. 21. practitioners in a “design thinking” process. Each initiative’s outcomes, evidence, learning,sustainability and scalability are detailed in the report. The purpose of the National Family,School, and Community Engagement Working Group is to inform educational policy on familyengagement and improve educational opportunities for children from cradle to career. Exemplary sites: 1. Families and Schools Working Together 2. Math and Parent Partners 3. Parent Institute for Quality Education 4. Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership, KT 5. Grow Your Own Teachers, IL 6. New Visions for Public Schools, New York, NY 7. Parent Teacher Home Visiting Program, Sacramento, CA 8. Parent Information & Resource Center (PIRC), IA 9. Tellin’ Stories, Washington D.C. 10. The Parent Academy, Miami, FL 11. Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, Los Angeles, CA 12. Project Eagle, Kansas City, MO 20 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012