A new toolkit from Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Pacific is designed to help schools and district improve their outreach to families and community members. The four-part toolkit provides activities that guide school staff in examining the role that culture plays in their interactions with students’ families and community members.

The Toolkit of Resources for Engaging Families and the Community as Partners in Education can help school staff build relationships that support family well-being, build strong parent-child relationships, and improve students’ ongoing learning and development. The toolkit is divided into four parts, each including a series of activities that can be used with family and community members as well as other diverse cross-stakeholder groups. The activities involve reading, writing, discussions, and creative exercises using graphics, scenarios, worksheets, and planning templates.

Part 1: Building an understanding of family and community engagement guides school staff in building awareness of how their beliefs and assumptions influence their interactions with families and the community. It will also help users understand how knowledge about the demographic characteristics of families in their schools can inform staff about what might support or hinder family engagement with schools;

Part 2: Building a cultural bridge taps into the strengths of families and community members and helps families establish active roles in the school community in support of student learning;

Part 3: Building trusting relationships with families and the community through effective communication shows how cross-cultural and two-way communication enhances family and community engagement; and

Part 4: Engaging all in data conversations helps school staff learn which student data are important to share with families and community members and how to share such data in a meaningful way.

Find the guides at: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/projects/project.asp?projectID=4509

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Published by JaDonnia B.

An education and counseling professional, I focus my expertise on diversity, inclusion and family engagement/empowerment Of particular importance is the partnership between parents and the community schools that serve their children. Highlighting strategies, tips and evidence-based best practices for family engagement, my aim is to alter mindsets, broaden perspectives, foster empathy, and build capacity. Offering 'food for thought' and inviting discussion, I also tell truths rarely explored. A holistic culturally-responsive approach to teaching, learning and engaging others begins with respect. I promote respect and fully integrating curricular diversity in formal learning settings! Collaboration with families is necessary, because parents hold the master key that unlocks doors to child health and wellness, academic achievement, and believe it or not, teacher excellence and stronger school communities.

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