Family Engagement Defined
NAFSCE endorses the family engagement definition developed in 2010 by the National Family, School and Community Engagement Working Group (now the NAFSCE Policy Council).
- Family engagement is a shared responsibility in which schools and other community agencies and organizations are committed to reaching out to engage families in meaningful ways and in which families are committed to actively supporting their children's learning and development.
- Family engagement is continuous across a child’s life and entails enduring commitment but changing parent roles as children mature into young adulthood.
- Effective family engagement cuts across and reinforces learning in the multiple settings where children learn- at home, in prekindergarten programs, in school, in after school programs, in faith-based institutions, and in the community.
What do we mean by High-Impact Family Engagement?
High-impact family and community engagement is collaborative, culturally competent, and focused on improving children’s learning.
Some examples of high-impact strategies are:
- Building personal relationships, respect, and mutual understanding with families through home visits, community walks, and class meetings.
- Sharing data with families about student skill levels.
- Modeling effective teaching practices so families can use them at home.
- Listening to families about their children’s interests and challenges, then using this information to differentiate instruction.
- Incorporating content from families’ home cultures into classroom lessons.
- Aligning family engagement activities with school improvement goals.
Practices like these are even more effective when combined. Contrast these with traditional events and activities for families, which research finds have small effects on student achievement.