Three Prerequisites for Effective Family Engagement

Over the past twenty years, I’ve had the privilege to work with educators, policy members, researchers, families, and community members to explore the benefits of and the strategies to ensure strong partnerships between families, schools and communities to support student achievement and school improvement.

Surveys of teachers show they overwhelmingly agree that family support and engagement are critical to children’s success in school, yet many are still desperate for resources and training to build effective partnerships with families. That’s why I’ve spent the last eight months working with Scholastic to create a three-part family engagement workshop series for schools and school districts.
Over the years, I’ve learned that there are a few prerequisites for the development of authentic and meaningful family and school partnerships – the elements that educators, school leaders and policy-makers should be thinking about as they move forward. Three stand out:

  1. Family engagement must be a high priority component of school and district work. Many used to think of it as an add-on, but educators are now rightfully beginning to look at it as an essential part of successful teaching and learning practice.
  2. Educators must be trained to integrate family engagement into their instructional practice. Both pre-service and in-service programs for educators must provide that training.
  3. We must shift our mindset about families. Unfortunately, many educational institutions still think it’s wise to keep families at arm’s length and out of the business of teaching and learning. But educators must think of families as true partners in the enterprise – co-producers and co-creators of effective school systems that serve all children.

Produced with support from The Wallace Foundation, at www.wallacefoundation.org

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2015 Agenda

7:15 a.m.–8:00 a.m.
Networking Breakfast
Join for breakfast with leaders who work in the fields of most interest to you. There’ll be tables for parent engagement, school climate, ed tech, and more!

8:00 a.m.–8:25 a.m.
Welcome, Introductions, and Recognition Presentation
Recognition of the work of 8 of the 15—2015 Leaders To Learn From selected by Education Week.

8:25 a.m.–8:40 a.m.
Breakouts—Meet the Leaders
First 8 Leaders will go to their subject matter tables located throughout the room to discuss with attendees their “Focus of Strength” and to answer any questions attendees have. (Attendees will be encouraged to find their table of interest based on the map of the room provided in the program).

8:40 a.m.–9:10 a.m.
Recognition Presentation Concludes
Recognition of the work of our final 7 Leaders To Learn From.

9:10 a.m.–9:35 a.m
Breakouts—Meet the Leaders
Second group of Leaders will go to their subject matter tables located throughout the room to discuss with attendees their “Focus of Strength” and to answer any questions attendees have.

9:35 a.m.–10:05 a.m.
District Leader Snapshots
(A selection of 2015 Leaders will come to the stage with their reporters and discuss their “Focus of Strength.”)

10:05 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Midmorning Networking Break

10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
“Three Keys for Maximizing Leadership Impact”
Michael Fullan, education leadership author and expert, and former minister of education, Canada (2003–2013).

11:30 a.m.–12:00 a.m.
District Leader Snapshots
(A selection of 2015 Leaders will come to the stage with their reporters and discuss their “Focus of Strength”).

12:00 a.m.– 12:30 p.m.
“Ask the ED”
Join in a Department of Education Lightning Round featuring Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Deborah S. Delisle other Department of Education leadership who will take your questions.

12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.
Networking Luncheon
Uninterrupted time to mingle with those you’ve met at your tables and at the various tables set up throughout the room during our break-outs.

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