As you and your teachers welcome families, learn the 5 strategies for engagement so you don’t blow it!
We know about the academic benefits of having strong family engagement in schools. Those of us at Title I schools even have funding and activities that require family engagement, but it is rare that leaders are ever taught how to effectively engage families.
Karen Mapp, senior lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Education, speaks to what works when interacting with families. Research shows that effective partnerships are relationship-based, interactive, collaborative, developmental (meaning that we are focused on building the capacity of families to support growth), and linked to learning.
Do your Open House or Meet-the-Teacher nights hit all of these criteria? Do parents get “talked to” about rules, dress code, and goals or do parents and teachers get to know each other? Do parents get to talk to the teacher about their knowledge of their children that might help the teachers? Do parents get to practice or learn a new skill that can help their children learn? Is the experience likely to help parents feel welcomed as partners who gained a reason to come back and work with the school and teacher? This year, make your first interaction with parents one that will bring them back as partners so that you can work as a team toward school growth.
For more, watch Karen Mapp’s 8 minute “Bold Ideas about Linking Family Engagement to Learning” video: