EDU Round-up: Family and Community Engagement

 //  May 22, 2019

EDU Round-up: Family and Community Engagement

Effective family and community engagement is crucial for meeting the needs of all students and ensuring that they’re working toward their learning goals year-round, both in the classroom and beyond. But, effective engagement with students’ families and the community is more than a series of meetings or a newsletter—it’s a proactive, thoughtful, and responsive partnership.

In the Scholastic Teacher & Principal School Report, educators agreed that “it is important to student success that families be involved in their children’s learning,” yet 74% say they need help engaging the families of their students. They also told us that they are turning to community partners to help address barriers to learning, including providing health services, before- and after-school care, and food outside of the school day, further illustrating the valuable role that these partnerships play.

We rounded up recent EDU posts exploring all facets of family and community engagement—identifying areas of improvement, methods of communication, hosting creative events, changing attitudes, and so much more. Explore the list below to learn best practices from nonprofits, state, district and school leadership, authors, and Scholastic experts.


Creating Opportunities to Reach Families

John Althardt, Communications Specialist with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), shares insights from the IDOE’s first-ever interactive booth at the 2018 State Fair, which created a unique opportunity to reach families and children with important educational messages.

Year-Round (and that includes summer!) Reading Routines

C.C. Bates, an associate professor of literacy education and director of the Clemson University Reading Recovery® and Early Literacy Training Center, outlines lessons learned from Tigers Read!, a program in partnership with Scholastic, Dabo’s All in Team Foundation, and the Clemson University Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Training Center.

Parents Need an Accurate Picture of Their Child’s Progress

President and founder of Learning Heroes, Bibb Hubbard, explains the importance of sharing clear, concise and actionable information with families regarding their children’s progress to ensure an effective partnership. 

For Family Engagement, Not All Information Is Created Equal  

Jenni Brasington, Director of Consultative Services for Family and Community Engagement at Scholastic, shares how to provide the right information to families to support a family-school partnership.

If I could do my family engagement all over again...

Jenni Brasington, Director of Consultative Services for Scholastic Family and Community Engagement and retired educator, shares her “do-overs” on building relationships with families, focusing on the importance of starting partnerships early, being proactive, and engaging outside of school.

Putting Out the Welcome Mat for Family-School Partnerships

Jenni Brasington, Director of Consultative Services for Family and Community Engagement at Scholastic, shares why school signage, customer service, and cultivating trust are integral to creating a welcoming school culture.

September is the New January: Resolutions for Family Engagement

Jenni Brasington, Director of Consultative Services for Family and Community Engagement at Scholastic, shares three proven practices on how to engage families as kids head back to school.

Why Literacy and Families Go Together  

Dr. Steve Constantino, Chief Academic Officer, Department of Education, Commonwealth of Virginia describes effective family engagement as the degree to which families are engaged in their kid’s learning and the school’s support of families.

Living a Priority of Literacy

Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning of the Moline-Coal Valley School District, Dr. Matthew DeBaene, shares how he learned the power of partnership within the community when his district engaged in a purposeful endeavor to make literacy a top priority.

Orange Public Schools: Want to Get Kids Reading? Get Everyone Reading!

Karen Harris, Director of English Language Arts & Testing for Orange Board of Education Orange, NJ, asks, how could the district make independent reading part of their literacy culture? To answer, she focused on the concept of modeling.

How to Host a Successful K–2 Family Engagement Event

The Next Step Forward in Reading Intervention co-author Ellen Lewis, M.Ed. shares her approach to hosting a successful RISE With Literacy school event and how equipping families with at-home reading strategies empowers them as partners in the learning process.

Family Engagement Supports Literacy Achievement

Paul Liabenow, Executive Director of Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, explains why family engagement should be integrated into curriculum and schoolwide culture to support literacy instruction.

Beyond the Newsletter: Effective Family-School Communication

Ron Mirr, SVP of Learning Supports and Family and Community Engagement at Scholastic, explains how and why multiple methods of communication must function in order to support family-school partnerships.

Family Engagement Participation: Helping Families Build Competence and Confidence

Ron Mirr, SVP of Learning Supports and Family and Community Engagement at Scholastic, outlines the final element to effective family-school partnerships: participation.

What I Learned: My School's Eye-Opening Family Engagement Assessment

North Carolina elementary principal Suzanne Mitchell revisits her school’s first family engagement assessment, where she learned to acknowledge her biases and redefine what family and engagement means.

Inviting the Community In: How Engaging Volunteers Can Improve Literacy Outcomes

Executive Director of SMART (Start Making A Reader Today), Chris Otis, shares the benefits of inviting nonprofit and community organizations into schools to create opportunities for mentorship and one-on-one or small group academic support.

Empowering Students and Families to Address Summer Reading Loss in Greenville, SC and Stoughton, MA

Andrea Rizzo, Ph.D., Director of Research & Validation at Scholastic, shares insights into research on the effects of book access and family engagement on students’ and families’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors around summer reading, in partnership with Public Education Partners and Greenville County Schools.

Why Not? How to Build Innovative Community Partnerships

Dr. Jacqueline L. Sanderlin—Executive Director of School and Community Relations, Inglewood Unified School District—rounds-up her ideas to build and cultivate community relationships in schools. 

A Summer Reading Movement, Emerging from Family Engagement  

Public Education Partners President and CEO, Dr. Ansel Sanders, shares how Family Reading Nights bolstered families’ attitudes about literacy as part of the nonprofit’s Make Summer Count program in collaboration with Scholastic and Greenville County Schools.