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    Seattle Public Schools Pillars of Family Engagement

    Family Engagement Task Force

    From the work of the Road Map Project 2017 Landscape Analysis, the Family Partnerships department convened a task force. In Spring 2018, the task force created a multi-year Family Engagement Action PlanPDF icon to align with district policy No. 4129. The group included multi-lingual, multiethnic, pluralistic representatives. The task force completed its work and produced a long-term plan for family engagement. In the 2018-19 school year, the Family Partnerships department will begin implementation of the plan, starting with a tiered approach.

    The purpose of family engagement is to improve student outcomes by building family and school staff capacity to make school environments welcoming, to strengthen two-way communication, to facilitate and encourage respectful interactions and to increase shared power and responsibility (family, student voice amplified and respected).

    For the 2018-19 academic year, the Family Partnerships department's focus is on shared power and responsibility and strengthening two-way communication.

    Four Pillars of Family Engagement

    The Family Engagement Task Force helped to produce four key pillars for family engagement in an Action PlanPDF icon.

    Share Power and Responsibility

    We seek to engage students as key partners in their own education while engaging families as primary partners, experts, and resources in student learning and success. We desire to be transparent and intentional about different levels of engagement.

    Two-Way Communication

    Learning cultural norms of students and families, establishing communication norms and preferences with all stakeholders, and communicate to families in ways that work for them are some ways we are looking to build two-way communication.

    Facilitating Positive

    Interactions From sharing information about schools and student progress to cultivating a culture of responsiveness to parents’ questions and inquiries in a timely manner, we seek to facilitate positive interactions with families with professionalism and care.

    Welcoming Environments

    To create more welcoming environments, we will work to build up staff that are trained to engage with everyone who enters and exits the building with kindness, respect, and integrity, have quality facilities and tools that are equitable and accessible, and use materials are inspiring and culturally relevant.

    District Policy

    Policy No. 4129 on Family EngagementPDF icon establishes family engagement as a district priority. This policy articulates the six national standards that link families to student learning:

    • Families are engaged in decision-making and student learning, we see better student outcomes and build better, sustainable solutions.
    • School staff and family members have positive relationships, schools become a safe and welcoming place for students and their families.

    Six National Standards of Family Engagement

    The district’s family engagement efforts will have six overarching goals. They will include, but not be limited to, the following research-based National Standards for Parent/Family Engagement in schools: 

    Frameworks for Engagement

    The US Department of Education recognizes the importance of making school-family partnerships effective. Based on national research, the Dual Capacity-Building Framework provides a way to think about and organize our work to make school-family partnerships effective. 

    More information can be seen on this Scholastic video on Establishing a Framework for Family Engagement with Dr. Karen Mapp of Harvard Graduate School of Education explaining the Dual Capacity-Building Framework.