Seattle Public Schools


Family Partnerships

Family Partnership and Engagement

Family Partnership and Engagement is the process used to build authentic partnerships with families between school and home

Why Family Partnership & Engagement?

Families have a major influence on their children’s achievement, in fact, research indicates that parent involvement at home has more than double the impact on student test scores than parents’ education level of socioeconomic status. When schools, families, and community groups work together to support student learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more.

Our SPS families are critical partners, please check out opportunities to engage or explore the links to the right!


Family engagement refers to school-family partnerships. It is the collaborative interaction between educators and families in activities that promote student learning and positive child and youth development at home, in school, and in the community, including but not limited to:

  • Regular, two-way and meaningful communication between parents and school personnel 
  • Outreach to our diverse families
  • Parent education
  • Staff professional development
  • Volunteering school
  • Decision-making and
  • Advocacy

Family Engagement is a shared responsibility which is continuous from Kindergarten through 12th grade and reinforces learning that takes place in all settings.

Who We Are

Family Partnerships is a capacity building department whose purpose is to is to support the district and schools to effectively build strong family partnerships and advocacy to improve student success and school culture through three key bodies of work: coaching, consulting, and professional development. Learn more about our Family Partnerships Team!

Who We Work With

  • Parent and Family Groups
  • School Leaders
  • Community Groups
  • Community-based Organizations
  • District Staff

Our Essential Core Beliefs

  1. All families have dreams for their children and want the best for them
  2. All families have the capacity to support their children’s learning
  3. Families and school staff are equal partners
  4. The responsibility of building partnerships between school and home rests primarily with school staff, especially school leaders

The Four Pillars of Family Engagement

The 4 Pillars of Family Engagement framework was codesigned in 2018 by the Family Engagement Task Force, a group of family members, community-based organizations, school staff, and district staff from across the SPS district with a mission to center family engagement to ensure families and schools work together to support and improve the learning, development, and whole health of the students they serve. The pillars and the goals listed within were designed to engage students, families, and school and district staff on a variety of levels, and provide an accessible path for creating and maintaining best practices.

The Main Elements of the 4 Pillars:

  • Share Power and Responsibility
  • Facilitating Positive Interactions
  • Welcoming Environments
  • Two-Way Communication

Family engagement work is done through the Dual Capacity Building Framework and Seattle Public Schools’ 6 standards of family engagement.