Students do their best when families, communities, and schools come together for shared decision-making.
Supporting your child’s education is the most important contribution you can make to his or her success in school and in life. Research shows that regardless of income or education level, parent and family members’ attitudes and beliefs about education can greatly influence children’s academic success. Students are more likely to achieve and less likely to drop out of school if they know that their family expects the best of them and sees education as critical. Similarly, students need to see teachers that have high expectations of them and support them in reaching their goals. The best family-school engagement plan or policy is not merely an exchange of information or a series of newsletters and email blasts. Rather, family-school engagement is an ongoing collaboration that involves shared decision-making, open communication, mutual respect, the building of trust, and the welcoming of cultural differences and different perspectives. Family-school engagement, when it is working well, embraces community input and relationships, bringing in community groups, services, and businesses that are also invested in seeing the best experiences and outcomes for students. Recent studies in our state about family and community engagement, such as those from the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition, the UW Equitable Parent-School Collaboration, and the UW Family Leadership Design Collaborative , have also shared what effective family and community engagement can look like.