We define family engagement as the collaboration between families and schools that drives student achievement. A strong body of research shows that students do better in school and in life when their parents are engaged in their education. Teachers are only with children an average 14% of their time, so it is essential that families reinforce messages about learning outside of school.
The most important roles parents play in their children’s success include having high expectations, constantly reinforcing the value of education, monitoring performance and holding children accountable, supporting learning, guiding children through important decisions, and advocating for them.
Schools’ family engagement efforts should focus on equipping parents to play these roles by giving them timely, individualized and actionable information about what children are learning in school, how they are learning it, and what families can do to support that learning at home. Educators should communicate regularly with families to understand their hopes and dreams for their child, to co-construct academic goals to help achieve those hopes and dreams, and to report on the student’s progress in meeting those goals.
While many service providers, funders and policymakers focus on training families so that they can play these roles, often teachers and school administrators do not receive support and training to engage families in ways that improve student learning. As such, much of Flamboyan Foundation’s work focuses on building the capacity of schools, principals, teachers and districts to reach out and partner effectively with families.