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Family Engagement Practices for Leadership

Family engagement is an essential part of educational leadership. Effective family engagement requires building trusting relationships through strong communication. Read on to learn more about how district leaders can include families in leadership efforts.

Partner with Families

District leaders ensure that families and community members are partners in all phases of development and implementation.

Actions to partner with families:

  • Partner with established family engagement networks (e.g. Parent Teacher organizations) to engage family voices, experiences, and perceptions in technology planning.
  • Gather feedback from families regularly and use those data to improve implementation.
  • Include families in the development of remote learning plans.

Communicate with Families

District leaders communicate about technology with families efficiently, effectively, and equitably.

Actions to communicate with families: 

  • Guarantee communications are accessible to connect with the widest audience possible (e.g. translation, use of simple, non-technical language, using alt text on images). 
  • Partner with established family engagement networks (e.g. Parent Teacher organizations) to offer just-in-time technology support.
  • Allow extra time for family meetings when an attendee is non-English speaking to ensure complete understanding.

Check out all of the CITES Family Engagement practices.


Jenks' Story

The Jenks Public School District in Oklahoma serves about 12,000 students at its ten school sites. The Jenks Technology Leadership Team includes parents of neurotypical students and students with disabilities in planning meetings. The team also provides district-wide professional development to teachers on using technology tools, such as SeeSaw, for family engagement.

Jenks recently updated its Technology Plan to include family engagement goals for increasing the availability and use of technology. The new goals include: 

  • developing/planing communications and feedback for parent leadership.
  • contacting parent organizaitons to strategize/plan communications with parents
  • developing multiple means of engagement to share data in communications for parent input/feedback.
  • reviewing data from parent engagement communications.
  • developing programming as appropriate in response to data findings.

Supporting Research

Cunningham, S. D., Kreider, H., & Ocón, J. (2012). Influence of a parent leadership program on participants’ leadership capacity and actions. School Community Journal, 22(1), 111.

MacCormack, J., FitzGerald, C., Whitley, J., & Sider, S. (2022). Lessons learned: Home-school collaboration for students with Sen during emergency remote teaching. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 1–18. 

Shiffman, C.D. (2019). Learning to communicate across language and culture: Demographic change, schools, and parents in adult ESL classes. School Community Journal, 29, 9-38.

Weiss, H., Bouffard, S., Bridglall B., & Gordon, E. (2009). Reframing family involvement in education: Supporting families to support educational equity. Campaign for Educational Equity, Teachers College, Columbia University.

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