What does engagement look like?
When students are engaged, they show up to school, they are excited about what they are learning, and they feel that they belong. Similarly, their parents/caregivers have strong connections to teachers and teachers see parents as authentic partners. 

  • Based on existing research and best practices, the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships is designed to support the development of family engagement strategies, policies, and programs. (Link to Dual Capacity Framework)


How can schools engage (and re-engage) students and families? 

  • Build positive relationships with families/caregivers and students by:
    • Taking stock: Use a Relationship Mapping tool to see how many students are known by school staff.
    • Investing in high leverage relationship-building strategies such as relational home visits.
    • Developing relational trust. Educators can reflect on how they interact with families/caregivers.
  • Questions to ask:
    • Am I seeking input from, and do I listen to and value all that families have to say? (Respect) 
    • Am I demonstrating to all families that I see them as competent and valuable caretakers? (Competence) 
    • Do I keep my word to families? (Integrity) 
    • Do I show families that I value and care about them as people? (Personal Regard)


The Learning Heroes report, Unlocking the How: Designing Family Engagement Strategies that Lead to School Success, explains the benefits of building relational trust and has recommendations for designing family engagement strategies.


How can schools identify and reach out to families/caregivers in need of additional support? 

  • Chronic absence can be a signal that students are disengaged. Reach out to students and families/caregivers that have missed 10% or more of the school year. If you aren’t sure which students have missed that much schools, ask your school secretary to pull existing reports from the Student Information System. If the information is hard to find, your school administrator can ask the IT department to help you crunch the numbers.
  • Use Attendance Works free data tools:
  • Make sure you take a positive and not punitive approach to reaching out to families when they have poor attendance.