Building a strong school community begins with listening to families.
Throughout my life, I’ve seen how important family engagement is not just to a child’s education, but to their development as a human being. At one of my first teaching jobs in Prince George’s County, I was impressed by the community approach that includes many students getting picked up from schools by neighbors. When I had a student who almost never talked in class, it was through a relationship with her mother that I learned she was hurting because her sister had multiple sclerosis.
In my years working with students and families in and out of the classroom, I’ve found that successful family engagement efforts begin by centering families and their needs, much as teachers center children in their classrooms. Here are four keys to making that happen.