Engaged Families

"By age 18, children have typically spent only 13% of their waking lives at school; families have a role in shaping the remaining 87%."
- Education Policy Studies Laboratory—School Reform Proposals: The Research Evidence, as cited by NASA's NES Family Involvement Handbook


Due to previous understandings of family engagement and the widespread use of similar terms like family involvement and family education, it is recommended that you start your work on this bucket by developing common definitions and understandings (this problem was recently addressed in a National PTA article, and in this issue of Educational Leadership).
In Minnesota, Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) programs should play a vital role in your PreK-3rd Grade work, especially if you decide that parent education is going to be a component of your family and community engagement plan. Boston (i.e. Thrive in 5) and Washington state are examples of places where parent education has been incorporated. "'Parenting engagement is a core component of our state's quality early learning programs,' said Dr. Bette Hyde, Washington State Department of Early Learning director. 'Children are born learning, so it's critical to help parents to access parenting education and information.'" 2

Goal & Strategies1

Families are actively and systemically involved with PreK-3rd teachers and administrators as full partners in helping their children develop, learn, and achieve.

Core Priority

Teachers, administrators, and all staff in schools and programs understand the importance of, and employ strategies for, engaging families.

Example Implementation Indicators

District Administrators/Community Leaders

  • Incorporate family engagement into strategic plans.
  • Incorporate family engagement into evaluations of principals and site adminstrators.
  • Support the development and use of professional development, tool kits, materials, and other resources that reflect family engagement research and best practices, including differentiation for families’ diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • Designate a senior-level officer responsible for family engagement.

Principals/Site Administrators

  • Incorporate family engagement into evaluations of teachers and other staff.
  • Provide ongoing professional development and technical assistance focused on family engagement to all school and program staff.
  • Designate dedicated and welcoming space where families can gather and teachers and families can meet.
  • Provide opportunity and time for teachers to engage with families.


  • Regard family engagement as an essential element of their job.


Continuing Education

Developing a Family Engagement Training Strategy
Click Here Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, October 2011.

Working Systematically In Action - Engaging Family & Community: A Guide for Facilitators
Click Here Ferguson, C., Jordan, C., & Baldwin, M. (2010). Austin, TX: SEDL.

1 Kauerz, K. & Coffman, J. (2013). Framework for Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating PreK-3rd Grade Approaches. Seattle, WA: College of Education, University of Washington.
2 "State's Community and Technical Colleges and the Department of Early Learning Highlight Parenting Education, Gov. Inslee Issues Proclamation." States News Service 12 Nov. 2013. Student Edition. Web. 17 Dec. 2013. Click Here