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DOWNLOADABLE: Best Practices for Building School-Family Relationships

Schools can boost student outcomes when educators cultivate trusting relationships with families and enlist parents as partners in their children’s learning. Schools that have brought parents into the learning process have seen a variety of improvements confirmed by researchers, including better attendance and improved math performance.

Luckily, it doesn’t require an influx of resources or funding to transform a school’s approach to engaging with families.

Most of the time, experts say, it’s about shifting educators’ mindsets to make families central to discussions about student academics. There are easy steps schools can take to build positive, long-lasting relationships with families that are based on trust—as well as more elaborate setups schools can pursue to enrich those relationships.

Whatever particular approach they pursue, schools stand the best chance of ensuring their family engagement makes a difference when they make it systemic, meaning everyone in the building places a priority on cultivating relationships with families; accessible, so no group of parents is excluded because they can’t, for example, attend an in-school event; and customized to the school’s community and culture.

Here’s a downloadable guide to five key strategies schools can employ, with resources to take family engagement strategies further.

Download these tips (PDF)

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