As educators we must build bridges between school and the home by providing opportunities for parents, caregivers, and families to be involved in their child’s education. Systemic SEL invites us to move beyond involvement, center relationships, and enact a partnership model in which families and educators work together to support student social, emotional, and academic development, each with important and complementary roles.
In this module, we explore Family and Community Engagement (FCE) as an essential part of school-wide social and emotional learning that focuses on whole child development.
- Understand how major stakeholders view family and community engagement and SEL
- Explore practical ways that schools engage in authentic partnerships with families and communities
- Examine the ways having a culturally responsive lens is essential to effective FCE and SEL
- Consider how to develop partnerships with families and communities around SEL
Family Involvement and Engagement
The California Department of Education makes the distinction between family and involvement and engagement in the following ways:
Involvement may include “[s]ending home flyers about meetings and activities, recruiting chaperones for field trips, soliciting parents’ help with fundraisers” which “contribute to a school, but may result in low parent engagement, and may not make a substantial impact on students learning and thriving.”
“Effective family and community engagement is an intentional and systemic partnership of educators, families, and community members. These partners share responsibility for a student’s preparation for school, work, and life, from the time the child is born to young adulthood. To build an effective partnership, educators, families, and community members need to develop the knowledge and skills to work together, and schools must purposefully integrate family and community engagement with goals for students learning and thriving.”
Partner with Families and Community
In California’s Social and Emotional Learning Guiding Principles (2017), Guiding Principle number four and its sub-principles focus on the role of families, communities, and partnerships in promoting SEL:
Maximize the resources of the entire school community, including expanded learning opportunities, early learning and care programs, and family and community partnerships, to advance SEL and student well-being.
- Family Engagement: Provide families with options for meaningful contributions to, and participation in, their child’s learning experience to build respectful, mutually beneficial relationships.
- Expanded Learning: Establish shared goals across all youth serving settings, such as after school programs and summer learning programs, to leverage capacity and increase shared responsibility for positive student outcomes.
- Early Learning: Consider the inclusion of early learning and care programs as SEL systems are developed.
- Community Partnerships: Address the basic needs of students and families, including social and emotional well-being, through partnerships with community-based organizations and other stakeholders.