What are some ways to go about building positive relationships with families?

Page 6: Encouraging Involvement

family helping with homeworkPrincipal Morgan and her staff are aware of the increasing evidence that family involvement is one of the most important—if not the most important—factors in ensuring a child’s success in school. Family involvement increases academic achievement, as reflected in higher test scores and graduation rates, and further improves the likelihood that students will go on to pursue higher education. 

Keep in Mind

Parent involvement is defined in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law as “the participation of parents in regular, two-way, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities.”

Additionally, parents should be:

  • Informed about the academic progress of their children and about the performance of their child’s school
  • Involved in meaningful ways as partners to improve schools

mother and daughterThe way in which a family gets involved in the education system is likely to be as individual as the family itself. A single mother working two jobs and struggling to make ends meet might find it difficult to allow her children to participate in after-school activities. However, she might make sure that her children read every day and that they complete their homework. The teachers realize that families who have children with disabilities will demonstrate their involvement in a wide variety of ways. They also realize that they must be willing to adapt to work with all families.

In an effort to help her teachers to develop strategies for encouraging involvement, Principal Morgan shares ways they can categorize parental involvement into six types: 

  • Adults MeetingParenting
  • Communicating
  • Volunteering
  • Learning at home
  • Decision making
  • Collaborating with the community

The staff uses this information to brainstorm some activities that might serve to increase the participation of families in their child’s education. Click here to see the six types of involvement with examples.


Anne T. Henderson
Senior Consultant Community Involvement Program, Annenberg Institute for School Reform Washington, DC

Listen to Anne Henderson as she discusses the importance of welcoming families (time: 1:21).

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Keep in Mind

Professional development opportunities that focus on issues of disabilities, cultural diversity, and communication with low-income and non-English-speaking families may help efforts to get more families engaged and feeling welcome in schools.

Shane Nurnberg
Parent of a child who has autism
Program Manager Roswell
Family Empowerment Center

Listen to Shane Nurnberg talk about some of the ways his son’s school involves families (time: 0:28).

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