Collaborating with Families

Wrap Up

Teachers and parents often share a goal: helping the child to succeed in school. Research establishes a strong correlation between parent involvement and a child’s academic success. Principal Morgan and her staff have learned that to help ensure the success of partnerships between schools and parents, teachers and other school personnel should:

  • Recognize that all families are different
  • Understand that the emotions exhibited by the parents of children with disabilities regarding their children are complex and varied
  • Acknowledge that the parents of children with disabilities have additional roles and stressors
  • Make parents feel welcome
  • Show respect to parents
  • Think of parents as equal partners in ensuring that their children are successful in school
  • Value parents’ participation (of whatever level)
  • Communicate with families regularly and in a variety of ways
  • Provide parents with meaningful information about their child’s and the school’s performance

family doing homeworkBy taking care to do the above, teachers will gradually establish positive relationships, a critical step to ensuring the success of students and the increased involvement of families. Building positive relationships with families allows teachers to keep the lines of communication open in order to meet the needs of children. 


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

Listen to Anne Henderson emphasize the importance of welcoming and involving families in an effort to help all children to learn and succeed (time: 1:28).

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Luz A. Hernandez
Parent of a young adult who has hydrocephaly
Executive Director
Hispanos Unidos Para
Niños Excepcionales (HUNE)

Listen to Luz Hernandez share some words of wisdom for professionals who work with families who have a child with a disability (time: 1:13).

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Revisiting Initial Thoughts

Think back to your initial responses to the following questions. After working through the resources in this Module, do you agree with your Initial Thoughts? If not, what aspects of your answers would you change?

What do teachers need to understand about working with families who have children with disabilities?

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

When you are ready, proceed to the Assessment section.

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