April 10, 2012
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces
New Tool to Help School Districts Get Families
and Community Involved in Students' Education
SACRAMENTO—Recognizing the vital importance of parent involvement in the success of students, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today released a new, free publication, Family Engagement Framework, a Tool for California School Districts, to help school districts engage families in their children's education.
"Parents are every child's first teachers," Torlakson said. "The good news is you don't need an advanced degree to help your child succeed at school. It's the little things that make a big difference—reading at home, talking with your child about school, and setting high expectations. Our Family Engagement Framework provides practical ways to help schools support parents to stay involved and help their children learn."
The Family Engagement Framework is the culmination of nearly a decade of collaboration between the California Department of Education (CDE), an informal Title I advisory group to the CDE called Family Area Network, and the California Comprehensive Center at WestEd. Funding for the project was provided through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The development of the Framework is authorized under Title I of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act and California Education Code Section 11503.
The Framework describes 18 principles that are essential for family and community involvement with the school district. These principles are grouped into five action areas to: (1) help school districts build the skills and confidence of parents, (2) demonstrate leadership, (3) use resources, (4) monitor progress, and (5) ensure access and equity for everyone. Specific actions to engage families and the community are described for each principle, ranging from basic to progressive to innovative. The Framework is outlined in a way to help school districts evaluate their progress and plan for improvements.
The California Comprehensive Center did a thorough review of literature showing a strong link between parental involvement activities and student achievement. The research is summarized in the Framework, coupled with specific examples of what schools, communities, and parents can do to help students succeed. The publication also contains a list of articles that school administrators and teachers can read to create effective, research-based practices in family engagement. For example, the Framework can guide districts in planning and coordinating family engagement programs more effectively and includes examples of communications to families that may be copied or adapted for use in newsletters, e-mails, and other outreach efforts.
Copies of the Framework will be distributed to all school districts in California and will also be posted on the California Comprehensive Center Web site at Family Engagement Framework [http://www.wested.org/online_pubs/cpei/family-engagement-framework.pdf] (PDF; 2MB).