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Community and Family Engagement

CDE Equity Toolkit - Understanding Others with a picture of a kids and teachers sitting in chairs around a circle.

Community and Family Engagement

Understanding Others involves engaging the community and families you serve in conversations and decision-making. Research has shown that more will be accomplished if schools, families and communities work together to promote successful students. (Joyce Epstein, Johns Hopkins University, National Network of Partnership Schools)


The steps to create a Community Engagement Plan are simple and direct. 

  1. The first step is to identify your current reality and build goals to address this reality. 

  2. Invite participation from those who are impacted by the education system, and invite volunteers, consumers and partner agencies to participate in the design and implementation of the campaign. 


Engaging the community supports the dialogue and actions necessary for objectives to be realized. 

Learn more on why engaging the community is critical to student success! 

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Five Guiding Principles for Involving Parents in Schools (Comer and Haynes) 

Providing opportunities for engaging parents will not be successful without a mindset that sees families as equal partners and seeks true genuine collaboration. Comer and Haynes provide five guiding principles for involving families in schools. 

  1. A no‐fault approach, focusing not on who is to blame, but on what can be done 

  2. Coordination and cooperation among all adults concerned with the child's best educational interests 

  3. Decision by consensus whenever possible

  4. Regular meetings representing the entire school community

  5. Active involvement of parents 

Download the Community Engagement Checklist

Learn how to make a Community Engagement Action Plan and about Action Steps for All Educators

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Guiding Questions: 

  1.  In what ways is our school welcoming already? 

  2. What immediate steps can we take to make our school even more welcoming? 

  3. What steps can we take to involve more community and parent stakeholders in our school improvement work? 


Go back to Understanding Others page. 

Go to Understanding Context page. 

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