Family Engagement Findings

September 3, 2019

A Note from Kimberly

School has officially started! My girls (pictured to the left) Lynette (2nd grade) and Lucy Sue (Kindergarten) have had a great start to their school year which always puts my 'Mommy heart' at ease.

With the start of a new school year, our feet hit the ground and we start running! There is a lot of great work to do in our roles of improving student outcomes through Family Engagement. It's a marathon, not a sprint. I hope you will take advantage of the training and support offered here at ESC-20.

This edition of Family Engagement Findings share some new resources, great reads to help focus your mind on effective Family Engagement strategies and what's coming up at ESC-20 to help you run your Family Engagement race successfully! There's a lot to read and reflect on so bookmark it so you can take it all in!

Let me know how I can help!


Please Pass Along to Professional Staff that Support Families of Children with Disabilities!

TEA Educator Survey: Resources for Parents/Guardians of Children with Disabilities

TEA is currently collecting data in order to inform the development of high-quality resources for parents/guardians of children with disabilities. TEA is inviting teachers, administrators and related staff to complete an anonymous survey about your experiences in locating and disseminating special education resources to parents.

The responses from this survey will be used to develop recommendations for the Parent Resources Initiative. The survey is voluntary and will remain confidential, as allowed by law.

Take the Survey

TEA Parent Family Engagement Templates

TEA has vetted the following documents:
  • LEA PFE Policy Template
  • School PFE Policy Template
  • PFE Policy FAQ

Download the documents below OR locate them on ESC-16's website HERE.

Parent Trainings Start Next Week! Please Share With Your Families!

September Parent Trainings & Webinars

Click HERE to view all the parent trainings & webinars being offered in September!

  • Building Blocks: Supporting Social Learning in the Preschool Years
  • Special Education Basics
  • The Independent Child: Using Classroom Strategies at Home to Support Independence
  • Dyslexia: What is it, and How Can I Help My Child?
  • Strategies for Helping Your Child Remember What is Learned at School
  • The Three E's of Healthy Living: Eating Right, Exercise, and Education
  • Drugs, Dares & Dangerous Teen Trends/ Understanding & Communicating with Your Adolescent

Many have asked about the Symposium, please read below!

ESC-20 Family & Community Engagement Symposium

There will NOT be an ESC-20 Family & Community Engagement Symposium during the 2019-2020 school year. Why?

  • ESC-20 parent trainings and webinars have more parents & families/community members participating in these weekly sessions. My focus will continue to make these robust and centered on hot topics to support families and their involvement in their child's education.

  • While many of you supported the 1 Day conference, I will continue to encourage you to consider supporting parents in a different way by making plans to attend ESC-20 trainings and/or webinars year round. Can you help provide transportation and bring the parents on a field trip? Can you host parents on your campus and participate via webinar?

  • Our Bilingual/EL department will be sponsoring a Parent Institute as a part of their World Language Conference in November, so more information coming soon on that!

  • The TAPPestry Conference (for parents/families/caregivers/professionals that have or work with children with special needs) will be on Saturday, February 15, 2020.
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Have you registered for the 2019 Statewide Parental Involvement Conference?

Mark Your Calendar for the 2019 Statewide Parental Involvement Conference, “Stronger Together,” at San Marcos, TX, December 12-14.

Preconference: “You Can’t Teach Who You Don’t Reach,” A.C. Cristales, December 12, 8:30 am – 11:30 am

Conference: “Stronger Together,” December 12, 1:30 pm – December 14, 12 noon

  • Keynote Speakers: E.J. Carrion, Salome Thomas-EL, Dave Davlin
  • 3 Featured Sessions and 45 Breakout Sessions
  • Numerous sessions in Spanish, and Spanish translation available
  • 25 Exhibitors
  • Friday and Saturday Breakfast, Friday Luncheon, Breaks
  • Great opportunity for networking with colleagues

Conference Website

Conference Registration

  • $160 per person until 10/22

Preconference Registration

  • $100 per person until 10/22

Online Hotel Reservation

  • $109 per night at host hotel

Host Hotel: Embassy Suites by Hilton San Marcos Hotel Conference Center (1001 E. McCarty Lane; San Marcos, TX 78666)

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Academic Parent Teacher Teams

Are you looking for a more effective way to conduct your parent teacher conferences that help support student learning in the home and builds positive relationships with parents? Academic Parent Teacher Teams is a model that accomplishes that!

Academic Parent Teacher Teams is a research and evidence-based Family Engagement framework and best practice that aligns grade level learning skills, student performance data, and family-teacher communication and collaboration in order to inform and enrich the way families support learning at home.

This session will teach the components to develop successful academic parent teacher teams that can build the capacity of families to effectively engage in supporting their child’s grade level learning goals.

Date: Tuesday, September 24th

Time: 9:00 AM--12:00 PM

Session ID# 60087

Fee: $25

Register HERE.

Who should attend this session?

--Teachers, Principals, Academic Deans, Curriculum Coordinators, any Professional Staff that has a key role in supporting parent-teacher conferences, sharing data with families and supporting learning in the home!

Family Engagement Network Meeting #1

Family Engagement Network Meetings are for any community, district or campus staff that work directly with families.

The purpose of the Family Engagement Network Meetings are to provide resources and support in areas to strengthen family-school partnerships.

Community resources are shared along with hot topics and networking opportunities.

Time: 9:00 AM--12:00 PM

Fee: $0

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Session ID# 58830

Register HERE.

Who should attend these sessions?

--Family Specialists, Counselors, Social Workers, Community Agencies, any professional staff that provides direct support to families and those wanting to network with other schools on methods to increase effective home-school partnerships.

District Level Family Engagement Networking

I was recently asked, "Why isn't there an opportunity in Region 20 for Family Engagement leaders to come together to share best practices and learn from each other?"

Good question! This spurred on more conversations and this interest was expressed among several other district level leaders.

So....I'd love to be a part of helping facilitate this and offer additional support for district level leaders that support Family Engagement initiatives.

The Family Engagement District Level Network Meeting is intended for administrators and professionals in a leadership role that supervise and direct Family Engagement initiatives at the district level.

Desired Outcomes:

  • to share Family Engagement best practices across Region 20;
  • to develop a deeper understanding of Family Engagement as an instructional strategy and how to support this district-wide; and
  • more to be determined by participants.

This first meeting of the Family Engagement District Level Network Meeting will be to share current family engagement practices occurring across Region 20, including challenges.

This group will determine together future meeting dates and agendas.

*This meeting is held right after the first scheduled Family Engagement Network Meeting. Please bring your lunch or plan to purchase a lunch at Café 20.

Date: Tuesday, October 1st

Time: 12:00 p.m.--1:30 p.m.

Session # 61492

Register HERE.

Building Capacity and Strengthening Partnerships for Family Engagement

An effective parent and family engagement program is an important piece that contributes to student success. This one-day professional development session: Building Capacity and Strengthening Partnerships for Family Engagement will provide a quick overview of ESSA Section 1116, Building Capacity requirements and strategies to help work innovatively with parents and families.

Date: Wednesday, October 2nd

Time: 9:00 AM--3:30 PM

Session ID# 61427

Fee: $0

Register HERE.

Who should attend this session?

--principals, teachers, parent liaisons/family specialists, and other educators or district-level staff that work with and support families.

Learning Opportunity

Learning Heroes Webinar: Parents 2019 Research

Join us on September 10th for a first look at Parents 2019 research and new back-to-school resources parents and educators can use to help children succeed this school year.

Our Parents 2019 research offers a look at how parents view their child’s education, and for the first time includes data from high school teachers and parents of high school students.

Join us for a first look at this new research, as well new research-based back-to-school resources. For back-to-school 2019, Learning Heroes is excited to announce the Super 5: Back-to-School Power Moves in English and Spanish, which includes five simple actions parents can take to support social, emotional, and academic learning and set their child up for success this school year.

In collaboration with National PTA and Univision, the back-to-school campaign includes an updated Learning Hero Roadmap, which provides parents of K-8 students with an interactive guide to support grade-level progress as well as important life skills.

Register today and join us on September 10th for the live webinar!

Learning Heroes Family Engagement Resources

Our easy-to-use (free and bilingual) resources were designed to help you inform and equip parents to take action in support of their child’s social, emotional, and academic development.

Institute for Educational Leadership: Taking It To the Next Level

During August I focused my reading on Taking It To the Next Level: Strengthening and Sustaining Family Engagement through Integrated, System Principles

Taking it to the Next Level takes a hard look at the ways in which districts are moving from disjointed activities to involve parents to systemically integrated strategies designed to engage families and strengthen family-school partnerships. It builds on the important insights of the dual capacity-building framework and describes how districts are bringing the organizational conditions to life.

Download it HERE.

Favorite Quotes:

  • "When educators' expertise on curriculum is partnered with parents' knowledge of how their children learn best, great things can happen." p. 7
  • "The higher parents' feeling of efficacy, the more their children reported doing better in school and feeling happy, safe, and stable. When students report feeling support from both home and school, they tend to do better in schools." p. 7

Key Elements of System Engagement: p.9

  • District leadership champions and deeply values engagement, which is evident in how families and community are leveraged as assets.
  • Policies, plans, and protocols contain clearly defined expectations and accountability for engagement across all levels of the district.
  • Systems of support are in place to build capacity for district and school leaders and staff to meet expectations.
  • Systems connected to the district’s overarching goals and targets monitor engagement practice, measure outcomes, and assess impact.
  • Engagement practices are integrated across departments, and there are structures to support collaborative efforts to ensure long-term sustainability.
  • Engagement structures, goals, and practices are aligned to the district’s strategic vision, goals, and targets.
  • Time and resources allocated for engagement are aligned to provide sustainable support and coherence.

What stands out to me in reading these key elements is that Family Engagement is a priority that starts at the top with District Leadership, Family Engagement is embedded in all aspects of the school priorities and it is also integrated (not separate) in the district and campus improvement plan. And resources and support is provided to ALL to build capacity and sustain the Family Engagement practices.

Systemic Engagement Exemplars--read what districts across the country are doing.

1. Washoe County School District in Nevada--p. 13. The work they have done has resulted in reduced transiency and an increase in the graduation rate from 66% in 2012 to 84% in 2017.

2. Albuquerque Public Schools--Family Engagement Collaborative (p. 16)--what a great idea to collaborate across departments to understand each other's work and how to collaborate and/or align their family engagement efforts more strategically.

3. Cleveland Metropolitan School District (p. 21) shared a huge lesson learned: "Family Engagement must be part of an integrated approach to school improvement: Improvement plans connect the dots between achievement, social-emotional learning, school climate, and attendance with a focus on building and supporting relationships and trust between educators, scholars, and their families."

4. Arlington, VA Public Schools-- Awesome Professional Learning Strand Structure (p. 23) It is described as "an intentionally designed experience that bundles learning sessions, guided team reflection, and application of high-impact strategies to promote the shift in mindset and practice that is called for to be effective."

Great questions to reflect on:

  • Has your district clearly and publicly articulated family engagement as a core value and lever for student achievement and healthy development, and school improvement?
  • Is engagement a district wide responsibility or does responsibility reside in one department?
  • Do your policies and protocols provide clear expectations for engagement? Are there supports aligned to expectations to ensure positive outcomes for staff?
  • Are your engagement efforts aligned to our district goals and targets? Is engagement embedded in the planning and data collection process?

Recommendations to the Field

For Districts:

• Embed family and community engagement into the fabric of the district. Additionally, engagement should be integrated into district and school leader job descriptions, and engagement skill sets should be explored as part of the hiring process.

• Ensure that district policies and practices align with district values regarding family engagement as a lever for improvement. As a core value, family engagement should be reflected in a district’s mission, vision, goals, and strategic direction. Districts should conduct a policy review and assess alignment of practices and protocols to ensure effective and equitable implementation.

• Establish and strengthen district wide expectations, supports, and accountability for engagement. Clearly define district-level baseline expectations for engagement that are aligned to core values and goals. If family engagement is an indicator on educator evaluations, make sure that it is assessed authentically and provide a district wide menu of supports and tools to ensure schools, educators, and other staff meet expectations. Develop data systems to measure effective practices and monitor progress.

• Build the capacity of district leaders responsible for engagement oversight. Provide access to capacity-building opportunities for engagement leaders to ensure their efforts are systemic and collaborative in nature. Ensure that engagement efforts are adequately resourced.

• Support and promote high-impact engagement strategies. Districts should leverage data to drive the development and adoption of high-impact strategies that affect student outcomes as well as school and district improvement. Develop data systems to monitor progress and the impact of strategies as well as to drive a continuous improvement process.

• Educate and engage your school board and other influential stakeholders. Most school boards value families and conceptually agree they should be engaged, but lack clarity on the extent to which effective engagement is a capacity that must be cultivated and sustained. With high superintendent turnover in many districts, more often than not boards select a new Institute for Educational Leadership 40 Taking it to the Next Level district leader with no track record of leading effective engagement practice who then unravels years of hard work.

For District Engagement Leaders:

• Collaborate across departments. Collaboration not only strengthens engagement efforts, it also distributes responsibility and accountability for outcomes. Aligning engagement efforts to district goals and strategic direction provides the opportunity for building a coherent cross-departmental approach.

• Build a constituency for engagement internally and externally. Establishing a shared understanding regarding the benefits and impacts of effective engagement practices with both internal and external stakeholders is critical. Stakeholders provide advocacy and support for sustainability and growth of engagement practice.

• Shape the engagement narrative. Assume ownership of the engagement narrative in your district and shape the way engagement is viewed. Leverage data and anecdotes to develop a narrative that tells the story and promotes engagement in a way that is clear and concise.

I hope you will take the time to reflect on this article--I think we all can find some ideas in here to contemplate!

Attendance Playbook: Smart Solutions for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism

This is another article I focused on reading in August. It is a very thorough report with some innovative ideas. There's not a "ONE SIZE FITS ALL" approach to reducing chronic absenteeism. I think we all have a role in offering support and targeted efforts to reduce chronic absenteeism.

"Successful schools and districts use a team approach to addressing absenteeism. They bring together key players to assess data and develop a course of action, often as part of a student support network or an early warning system that also looks at course failure and disciplinary action. The most effective models involve school counselors, school nurses, parent advocates and community partners, with principals coordinating the teams’ work with other school improvement efforts." (p.3)

The sections I paid attention to that I saw an alignment with Family Engagement include:

1. Effective Messaging and Engagement: Nudging Parents and Students (p. 4) "Researchers have found that “nudges,” reminders to parents and caregivers about absences, can improve

school attendance."

2. Home Visits: (p. 6) "An evaluation of the Parent Teacher Home Visits program found that students whose families received at least one visit from teachers a year were 21 percent less likely to be chronically absent than other students."

3. School-Based Health Services (p.9) "Despite concerns about truancy or unexcused absences, illness remains the No. 1 reason that students miss school. While many of these absences are excused, they represent lost instructional time that can erode student achievement."

4. School Buses and Public Transit (p.12) "Transportation challenges contribute to chronic

absenteeism in many places, whether it’s a city that has limited school bus routes or a rural community where missing the school bus leaves students few options for getting to school on time. Not surprisingly, research has found that providing school bus service or free passes

on public transit can improve attendance rates and educational outcomes."

5. A Safer Walk to School (p. 13) "Neighborhood violence can keep students from getting

to class every day. This held true regardless of the students’ demographic characteristics,

prior attendance records, their neighborhood crime rates, or their choice of schools. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that 7 percent of students had missed school in the past 30 days out of a fear for their safety either at school or traveling to school."

6. Threshold Greetings (p. 18) "A sense of belonging among students and a connection

to a caring adult can lead to better attendance. Research points to the often-devastating consequences of students feeling like no one cares about them."

7. Targeted Transportation (p. 28)

8. Inter-agency Case Management (p. 31) "Some students face more complex problems—such as homelessness, pregnancy and mental illness—that require coordination and case management with agencies beyond the school yard. Often the solutions require extended support tailored to the unique situations of the most severely chronically absent students. That may mean tapping the local housing authority to help children facing eviction or working with social service agencies to help those in the foster care system."

Read the full article here: Attendance Playbook: Smart Solutions for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism

What Am I Reading Next?

The ESSENTIAL Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn From Each Other by Sara Lawrence-Lightfood.

The Essential Conversation is the crucial exchange that occurs between parents and teachers—a dialogue that takes place more than one hundred million times a year across our country and is both mirror of and metaphor for the larger cultural forces that shape the development of our children.

Participating in this twice-yearly ritual, in a meeting marked by decorum and politeness, parents and teachers frequently exhibit wariness and assume defensive postures. Even though the conversation appears to be focused on the student, adults may find themselves playing out their own childhood histories, insecurities, and fears. Through vivid portraits and parables, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot captures the dynamics of this complex, intense relationship from the perspective of both parents and teachers. She also identifies new principles and practices for improving family-school relationships. In a voice that combines the passion of a mother, the skepticism of a social scientist, and the keen understanding of one of our nation’s most admired educators, Lawrence-Lightfoot offers penetrating analysis and an urgent call to arms for all those who want to act in the best interests of their children.

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The Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships (Version 2)

Check out Version 2 of the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships!

Based on existing research and best practices, the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships (Version 2) is designed to support the development of family engagement strategies, policies, and programs.

It is not a blueprint for engagement initiatives, which must be designed to fit the particular contexts in which they are carried out. Instead, the Framework should be seen as a compass, laying out the goals and conditions necessary to chart a path toward effective family engagement efforts that are linked to student achievement and school improvement.

The goal of the new community website is to bring the Framework to life and help put it into practice across the United States.

Click here to learn more.

Georgia Department of Education's School Transitions Toolkit

I always like to see what other states are doing to support Family Engagement and the Georgia Department of Education put together this great video series on School Transitions for parents/families and caregivers.

Check it Out HERE.

The Role of the K-12 Parent

Education Week's The Role of the K-12 Parent offers different perspectives on the changing nature of parent empowerment and the role that family engagement can play in student achievement.

Bookmark this link as it contains multiple good reads!

Seven Ways Parents & Teachers Build Partnerships

Research shows that parents and teachers build partnerships that help children succeed when they:

1) Engage together in meaningful dialogue

2) Show mutual respect

3) Actively listen to one another

4) Collaborate on issues that affect student learning

5) Empathize with one another

6) Open themselves to learning from each other

7) Involve students as responsible collaborators in their own learning

It is clear that family-school partnerships for the 21st century will be different than traditional ideas of parent engagement. That should come as no surprise to educators or parents who understand that innovation in a complex, globally-connected society requires collaboration, respect, and the capacity to critically think about the changing world in which we and our children live.

Taken from:

Questions? Comments? Feedback?

Click HERE if you can't access the form above and you'd like to leave Kimberly a comment, question or other feedback. Thanks!

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Kimberly Baumgardner, Consultant, Family Engagement--Education Service Center, Region 20

Kimberly has worked in the field of special education for 19 years. She has been on staff at ESC-20 for 10 years. She spent 7 years as a special education curriculum specialist and is currently the Family Engagement Consultant.

Kimberly has become quite passionate about empowering families to be more involved in their child's education and future as well as challenging and supporting schools to increase their efforts to involve families in their child's educational journey and focus on Family Engagement as an instructional tool that improves student's academic outcomes.

Kimberly enjoys living out in the country with her husband, Tyson and two daughters, Lynette & Lucy Sue.