States play a vital role in family engagement. Our federal system gives State Education Agencies (SEAs) significant responsibility for ensuring compliance with federal requirements. In addition, State policy can:
- Articulate a vision for family engagement as a shared responsibility;
- Align school improvement efforts with family engagement requirements in Title I of ESSA and other federal programs;
- Direct resources toward high-impact family engagement practices;
- Require family engagement as a competency in educator preparation programs;
- Ensure parents can have time off from work to volunteer in the program or school and attend parent-teacher conferences without fear of losing their job.
State Leaders Network
The Family Engagement State Leaders Network, convened monthly by AIR/SEDL, formed in 2012 to connect leaders across state education agencies (SEAs). The Network builds SEA capacity to implement, scale-up, and sustain initiatives in family and community engagement that support student success. Membership includes SEA staff or SEA appointed consultants with responsibility for family engagement. Participation in this group is free and voluntary, and family engagement leaders from all SEAs are welcome to participate. To join, please email Lacy Wood at email@example.com.
State Policy on Family Engagement
ESSA State Plans
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have submitted their 2017 plans for implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The law gives states significant new leeway to set student achievement goals and calls for looking beyond test scores in gauging school performance. Click on the state name below for details on their submitted plan.
Education Week provided a useful side-by-side comparison of each of the submitted state plans.
Innovative Approaches to Family Engagement
The Arizona Department of Education Family Engagement Initiative is a cross-division effort to build and strengthen partnerships between families, and schools to enhance student achievement.
The California Department of Education provides a list of links to its state Family Engagement Framework and other tools for schools and districts, including a guide to Title I School-Parent Compacts. We also suggest The Family Engagement Framework: A Tool for California School Districts (2014 edition).
The Connecticut State Department of Education has pioneered a new approach to creating Title I School-Parent Compacts that is being adopted by other states such as California and Georgia. Learn about their ten-step approach, with video information and tools for each step on a special website posted by the CT SDE.
The Illinois Board of Education has developed a comprehensive framework for family engagement, described in this Family Engagement Guide. The Guide combines research and best practices with legislative requirements, and provides resources that integrate family engagement into the school improvement process. School districts and schools can use it to develop and expand school-family partnerships to support student learning and healthy development.
In 2009, Colorado passed legislation adopting the PTA National Standards as the framework schools should use for family engagement.
• Access their extensive list of training and information materials on promising practices in family engagement.
• Download a brochure developed by the Colorado Department of Education and the State Advisory Council on Parent Involvement in Education to raise awareness about family-school partnerships.
Tell us about what is happening in your state. It is our goal for NAFSCE.org to be the first stop for SEA’s seeking resources on improving their policies to support high-impact family engagement.
Many states have adopted all or portions of the National Standards for Family- School Partnerships. These standards and the associated assessment we created at the request of the National PTA, by Anne Henderson, and Karen Mapp. Click here to see an overview of these standards.