Both teachers and principals across all school poverty levels hold strong, positive views around the importance of family involvement in student learning and the need for partnerships between schools and parents.
While educators agree that family engagement is important, the majority (62%) also report that their school’s staff is not “very or extremely” effective in engaging families in their children’s learning.* Therefore, it is not surprising that three-quarters of educators (74%) say they need help engaging the families of their students. While this need is especially great in high-poverty schools–where there is also the strongest call among teachers for PD around this issue–more than half of educators in low-poverty schools also agree.
Educators say that it is important that communication be two-way and take many forms. They also say that barriers to communication must be addressed, including accommodating family schedules or making information available in multiple formats and languages.
There are often wide gaps between the percentage of educators who say certain activities are important and the percentage who say these activities are happening to the degree they should, most notably around communication with families.
Across school poverty levels, educators in high-poverty schools are less likely to say that many family engagement activities are happening to the degree they should. At the same time, they are more likely to say that school information is being made available in multiple languages often enough.
Many educators see the value of community partnerships to support students and families. This is true across poverty levels. Forty-five percent of teachers and 60% of principals say reaching out to community partners to offer services to families is among the most important things to help families be engaged with children’s learning. At the same time, fewer teachers (35%) and principals (38%), say these partnerships are happening to the degree they should.
The partnerships that are in place help address many barriers to learning such as health services, programming outside of the school day, as well as food for students. The percentage of principals who say community organizations provide each type of service shown does not vary across school poverty levels, with one exception: providing food for students outside of the school day.