Family Engagement: The Challenge
We know from decades of research that family-school partnerships are linked to improved indicators of student achievement. Family roles are tied to grades, test scores, lower drop-out rates, and students' beliefs about the importance of learning. "Given
this research base, the increase in policies promoting family engagement is a sign of progress toward improving educational opportunities for all children. Yet these mandates are often predicated on a fundamental assumption: that the educators and
families charged with developing effective partnerships between home and school already possess the requisite skills, knowledge, confidence, and belief systems—in other words, the collective capacity—to successfully implement and sustain these
important home–school relationships. Unfortunately, this assumption is deeply flawed" (p. 5, Mapp & Kuttner, 2013).
In order to build effective partnerships that support student and school improvement, we must first understand the challenge of why effective partnerships do not materialize between schools and families. The challenge lies in the lack of skills required to work as partners. However, the challenge is dual in nature - both schools and families must have the collective capacity to effectively engage and work together. According to the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships (Version 2)2, the challenge is two-fold.
Access a text-only version of the Challenge graphic above. Please note this link will open in a new window.
How does the MTSS framework overlap and align with the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships?
- Both the MTSS framework and the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships are ultimately about student and school improvement. The goal of the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships is to create effective partnerships that support student and school improvement.
- Both the MTSS framework and the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships rely on an asset-based lens through which to view school and student improvement. Differences amongst students and their families are considered a strength, not a deficit to overcome. " School and district staff need to be knowledgeable about the assets and funds of knowledge available in the communities where they work" (p. 10, Mapp & Kuttner, 2013) in order to effectively engage with families.
- Both frameworks provide similar structures for supporting improvement - evidence-based, culturally and linguistically responsive practices for students, using data to identify goals and measure progress, and systemic support from leadership to ensure that the adults can be effective.
How do both frameworks support schools and the families they serve to address the challenge of building capacity for effective engagement?
- A Multi-Tiered System of Supports framework promotes the belief that, as educators, we share responsibility for and have a stake in student and school success. To this end, we shift from "my students" to "our students" to ensure that all students have their needs met. The Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships also encourages shared responsibility - family engagement is everyone's responsibility. Additionally, student improvement and success is seen also seen as a shared responsibility and goal for both families and educators.
1 From the United States Department of Education. Mapp, K. L., & Kuttner, P. J. (2013). Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships. Internet. Available from https://www2.ed.gov/documents/family-community/partners-education.pdf; accessed 10 February 2021.
2 From Mapp, K.L. & Bergman, E. (2019). Dual capacity-building framework for family-school partnerships (Version 2). Retrieved from: www.dualcapacity.org.