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EdTrust Recommends How Schools Can Improve Interactions with Families

EdTrust has released three reports on family engagement that lays out a different vision for families to be involved with their schools in a way that promotes authentic, culturally responsive family engagement to support students’ academic growth and overall wellbeing.

The reports cover a range of family engagement topics, including 1.) a survey of parents’ perceptions of how schools engage with them post-pandemic; 2.) changes policymakers at all levels can make to improve family and community engagement; and 3.) improvements in how results of federally required annual assessments are shared with families.

Dr. Allison Rose SocolDr. Allison Rose Socol“As many students continue to need additional support in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that schools build trust between educators and families and remove barriers to meaningful engagement with families,” said Dr. Allison Rose Socol, vice president for P-12 policy, research, and practice at EdTrust. “This strategy has shown to boost students’ test scores, graduation rates, and other academic outcomes, as well as measures of mental health.”

The first report, “Engaging First: Supporting Young Learners Through Family Engagement,” is based on two nationally representative surveys, including 600 parents or caregivers of children in first or second grade in the 2022-23 school year, and 300 teachers of the same grade.

The second report, “Making Assessment Reports More Meaningful for Students & Families,” offers guidance on how schools can better communicate the results of students’ federally required annual tests so parents can be better informed about how their students are doing in school and work with educators to get appropriate supports.

The final report, “How Student, Family, and Community Engagement Impacts Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD),” discusses how schools can better communicate with families, caregivers, and communities to support students’ academic development and overall wellbeing, the numerous barriers that can get in the way of such engagement, and offers recommendations for federal, state, and local policymakers to help schools improve the ways in which they respond to their community’s needs.

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