Designing parent engagement strategies

In addition to engaging students, your team should consider how to engage and involve parents and guardians.

Questions to ask:
  • How will your team encourage parents to be active in the classroom and throughout the school?
  • What structures will be put in place to engage parents in meaningful, two-way interactions about student learning?
  • Will your team ask parents to participate meaningfully in teacher interviews and evaluation and/or to serve on the school governance council (as existing teams have done)?
  • Will your team reach out to parents through culturally inclusive activities? Some teams ask parents to plan activities related to the cultures of their families in order to gain their trust. For example, in one school with a high percentage of students whose families are immigrants from Mexico, teams ask parents to plan celebrations for holidays like Day of the Dead.



Anne T. Henderson provides numerous strategies and resources for forming strong relationships between families and schools.


The National Education Association identifies strategies used in 16 different communities for engaging parents and other community members.


Kim Farris-Berg writes, “If the educators in our schools don’t have the authority to make decisions influencing school success, then how could they share any authority with parents and students?”

Sample family handbooks


This family handbook is a means for the team of teachers to communicate with families about the pathways for becoming an artist, scholar, and citizen at Boston Arts Academy.