top of page

What do we mean by Family Engagement?

Family engagement is a shared responsibility in which schools and other community agencies and organizations are committed to reaching out to engage families in meaningful ways and in which families are committed to actively supporting their children's learning and development.


Family engagement is continuous across a child’s life and entails enduring commitment but changing parent roles as children mature into young adulthood.  


What do we mean by High-Impact

Family Engagement?

High-impact family and community engagement is collaborative, culturally competent, and focused on improving children’s learning.

Some examples of high-impact strategies are:

  • Building personal relationships, respect, and mutual understanding with families through home visits, community walks, and class meetings.

  • Sharing data with families about student skill levels.

  • Modeling effective teaching practices so families can use them at home.

  • Listening to families about their children’s interests and challenges, then using this information to differentiate instruction.

  • Incorporating content from families’ home cultures into classroom lessons.

  • Aligning family engagement activities with school improvement goals.


Practices like these are even more effective when combined. Contrast these with traditional events and activities for families, which research finds have small effects on student achievement.

What are the barriers to Family Engagement?

We know that engaging families is critical for student success—in academics and social-emotional learning— as well as for the overall school climate.  Various research has identified, among others, common factors that can prevent families from effectively engaging with school.

Common Barriers to Family Engagement:
The following factors are commonly cited in research as barriers preventing families from engaging in their child's educational experience:

  • The busy work schedule for parents achievement.

  • Childcare needs

  • Staff and school seem too busy

  • Fears that adults at school will treat their children differently if they raise a concern

  • Lack of trust

  • Lack of information about involvement opportunities

  • Lack of guidance on how to communicate with the school

  • Transportation-related challenges

  • Low feelings of belonging with the school community 

Many of these barriers can be overcome when the school and community understand the underlying obstacle or challenge.

Since the barriers are larger than the family then so is the solution. We believe in Family and Community Engagement.

Effective family engagement cuts across and reinforces learning in the multiple settings where children learn- at home, in prekindergarten programs, in school, in after-school programs, in faith-based institutions, and in the community.  The Alexander City School Family and Community Engagement program has adopted the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships (Version 2) as a compass or guide for the Family And Community Engagement program. The framework is designed to support the development of family engagement strategies, policies, and programs. It utilizes best practices and existing research to help all stakeholders "chart a path toward effective family engagement efforts that are linked to student achievement and school improvement."  

The Alexander City School Family and Community Engagement program upholds the definition of family engagement as given by the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (

To learn more about the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships (Version 2) visit

Screen Shot 2020-07-17 at 10.webp
bottom of page