Collaboration in Action

People talking in school hallwayReal-world examples of school districts using evidence-based strategies for family and community collaboration (FCC) can serve as a guide to help other districts put research into practice. Here, we profile three school districts using promising practices to overcome challenges to FCC.  

While these districts vary in size, region, and populations served, all share a commitment to designing systems that promote authentic partnerships with all members of the school community. As do all districts, the districts we feature here still face some challenges (see Opportunities to Strengthen FCC), but they have had measurable successes that they attribute to integrating several key strategies. 

How can you use the district profiles?

The profiles offer tangible strategies and actionable information that other districts seeking to improve FCC can replicate and customize for their own contexts. By including key data about each district (e.g., community demographics, how FCC is funded), educators can identify commonalities and differences between the example districts and their own. The profiles can be used as a starting point for planning ongoing conversations, designing sustainable systems and strategies, and implementing cycles of continuous improvement. 

Explore the district profiles

Each district profile examines four strategies each district used to build and nurture improved capacity, strong relationships, and collaborative decisionmaking 

  • Cleveland Heights-University Heights (OH) 
    Strategies: Investing in FCC staff, empowering collaborative task forces, creating a shared mission among partners, and using feedback loops to strengthen two-way communication 
  • Moreno Valley Unified School District (CA) 
    Strategies: Sustaining two-way communication, providing services through partnerships, building family and staff capacity, valuing relationships, and recognizing contributions 
  • Tuscaloosa City Schools (AL) 
    Strategies: Facilitating collaboration for academic improvement, co-locating services, requesting specific support from community partners and families, and supporting teachers in FCC 

Creating District Profiles

To identify districts engaged in authentic FCC, we put out a national call for recommendations. We used a brief online survey to collect detailed information about the recommended districts’ strengths, strategies for FCC, and community partners. After reviewing all the recommended districts, we conducted screening calls with districts that met initial criteria. The three districts we chose to profile demonstrated exemplary practices and offered diverse sizes, geography, populations served, and FCC stories 

We conducted interviews and focus groups with district and school administrators, teachers, family members, students, and staff from community-based organizations to gather information about how districts achieve FCC goals. After analyzing participants’ insights, we identified successes districts experienced, challenges they overcame to achieve these successes, and key strategies that ultimately helped them achieve their outcomes. We organized and presented the districts’ stories in these profiles and in videos

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