Family Engagement

High school family visit
High school family visit. Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

While we have long known that families are integral to strong attendance habits, the simultaneous global pandemic and spotlight on racism across the United States have pushed some systems to think more carefully about the way they have included and collaborated with families, especially Black and Latinx families. Education leaders have an opportunity to redefine the relationship between families and schools so that schools function in an intentionally equity-driven, anti-racist way that values family expertise, as illustrated by this dual capacity-building framework for family-school partnerships. While some of the questions and strategies in this section are not explicitly calling out attendance, we know that a deeper relationship with families has a critical impact on attendance and on student outcomes.

Guiding Questions

  • What practices did your school or district develop to connect with families during remote and hybrid learning that you want to retain?
  • In what ways does your school or district build authentic, equity-driven relationships with families? Where can you expand those practices?
Examples, Tools and Strategies
Strategies Aligned Resources

Make home visits

Create a home-visit plan to deliver books, devices or other items to families. Consistently, school leaders that implemented home visits, whether annually or more regularly, reported that they helped the school build a strong relationship with families and ultimately improved attendance.

FutureEd’s home-visit guide + Add to Action Plan will help schools set up a practice across grades.

Give family nudges

Direct communication in the form of nudges, quick easy reminders, has been shown to be effective in increasing a student’s attendance. It also creates an immediate and intimate connection between school and home. Create a family-nudge plan using phone, text, email or paper letters.

Here’s a quick video + Add to Action Plan from Skyward that can help an attendance aid generate letters to families, though the best results come from more personalized efforts. Education Next published this article + Add to Action Plan with examples of messages one district used for post cards, with remarkable results.

Communicate the importance of building a culture of attendance 

Creating a culture that values good attendance is important and consistency is a key part of that. Communication about this important issue must be ongoing 

This presentation + Add to Action Plan shares both a sample family event calendar and communication calendar on pages 16-17 with suggestions for each month to help you map out your year of attendance outreach.