Hi Jessica, In some communities in which I have worked, the first step is to meet in neutral space like community centers, churches/houses of worship, sporting events, etc. The idea is to meet family members in non-threatening environments in which the first conversations are not about the goings on at school or the academic performance of a child. The purpose it to connect on a personal level and to demonstrate deep caring for the development of the child/children. Steve
Hi Nicole, The focus of my research was to understand the strategies set of identified struggling schools were using to support their students. One part of the project was proactive family outreach. My conversations were limited to the teachers and administrators who participated. Nevertheless, I think as educators we take for granted that we know best how to engage families and other supportive adults. (There are countless pizzas and other assorted foods that went uneaten because educators--myself included--believed feed them and they will come). I think the way to develop models that work towards more meaningful engagement must involve the parents and the community in shaping and co-leading. While it is not directly related to my original post, I think there are ways to share the responsibility with the parents--a distributed model of engagement, if you will. But I want to be cautious about saying more, lest I perpetuate the misconception that I (or any individual) has the right answer.