Equity-Based Family Engagement

sma 127

This blog was originally published on Teachers’ Voice on January 26th, 2021. It has been republished here with permission.

I’d like to share some tips for working with families through a resource roundup/collection of our most popular articles on this topic. At Confianza, as we coach, train, and support educators, we know that sharing strategies is only half of what it takes to work successfully with all students and especially growingly diverse communities. The other half is what we call an “equity-based approach” where we all work to consistently check our own mindsets and keep focused on others’ perspectives, not just our own.

An equity-based approach points out the injustices happening through bias, stereotyping, and prejudice and not engaging self-reflection and the unpacking of our own biases. These terms need defining in order to have a fully transparent culture that is equity-based and always striving for equity for all.

Bias: negative labels, words, and actions that reflect a stereotype

Stereotype: distorted truths, generalizations, or exaggerated beliefs or images about a group and does not allow for individual variation

Implicit Bias or Unconscious Bias: attitudes or beliefs that occur without our awareness

Prejudice: preconceived point of view or opinion

Anti-Bias: challenging bias in inclusive ways that address bias including anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-ableist, anti-classist, anti-colonial, and other forms of institutionalized discrimination

For an equity-based mindset to work, an anti-bias mindset is key. Much of the root causes of how we perceive disengagement is through our own set of biases. Let’s unpack some statements through an equity-based approach:

Assumption #1: This student doesn’t have any support at home.

Communicating in absolutes like “any”, “none”, or “never”, for example, connote a fixed mindset, a black and white way of being. We need to foster a growth mindset and a more gray way of seeking to understand those we serve. Often there is more to learn about the household, about the family and we need to do the work to bridge to where they are, not to where we think they need to be. We may be devaluing what supports may exist at home. We can consider:

  • Who is at home with the child?
  • Are their role models at home or in the community?
  • What is our goal for the child?
  • Are they the same goals that the family has?

Read more about examining your own biases in We Must Always Look Inward, and, especially for White educators, Social Justice and Anti-Bias Education Steps for the White Educator.

Assumption #2: If only the family would just get involved, the student would do better in school.

Traditionally, we often refer to schools engaging with families as parental involvement. However, this term can be limiting. First, using the word “parents” is not an inclusive way of referring to the home communities of our students, where many may be multi-generational, caregivers, or guardians. Second, the word “involvement” is problematic. Involvement connotes something that is being done to families, more of a one-way communication path from the school to the home. Whereas, “engagement” is a term that connotes something that is being done with families in a reciprocal way. Engagement is more of a two-way street, a proactive partnership that is built on mutual respect and shared goals. We can probe deeper by finding the answers to these questions:

  • Does the student live with a caregiver who needs to work several jobs and simply isn’t available?
  • Does this family know that the school values their perspective? Or, backing up, does the school value all families’ perspectives in words and actions?
  • Are the school and classrooms welcoming, providing access to families from other language and culture backgrounds?
  • Do we know families’ hopes and dreams for the child?

Assumption #3: ELL parents just do not participate actively in conferences.

There are many varying cultural values on the role of parents/families and schooling for their children. Values manifest in different behaviors which can be understood, especially from the dominant American culture where parents are often expected to be physically present at home and at school for their child. Some cultures view the role of the family to take care of children at home, fostering independence on the part of the student at school. Others view it as inappropriate or disrespectful to get involved at school. None of these perspectives state that families don’t care about their children’s education, as the statement can infer, from a deficit-based perspective. We should refrain from making value statements on an entire family or a culture if the adults are not as present in schooling as we might expect. Questions to dig deeper may be:

  • What are the cultural values present in this home culture?
  • What language and/or cultural barriers may exist that we need to build bridges across?
  • Do we explicitly value many types of family engagement or only one, more traditional “American” or White type of family engagement?

We all know how important it is to have partnerships with families as one key element of student success. However, to only focus on the things that aren’t working isn’t completely productive and doesn’t necessarily move things forward. I hope this set of tips and resources for bringing an equity-based approach into your family engagement strategy is useful. I invite you to explore more below!

Watch our webinar series with Teaching Channel: Confianza Webinar Series for Instructional Leaders: Equity-Based Support for Multilingual Students & Families.


Learners Edge Offers 120+ Self-Paced, Online,
Graduate Credit Continuing Education Courses for Teachers

Explore All Courses Now!

127 Replies to “Equity-Based Family Engagement”

  1. cialis from canadian pharmacies
    canadian pharmacies without prescription canadian pharcharmy online cialis canadian generic viagra order viagra [url=https://public.sitejot.com/birchchord66.html]viagra without a doctor prescription in canada[/url] canadian-pharcharmy- viagra dosages cialis from canada buy medication online [url=https://www.asmonsoon.com/story.php?title=how-to-order-and-also-usage-your-common-cialis-online-without-prescription#discuss]cialis from canadian pharmacies[/url]
    free viagra sample free viagra sample natural alternatives to viagra viagra india [url=http://aandp.net/forum/member.php?action=profile&uid=253377]ed drugs online from canada[/url]

  2. cialis low price
    viagra pills for sale buy viagra without a prescription generic cialis canada viagra for women [url=https://www.community.naropa.edu/members/peppercherry83]viagra cost[/url] canadadrugpharmacy.com cheap viagra india viagra online prescription canadian cialis reviews [url=http://www.pearltrees.com/pairhook48]canadian medications[/url]
    low cost viagra canadian pharmacy com cialis canadian viamedic .com [url=https://hubpages.com/@rollbutter80]canadian pharmacy com[/url]

  3. real cialis
    hypnosis orgasm northwestern pharmacy canada best prices for cialis viagra canadian [url=https://trade-britanica.trade/wiki/Exactly_how_To_Order_And_Usage_Your_Common_Cialis_Online_Without_Prescription]canadian generic viagra[/url] prescriptions canada viagra without a doctor prescription from canada buy viagra usa buy generic cialis canadian pharmacy [url=http://york-talisman.com.ua/user/beautytuna65/]buy viagra online without script[/url]
    buy medication online herbal viagra reviews cheap generic viagra online onlinepharmacy.com [url=https://lovebookmark.win/story.php?title=exactly-how-to-order-as-well-as-use-your-common-cialis-online-without-prescription#discuss]shopping online canada[/url]

  4. Hi, just required you to know I he added your site to my Google bookmarks due to your layout. But seriously, I believe your internet site has 1 in the freshest theme I??ve came across. It extremely helps make reading your blog significantly easier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *