Connecting Families and Schools: A New Framework

The U.S. Department of Education, the Institute for Educational Leadership board members, and Karen Mapp of the Harvard Ed School unveiled their jointly-created “Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships,” and it’s a quick read worthy of the eyes of anyone who’s ever wondered how to get families and schools working together.

Most noteworthy is the recognition within the framework that both families and schools often require increased capacity for facilitating and maintaining such partnerships. More specifically:

If effective cradle-to-career educational partnerships between home and school are to be implemented with fidelity and sustained, engagement initiatives must include a concerted focus on developing adult capacity, whether through pre- and in-service professional development for educators; academies, workshops, seminars, and workplace trainings for families; or as an integrated part of parent-teacher partnership activities.


The framework, itself is only three pages long (plus requisite infographic), so I won’t dissect it too much here. What I will point to are the successful examples of the kinds of programs the Framework can help to create. It’s not as easy to find on page 3 of the Frequently Asked Questions, but helps point interested folks to models of what’s possible:

The idea of this framework sits well with me as an immediately actionable way of thinking about bringing community members and schools together to support students’ learning. It does the further work of honoring the households from which students arrive at schools by outlining a key outcome for school and program staff as the ability to “honor and recognize families’ funds of knowledge.”

I’ll be interested in the next few months to see how more specifics and examples of programs working through this framework come to light. For right now, this looks like a helpful tool and frame for doing some important work in our schools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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