This framework was designed to help schools develop effective and lasting relationships with families to support their children’s learning. It provides districts and schools with guidance for developing family engagement plans within their existing continuous improvement plans, which address the varied needs of Ohio’s families and their children and youth.
The framework can help schools link their family engagement planning with ongoing school improvement efforts. It includes assessment tools, strategies and descriptions of action steps that educators, families and community members can take to strengthen the connection between home and school.
The following resources will encourage discussion about how each school can best strengthen and engage families in the process of educating their children.
Stage1: Focused Plan
Identify your Family Engagement Needs
Family engagement is a key school improvement strategy for supporting student success. In Stage I, the Decision Framework and other tools are used to assess key aspects of family engagement in a district or building. A number of tools are presented to help with Step 1, including the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE’s) Parent and Family Involvement Survey and Focus Group Questions.
To begin the planning process, identify your school or district’s family engagement needs through analysis of family engagement data. Look at more information than just the number of parents and caregivers who attend an event. The Parent Survey and Focus Group Guidance and Questions will assist you in gathering a more complete and thorough picture of your family engagement needs. Use the Family Engagement Needs Assessment Cross-Walk to help in your review of your survey results, Decision Framework data and Title I requirements.
Tools available to assist your team with Stage I
Prioritizing Needs and Choosing Family Engagement Goals
By using the tools above, rank the family engagement needs and choose one or two priorities to address as your family engagement goals. If your top needs are welcoming and/or communication activities, list these foundational steps as your highest priority.
The plan also should address the school’s student performance and school climate goals, which are generally identified during school improvement planning. All goals will be addressed in the next stage, when your team chooses action strategies to support the plan.
Stage 2: Developing a Focused Family Engagement Plan
Once a school district has identified goals, it is ready to move into Stage 2 and choose strategies and action steps. No one strategy or action step will reach all families or meet all family engagement needs. Rather, comprehensive family engagement plans combine a number of intensive, targeted and universal approaches for engaging the families of all students. This section presents resources that address a variety of issues and a guide for prioritizing your plan.
The figure above shows the levels of support a school can provide.
Universal services, programs and supports are given to the families of all students and provide the foundation for engaging and establishing partnerships with families.
Targeted programs and services are additional supports given to families of students who need more than the universal practices. These families often need early academic or behavioral interventions and other outreach efforts.
Intensive programs and services are appropriate for families of students who are not successful with the targeted assistance and require individualized, intensive interventions to maximize their progress. Families and students may need multiple school and community supports coordinated in addition to the universal and/or targeted services.
How to Choose Strategies and Action Steps to Engage Families
In Stage 1, your team identified goals for the plan that address these areas: family engagement, student performance and school climate. If needed, use the The Family Engagement Planning Worksheet can help your team complete the goal development process.
Step 1 - Selecting Strategies and Action Steps
The following planning steps can help you create a focused family engagement plan by identifying and prioritizing your family engagement needs, then selecting proven strategies and practices to create a focused family engagement plan to reach your goals. If needed, use the Family Engagement Planning Worksheet (PDF) to help your team complete the goal development process.
Begin by choosing strategies and action steps for your family engagement goals. Use the Engaging Families: Universal, Targeted and Intensive Action Steps below for strategies and action steps to effectively engage families.
Review and choose family engagement programs or action steps that address the challenges and solutions that arose from the conversation. The links below give information about evidence-based programs and research-based action steps to support each district’s parent engagement, student performance and climate goals.
Action Steps to Address Specific Issues and Populations of Families
Here are some questions to consider in writing your plan.
- Is the action step linked logically to the goal in mind?
- Is there enough of this action/program/service to have the desired impact?
- Does the timing of the action step during the year help families prevent problems or give families time to build positive relationships with the school?
- Does the plan address barriers to family participation? (i.e. time of day, location, cost, child care, transportation, language, etc.)?
- Does the strategy reach the desired group of students/families? (i.e. Universal, Targeted, Intensive)?
- Does your action plan meet Title I parent involvement requirements?
The following tools may be used to check your plan's effectiveness for reaching the intended goals and ensure it is in compliance with Title 1 parent involvement requirements:
Once the plan is developed, the next stage is implementation. Districts and schools can use the Ohio Improvement Process Stage 3 tool to create an implementation plan and timeline.