How Do I Share Information? Let Me Count the Ways

Sometimes, communication with families is just about sharing information – details about school community events, policies, fundraisers, etc. Today, there are so many communication strategies to choose from. Why not apply the principle of differentiation in order to ensure that school/class messages are received in a timely and balanced way by the greatest number of families possible?

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Special Forks, Broken Lamps, and Lullabies: Engaging Families Through Story


Family stories allow school communities to connect with families in ways they had not thought possible – with those who have come before, those who are here, and those who are yet to be.

Stories . . . provide all the vital instruction we need to live a useful, necessary, and unbounded life – a life of meaning, a life worth      remembering. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés

We all have family stories. Some long, some short; some happy, some sad; some full of struggle, some full of success; some outrageously unbelievable and some extraordinarily funny. What better way to connect with families than to share a story or two? Continue reading

The Youth Connection: At the Heart of Secondary Family Engagement


The Spirit of Youth (St. Dominic’s High School,  Bracebridge, ON)

Engaging families of youth can often be challenging. Factors such as multiple teachers, increasingly complex homework assignments, out-of-school activities, prior experiences, even the growing independence and autonomy of youth may present a landscape in which families feel out of their comfort zone. School communities, in collaboration with youth and families, can promote family engagement both in and out of school, repositioning all as equally invested in student well-being, academic achievement, and lifelong success. Continue reading

Learning to Do School. . . This Time as Parent


Children and families arrive at the school doors, full of possibility. As children learn to do school, parents and families learn to do school all over again, this time with a much different purpose.

The role of parents and families is discussed at length in research publications, curriculum and policy documents, even the media where families are charged, as consumers, with providing just the right school supplies, clothing, even snacks to help their children fit in, belong, and be successful.

There are so many decisions to make, so many bits of advice, and so many ways of being in school and society. Where do we begin? Continue reading