Module 5: Diverse Cultures and Voices
Research shows a positive correlation between parent engagement in schools and student achievement. Therefore, it is critical for schools to understand the families of the students they serve. Being aware of families' strengths, assets, skills and desires can help schools work with families to create supports and expectations for students, while defining each partner's unique and important role in the educational process.

It is easy for educators to work with parents and families who look and act in familiar ways. The challenge and the opportunity is to find respectful, compassionate ways to work with families who are not familiar. Some ways families may differ include:

  • Dress and complexion.
  • Language and culture.
  • Having healthy, encouraging experiences with the school or district.
  • Not being familiar with American schools or school in general.

Family members who are challenged because they have no experience with supportive schools, whose child has been suspended yet again, or who must navigate policy to get services for their child may not be easy to work with. They are worried, scared or frustrated. If the goal is to teach all children, schools and districts must reach all parents and all families--and make them feel welcome.

This module focuses on the importance of understanding the needs of parents and families. All families want their child to be happy and safe, maximize their potential, live productively, and have a bright future.

Check out the Toolkit section where you will find parent voices on video, telling their own stories and expressing their thoughts on parenting, communicating, volunteering, decision making, learning at home, and collaborating in the educational process. They are inspiring and can be used to make diverse families feel part of the school community.

Note: Schools and districts will benefit most if they begin with Module 1. This first module is designed to help you develop systems and strategies to improve family engagement efforts and build community partnerships. Get started on your own framework using the PowerPoint and the Family Engagement Framework Guidance available on the Module 1 Toolkit page.

  •  - 10/10/14
  •  - 10/2/14
  • Action Plan Template - 9/26/14
    Use this template to develop specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals for your action plan