INTRODUCTIONThe Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has long enjoyed a compelling history of engaging in meaningful partnerships with parents and the broader community in support of the success of the students we serve. Our commitment to being an organization that attracts, unifies and works with our diverse stakeholders in ways that truly make a difference in the lives of children precedes many of the state and federal mandates designed to accomplish that very goal. From the creation of the Bilingual Community Liaison Program more than three decades ago, as a basis to engage the historically under-represented, to pushing advisory groups to do and accomplish significantly more than laws required, SMMUSD has always sought to connect with parents. We have done so through multiple points of connection, opportunities for participation and leadership, and developing programs to promote and support the knowledge and skills needed for full access to every aspect of schooling.
Research indicates that families’ involvement in the education of their children directly and positively affects educational outcomes. Building on the understanding that parents are a child’s first and most important teachers, the partnership between home and school must be intentional and collaborative. There are research-based expectations for both, that conscientious district and schools should examine in the pursuit of quality family engagement. SMMUSD embraces the belief that ALL families want their children to be successful in school and all have a role regardless of the socio-economic status, racial and ethnic background, or education levels. Therefore, it is our responsibility to develop quality family, school/district and community partnerships.
CONTEXT FOR DEVELOPMENT OF FAMILY ENGAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
The development of the SMMUSD Family Engagement Framework is aligned with several shifts in the school district’s approach to improving student achievement and grounded in Excellence Through Equity philosophy. Under the direction of the superintendent, there is an emphasis placed on shared leadership that includes engaging all stakeholders in a systemic approach to addressing student needs -- this includes family and community members. In addition, the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) include the following goals:
Goal 1: All graduates are socially just, and ready for college and careers.
Goal 2: English Learners will become proficient in English while engaging in rigorous, culturally and linguistically responsive, standards-aligned curriculum.
Goal 3: All students and families engage in safe, well-maintained schools that are culturally responsive and conducive to 21st century learning.
Additionally, these are the same goals for the school site’s Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). To ensure that schools’ family engagement work is intentional, part of the core and not an add-on, sites are to create family engagement policies and goals that are based on the SMMUSD Family Engagement Framework and incorporated in the SPSA is LCAP Goal #3.
SMMUSD is committed to: building the schools’ and families’ capacity for strong parental engagement; ensuring effective involvement of parents; supporting partnerships among district schools, parents, and the community; and improving student academic achievement through district/school-wide activities and programs.
The SMMUSD framework goals and indicators provide guidance to our schools and district in developing and implementing effective family engagement practices that yield higher levels of student academic success and college and career readiness. It is based on the following research and frameworks:
• The Family Engagement California Framework: A tool for California School Districts to aid with the engagement of families in their children’s education. The framework describes 18 principles that are essential for family and community involvement. (2014)
• School Family and Community Partnerships: The National Network of School Partnership (NNSP), John Hopkins. NNPS research-based approaches provides guidance to organize and sustain programs of family engagement. The research supports an increase in student success in school. (Joyce L. Epstein, PHD, 2009)