Engaging Families in the LCAP Development Process: Building Capacity At All Levels
During the 2016-17 school year, CDE Foundation launched the Engaging Families in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Development Process Initiative through funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The initiative is grounded in the goals and outcomes of a research-based framework, Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships that is designed to build capacity among district leaders, educators and families to partner with one another around student success, and create the conditions necessary for effective family engagement initiatives that are linked to student achievement and school improvement.
CDE Foundation is partnering with the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) and the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) to provide research-based family engagement professional development, technical assistance, and expand a professional learning network for district and school teams. The goal is to build capacity of school districts to develop, implement, and evaluate family engagement practices that lead to increased academic outcomes and meaningful input in the LPCA development process.
Through this initiative, CDE Foundation aims to advance parental involvement, one of the eight state priorities under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) policy. Districts are required to measure and report on their progress in seeking parent input in decision-making, and promoting parent participation in programs for specific groups of students. Through the enactment of the LCFF, California has demonstrated a commitment to equity by recognizing that we must invest more in students who are low income, learning English, or are in foster care to build a system that focuses on their success.
During the 2016-17 school year, CDE Foundation partnered with Families in Schools (FIS) and engaged district leaders from four school districts in the initiative, two from Alameda County (Fremont USD and San Leandro USD) and two from San Mateo County (Cabrillo USD and Jefferson ESD), serving approximately 52,000 students. These four districts participated in:
Family engagement district assessments
A professional learning network
During the 2017-18 school year, CDE Foundation is deepening our work with districts by providing capacity building and technical assistance to school teams, and facilitating learning communities for four school districts in San Mateo County. We are partnering with High Expectations Parental Service, an educational consulting firm, to provide a Family Engagement Learning Institute and ongoing technical assistance designed to build the capacity of school teams to develop, implement, and evaluate family engagement practices that lead to increased academic outcomes.
Participating schools engage teams of principals, educators, families, and community partners in professional development. This multi-stakeholder approach helps to further collaboration at the school level and develop family-school partnerships that are critical for student success.
We are partnering with Californians for Justice (CFJ) to provide capacity building for LCAP Advisory Committees to further develop districts’ capacity for meaningful parent engagement in the LCAP development process.
Key Objectives of Capacity Building for Districts and School Teams:
School teams use Cycle of Inquiry and school achievement data to develop family engagement action plans aligned with goals in the school site pans and the LCAP.
Deepen district and school teams’ understanding of how to align research-based family engagement practices with school site plans, LCAP goals, and California Dashboard indicators.
Deepen understanding of family engagement as an equity strategy for school site planning and LCAP development.
District LCAP Advisory Committees develop parent engagement activities and commitments aligned with school site plans and LCAP.
Teneh Weller facilitates the Family Engagement Learning Institute for school teams from districts in San Mateo County.
Families in Schools identified school districts’ needs and provided recommendations for improving the quality and effectiveness of family engagement in the district assessment reports. The findings were shared with various stakeholders in each district, like parent leadership groups, school board trustees, etc., and were utilized in the 2017-18 LCAP design work and development of the LCPA goal for parental involvement.
One district completely revised their LCAP family and community engagement goal to: “The district will actively engage with families and the community at large to build reciprocal relationships that promote and support the positive social, emotional and academic development of our students.” The FIS district assessment report on family engagement is cited in the LCAP and the specific issues and opportunities of growth are included. Activities and metrics were revised to reflect the new goal.
Outcomes to date from the 2017-18 school year
During the Family Engagement Learning Institute in the fall of 2017, school teams developed family engagement action plans aimed at focusing efforts on academic achievement. School teams reflected on school achievement data and identified areas for growth. They chose one achievement goal and designed family engagement activities linked to learning and that directly support their goal. They were encouraged to repurpose family engagement activities that already occur in their schools, like back-to-school night or parent-teacher conferences by providing opportunities for parents to learn about ways about ways they can support their children’s learning outside the classroom.
CDE Foundation created a video of a family engagement event that a school team from the San Mateo-Foster City School District designed to increase reading comprehension and improve literacy.
Accessing Resources on Family Engagement through Collaboration in Common
CDE Foundation will utilize Collaboration in Common (CiC), a virtual platform for organizing professional learning communities and resource sharing, to develop and expand the Professional Learning Networks and further build district and school teams’ capacities.The LCAP Priority 3: Parental Involvement Channel on CiC includes resources on family engagement have been curated by California Department of Education (CDE) staff, and includes the Department of Education and California frameworks on family engagement, toolkits, and research on family engagement practices.
The new Family Engagement Toolkit, published by CDE in collaboration with WestEd, provides districts and schools with practical planning and evaluation tools that support efforts to engage all families, particularly those of underrepresented and under served students. CDE Foundation encourages district leaders, educators, family engagement coordinators, and parent liaisons to engage with the resources on CiC, create professional learning communities within and across schools and districts, and contribute to the knowledge base on effective family engagement.