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The Family Engagement Core Competencies: Preparing Educators to Reflect, Connect, Collaborate, and Lead Alongside Families

Last summer, the National Association for Family School and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) released, in partnership with AACTE and other vital partners, findings of our national survey of educator preparation programs. We thank many of the AACTE members who responded to the survey the purpose of which was to investigate how educators are prepared to engage families and communities in their practice.  Results of the research showed that only half of educator preparation programs have a standalone course on family and community engagement and nearly all struggle to embed family and community engagement topics throughout their curriculum meaningfully.  This is unfortunate, particularly in light of the teacher shortage crisis,  given that strong respectful relationships with families and communities are key reasons that educators choose to stay in the profession.

Findings from the National Survey of Colleges and Universities Preparing Educators for Family Engagement

Happy family talking with their son's teacher in the office

“Teacher education programs need more guidance on how to include family engagement.” Department Chair, Early Childhood/Elementary Education, Public University

“We have recently hired faculty for whom family engagement is a focus. We will be incorporating more family engagement activities and opportunities for learning more about how to engage families.” Department Chair, General Education, Public University

 “Graduates feel moderately prepared [for family engagement].  They remark that more focus in this area would be useful. Employer surveys confirm this.” Department Chair, Early Childhood and Special Education, Private University

These are just some of the many ideas and insights that higher education faculty and department chairs shared with the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) via its National Survey of Colleges and Universities Preparing Educators for Family Engagement.  Our thanks to everyone who completed the survey, which was designed to understand how educator preparation programs are preparing education candidates to engage and work with families and communities.  The survey was conducted in partnership with AACTE, CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation), MAEC (Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium), NEA (National Education Association), and faculty and state leaders who are part of NAFSCE’s Pre-service Family Engagement Consortium.

Survey EPPs on Preparing Educators for Equitable Family Engagement

African american family drawing with color pencilsDecades of research confirm the importance of families, schools, and community working together to launch students on successful trajectories. Yet, teachers attribute lack of preparation as one of their greatest barriers to building relationships with families and their greatest fear for failure. As a result, in January of 2020, the National Association for Family School and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) partnered with AACTE, CAEP, MAEC, the NEA, and selected faculty and state leaders to form the Pre-Service Family Engagement Consortium to enhance how educators are prepared to engage families and communities.

Take Our Survey: Preparing Educators for Family Engagement

Family sitting at a table togetherThe National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) is delighted to join with AACTE and an array of partners—the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC), and the National Education Association (NEA)—to expand our understanding of how educators are prepared for family engagement.  As part of this project, we are inviting department heads and chairs of colleges of teacher education to complete our National Survey of Educator Preparation in Family Engagement by October 31. The goal of the survey is to map how educator preparation programs are preparing education candidates for effective family engagement, identify promising practices, and learn and share innovative ideas.  

Preparing Educators for Family Engagement 

Engaging families and communities in learning has always been foundational to student success. Yet, as our nation sets a path forward for education this school year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the reinvigorated movement for racial justice, family and community engagement is more important than ever before. Many educators, however, are not well-prepared to engage families and communities meaningfully.

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