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Family Engagement Toolkit: Continuous Improvement Through an Equity Lens

By Nancy Bodenhausen, Margit Birge

Produced by California Department of Education


Effective family engagement contributes to improved student outcomes and to closing persistent achievement gaps among students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and family income levels.

Additionally, experts advocate for family engagement as an essential element of building the pathway to college and career readiness for all students, and a critical component of a systems approach to school turnaround.

This toolkit, produced by the California Department of Education, was developed to provide districts and schools with practical planning and evaluation tools that support efforts to engage all families, particularly those of underrepresented and underserved students.

The toolkit is designed to address the following challenges and questions:


  • Family engagement activities are often isolated from other initiatives in districts
  • Family engagement staff in districts often work in a silo, not in collaboration with other district departments
  • Families of low-income students and families of students of color are often underrepresented in family engagement activities
  • Educators struggle with how to evaluate family engagement programs and activities, beyond tracking the number of participants attending events
  • While opportunities for family members to gain skills and knowledge are growing, building educators’ capacity to partner with families is not yet a focus in many districts


  • How can districts and schools increase the engagement of underrepresented families?
  • How can we help teachers and administrators become more skilled and comfortable working with all families?
  • What kind of family engagement activities are likely to lead to the biggest learning advances for students?
  • How can districts and schools know if their family engagement efforts are working?

Download editable planning and evaluation templates.

Resource Details

Product Information

Copyright: 2017
Format: PDF
Pages: 72
Publisher: California Department of Education