The work to be done in family-school engagement does not just fall on the shoulders of the school, but requires ongoing energy, commitment, and engagement of all stakeholders. There are times when all involved need to take a reflective and introspective stance at what is said and done and how it supports the overall goal of family-school engagement from the bottom-up and the top-down.
Regardless of what we do, we must work within a paradigm of critical thinking and social justice, aiming at times to change our mindset. We must not simply accept all that we are given, but instead ask these types of questions:
- How do we interrogate the current philosophies and practices of family-school engagement?
- How can we dig below surface level meanings to understand fully what is being said and done?
- How do we move toward meaningful and authentic family-school engagement that balances knowledge and power between family, school, district, community (local and global), and government?
Reaching beyond the mandate of family-school engagement requires conscious attention and active decision-making at all levels (e.g., families, schools, communities, governments); this will bring us one step closer to authentic and meaningful partnerships that contribute to a more positive narrative, one that we can be proud of.
So then, where do we begin?
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