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Authentic Engagement Practices

How are educational partners involved in the development and yearly refinement of the LEA’s vision, LCAP development and implementation, and school-wide learner outcomes?

Be sure to conduct measurement on an ongoing basis, and focus on both quantitative and qualitative data. Here’s a list of some strategies for identifying current trust levels between educators, schools, and families, along with explanations on how to use each:


  1. Surveys and Questionnaires:
  • Develop surveys or questionnaires designed to assess perceptions of trust among educators, students, and families.
  • Include questions about communication, collaboration, and satisfaction with the educational experience.
  • Analyze survey responses to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement in building trust.


  1. Focus Groups and Empathy Interviews:
  • Organize focus groups or conduct empathy interviews with representatives from students, educators, parents, and community members.
  • Encourage open and honest dialogue about perceptions of trust and communication within the school community.
  • Use qualitative data from these discussions to gain deeper insights into factors influencing trust levels.


  1. Review of Past Communication:
  • Examine past communication between educators and families, including newsletters, emails, and school announcements.
  • Assess the frequency, clarity, and effectiveness of communication channels used by the school.
  • Identify any patterns or issues that may impact trust levels among stakeholders.


  1. Attendance and Participation Rates:
  • Monitor attendance and participation rates at school events, parent-teacher conferences, and PTA meetings.
  • Low attendance rates may indicate underlying issues related to trust or engagement within the school community.
  • Use attendance data to target outreach efforts and increase participation among families.


  1. Feedback Mechanisms:
  • Implement feedback mechanisms such as suggestion boxes, online forms, or anonymous feedback platforms.
  • Encourage educators, students, and families to provide feedback on their experiences and perceptions of trust.
  • Regularly review and analyze feedback to identify common themes and areas for improvement.


  1. Student Performance and Behavior:
  • Assess student performance and behavior patterns within the school environment.
  • Positive academic outcomes and behavioral indicators may suggest a high level of trust and engagement between educators, students, and families.
  • Identify any correlations between trust levels and student success metrics.


  1. Community Partnerships and Outreach:
  • Evaluate existing partnerships with community organizations and local businesses.
  • Assess the level of involvement and support from external stakeholders in school initiatives and activities.
  • Strengthening community partnerships can enhance trust and collaboration within the school community.


By implementing these strategies and analyzing the findings, educators, school administrators, and district-level staff can gain valuable insights into the current levels of trust between educators, schools, and families. This understanding can inform targeted efforts to strengthen relationships, improve communication, and promote collaboration within the school community.

Establish ongoing steps for effective data collection through regular surveys, workshop evaluations, empathy interviews, home visits, observations, and focus groups.

As a team, recognize, and celebrate the contributions and existing connections of parents and families while maintaining a focus on their aspirations and desires for their children’s education.

Develop deliberate and meaningful relationships guided by mutual respect and confidence among students, staff, educators, community partners, and families by fostering a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere across all educational settings, including preschools.

Facilitate opportunities and resources for parents and families to establish and maintain active participation in advisory groups and other parent-led associations, such as the Parent Advisory Committee, English Learner Parent Advisory Committee, LEA wellness councils, and additional LEA/site level councils responsible for organizing training, fundraising, and other events for parents.

Offer translation services, particularly simultaneous translation whenever feasible, for parents and families who primarily speak languages other than English, and incorporate opportunities for inquiries and clarification

Audio Feedback Interviews:

    • Conduct audio-recorded focus groups with stakeholders typically absent from decision-making.
    • Discuss identified equity challenges.
    • Transcribe and edit data to highlight key themes for staff meetings.

Listening Campaigns:

    • Conduct interviews or focus groups to gather anonymous quotes by theme.
    • Share data back to the community for reflection and growth.

Equity Participation Tracker:

    • Track classroom participation by various factors to study micro-pedagogies of equity.


    • Conduct an in-depth exploration of campus subcultures through interviews, observations, and reflections.
    • Obtain permission from parents and students before investigation.


    • Facilitate dialogue to draw out experiences and perspectives of marginalized groups.
    • Encourage listening and reflection on central equity challenges.

Home Visits:

    • Conduct visits to gain insights into family dynamics and student aspirations.
    • Respect families’ preferences for visit locations.

Shadowing a Student:

    • Empathetically understand a student’s experience by shadowing them throughout the school day.
    • Focus on students outside the sphere of success.

Equity-Focused Classroom Scan:

    • Note demographic distributions across different class types.
    • Facilitate leadership discussions on equity and access.

Structured Meeting Observations:

    • Observe team meetings to note participation dynamics and emotional responses.
    • Capture observations on group dynamics and interactions.

Student-Led Community Walks:

    • Collaborate with students to design professional learning experiences for educators.
    • Empower students to share insights about their community and culture.

These strategies offer diverse approaches to gathering data and insights to address equity challenges effectively.

Community Partnerships for Systems Change (CPSC)

For additional information about engagement frameworks, please view our dedicated module on CEI's "Community Partnerships for Systems Change" tool.
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