Join the Celebration: Family Engagement in Education Week

Kentucky Schools and Families Unite to Forge a Path to Student Success

Kentucky Family Engagement in Education Week is November 13th-17th. Year after year, I get excited about this week because it’s an opportunity to highlight the wonderful ways that families, schools, and communities across the state work together to support student success.

Normally, this behind-the-scenes work involves schools creating systems and processes to ensure that every student has a team of adults, from inside and outside the school, working to launch them to success. It rarely makes the front page of newspapers, but it is the vital work of creating the conditions for success in Kentucky schools.

As the Family Friendly Schools Director with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, I have the pleasure of reading about the great things happening across our state through accounts from family-school teams that are working to improve the systems for family-school partnerships. I read about how schools are engaging families of multilingual learners and families of students with special needs, ensuring that every family has multiple opportunities to talk regularly with their child’s teachers, and ensuring that teachers and school staff are getting the support they need to effectively collaborate with families.

All these efforts are based on research that stretches back decades, and new research continues to support that families and communities are crucial elements in student success. A recent book, Everyone Wins: The Evidence for Family-School Partnerships & Implications for Practice, outlines how everyone—not just students—wins when families and schools work together. These practices have led to better staff retention in schools, help families feel more confident in their ability to support their child, and have the potential to positively transform the schools and districts using them.

While there is a part we can all play in supporting Kentucky schools, school leaders across the state have a unique opportunity to work with staff, families, and community partners to create the conditions for effective engagement. While this work has long been established as important, it has sometimes been challenging for schools to evaluate where they are in the process and to develop a plan to improve. I’m proud to support schools through such a process with the Family Friendly School certification. You can find more information about this certification at

No matter who you are, I hope you will join us in celebrating Kentucky Family Engagement in Education Week by learning more about what your local school is doing to support family-school partnerships, sharing social media posts from schools and organizations this week, and reflecting on how your own family supported your education.

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