Overview

At ANet, we know that as a child’s primary decision-maker and first and forever teacher, families should have meaningful access to information and avenues to support their child’s learning and development. We also know that teaching and learning is resource intensive. The compilation below aims to slim down a suggested list of essential tools to support your school’s family engagement strategy.

Set Up Structures for Two-Way Communication 

Resource Description Ideas for Use 

Engaging Families Virtually

TNTP

A short guide with best practices for family outreach during remote teaching. aligned to four key pillars of engagement.

Use this as a mid-year pulse check: Are your current strategies aligned to these principles? Can you make small shifts for big impact?

Relationship Building Toolkit 

Flamboyan

An extensive guide with strategies and prompts to kickstart family partnerships at the beginning (and throughout) the year.  This guide is a good starting place. Begin by assessing the state of family relationships with this reflection tracker. Then choose a strategy in your action plan. 

SEL Engagement Survey

ANet & Panorama

A pre-made survey ready to launch, which can yield insights into climate & culture (3-56-12) and distance learning & well being (3-56-12 ).

Launch after break to help assess the state of distance learning and make decisions for spring. Or adapt these items for your own your own survey. This school uses surveys weekly. 

The Up-Goer Five Text Editor A simple website that allows you to enter text and see where your communication might be unclear. It recognizes only the 1,000 most used English words. Run a family newsletter or email through this “Up-Goer” and use the results to simplify your communication.
Talking Points An app to help teachers overcome language barriers – teachers write messages in English, families message back in their own language. Best used for individualized communication with families. When kids know that their family members and teachers are in the loop, they’re more likely to take responsibility for their own learning.
Remind An app for teachers to text updates to families. Includes 70 languages and options to share files and links, or conduct polls.

Best for reminders and updates. Send communication on a predictable basis so families know what to expect. 

Virtual Home Visit Guide 

Stand for Children

A guide that outlines the what, why, and how of conducting virtual home visits with families. If you’re new to home-visits, review this in-person guide from San Francisco Unified. Consider starting small and targeting a priority group of families. 
Family Newsletter Template This example, modified from an ANet partner school with guidance from Flamboyan, provides a template for a monthly family newsletter. Newsletters don’t have to be one-way! Note the ways that families are actively involved in this newsletter. Try posting monthly to a website or sending via email. 

Share Grade-Level Expectations

Resource Description Ideas for Use

Milestone Videos

Great Schools!

Two minute videos of teachers and students (K-12), unpacking what students should be able to do in reading, writing, and math each year.  Select a grade appropriate video to send directly to a family to strengthen home connections and empower the family to work collaboratively with teachers.

K-8 Family Guides

Seek Common Ground

Easy-to-read guides, in English and Spanish, detailing what to expect in grades K-8. Includes activities to support at home, tips for talking with teachers, and links to online resources. Select a grade appropriate guide to send to a family; reference this during interactions to discuss how their student is progressing with respect to grade level expectations.

High School Family Guides

PTA

Two & four page guides, in English and Spanish, detailing what to expect in high school. Includes activities to support at home and tips for talking with teachers. Reference this guide during family interactions to discuss how their teen is progressing with respect to grade level expectations. Offer space for questions. 

Readiness Check

Learning Heroes

A fun online quiz for students to take allowing families to get a gut check on how their child is doing with key math and reading skills. After a quiz, use these accessible data points as a starting place for a family conversation about grade level expectations. Provide personal insights to motivate families around a vision for what their student should know and be able to do.

Demystify Assessment Data 

Resource Description Ideas for Use

Family Guide to ANet Assessments

ANet

An overview of all types of ANet assessments, their purpose, and how to receive the results. Also in Spanish or in our marketing version. Before giving your next ANet interim, send this guide to families. Additionally, share some details on how you’ll be using the information to support each student.

Taking ANet Assessments at Home

ANet

General guidance for families to support their child in successfully taking an ANet assessment at home. Also in Spanish. Before, during, and after assessing at home, gather feedback from families to determine if there are any areas of concern, or ways you can better support. 

Take Home Reports

(math sample)

ANet

Individual student reports for each interim, including standards with the student’s highest and lowest performance. Reports include links to online lessons for more practice. ANet’s reports should be just one part of the the feedback you share with families each quarter. Consider pairing these with the engaging math or literacy ideas in the sections below.

Engaging Families with Data

ANet

A one-pager with the elements of effective feedback and tips for communicating formative assessment results with families. In PLCs, use this framework to plan plan how to share feedback with families. Try practicing in real time and then honing your language based on these suggestions. 

A Tool for Sharing Data 

ANet

This two minute video features a leadership team describing a tool they designed to share data from multiple assessments with families.  Watch this video in PLCs to spark ideas on how current assessment data is shared with families, considering the “why” behind the numbers.

Provide Meaningful Math Experiences at Home

Resource Description Ideas for Use

Talking Math 

Illustrative Mathematics

A set of pictures to discuss daily with students. Pictures come with a range of questions appropriate to what K-5 students should be learning. Share with families to give them a starting point for talking about math with their kids and model grade-appropriate questions to ask.

Talking Math with Your Kids

Christopher Danielson

A blog containing ideas for math projects and discussions based on everyday objects found at home.

Share ideas weekly or monthly with families, aligned with what’s being taught in class.

Figure This: Math Challenges 

NCTM

A set of 80 open-ended math questions based on real-world situations. Share one challenge weekly or monthly with families. Direct families to come up with solutions together.

Estimation 180 

Andrew Stadel

Simple daily prompts that ask students to estimate a quantity based on a photo. Families can spend a few minutes each day solving a task in order to build students’ number sense.

Why Doesn’t Yours Look Like Mine?

PEBC

A blog post that explains why the math students do now might look different from what older family members remember from school. Share this article to build investment in working with teachers to understand conceptual methods of learning math.

Progression Videos 

Graham Fletcher

A collection of K-5 videos that clearly illustrate math models and visuals for building understanding. Families and teachers can watch these videos to understand where students are developmentally and get ideas for strategies to move them along the learning progression.

Home Learning for Students Guide

ANet

High-quality, accessible, and free literacy resources for families—including printable resources for families who have limited web access.

Read through these resources on your own and select 1-2 that fit the needs of a particular family. Share reasonable expectations for use at home. 

Provide Meaningful Literacy Experiences at Home

Resource Description Ideas for Use

Family Guides

Seek Common Ground

Easy-to-read guides detailing what to expect in each grade (K-5), including activities to support at home, and tips for talking with teachers. Great for conferences. Review these guides together with families to help them understand what their child should be learning in literacy. 

Helping Your Child Read and Understand

Pacer Center

A two page overview of what children need to do across all grade-levels in order to read and how to help them do so. This article could be shared at the beginning of the year in a school newsletter to help families build their understanding of how children learn to read.

Reading Rockets for Parents

WETA

A compilation of easy to digest articles with plenty of expert opinions, resource links and action steps to support students’ literacy development.

Share one of these article as a follow-up to a conversation you may have had with a caregiver about literacy development, keeping the learning in context.

Free Decodable Readers

Bublup by Lisa Meechan

Free online decodable readers appropriate for grades K-2.  Families can use these readers to support younger students as they practice becoming more fluent with sound/spelling patterns they are learning in school. 

Home Learning for   Students Guide

ANet

High-quality, accessible, and free literacy resources for families—including printable resources for families who have limited web access.

Read through these resources on your own and select 1-2 that fit the needs of a particular family. Share reasonable expectations for use at home. 

Tips for Supporting Reading Skills at Home 

IES

A description of four evidence based practices that caregivers can use at home to develop K-3 reading skills. During a 1:1 family conference, model a few strategies for caregivers and discuss when and where these might take place.

Consider the Big Picture: A Holistic View of Supports 

ANTI-RACISM RESOURCES

Resource Description Ideas for Use

Anti-Racism Directory for Families

Learning Heroes

This K-12 directory offers family members conversation starters, activities, book lists, and resource links to support anti-racist work. Pick a bite-sized step. Tell others you trust about your experience and next steps to build trust and accountability. 

Talking With Kids About Racial Injustice

Understood

A collection of advice from various experts, answering the question: “How do I talk to kids who learn and think differently about racial injustice?” Include introspection space for yourself before engaging with families in learning together. 

Diverse Text List

Teaching Tolerance

A searchable library of short, diverse, and multigenre texts aligned with CCSS’ complexity recommendations and Teaching Tolerance’s Social Justice Standards.

Send or post texts aligned to current units of study. Encourage students to read with family members at home and provide prompts or conversation starters.

SUPPORTS FOR English LANGUAGE LEARNERS

Resource  Description Ideas for Use

Family Engagement 

WIDA

This homepage provides tools for describing ELL status and services to families and activities for language development at home.  For newer families to the school community, try using these translated flyers at a conference to explain the process of screening & identifying students as ELLs.

Family Toolkit

NCELA

A translated toolkit to help families choose education services that meet their child’s needs. Includes questions to ask school staff. 

Familiarize yourself with family and student rights to better equip yourself to partner with families within the school community. 

Communicating with Families of Newcomers 

WestEd

A 40 minute webinar that addresses the need for newcomers’ home-school connections. It provides concrete tips and ideas. Most helpful for secondary leaders. Watch this with your leadership team and discuss ways to integrate strategies into your existing structures.

Strengthening Partnership with Families of ELLS

TNTP

A brief guide outlining strategies for starting conversations with ELL families and making school more accessible. This is a good starting place. Start small; choose 1-2 of the strategies in the guide to implement at first.

Partnering with Immigrant Families (COVID19)

Colorin Colorado

An article and video that highlight Wolfe Street Academy and the lessons they’ve learned about strong partnerships, communication, and problem-solving. Try an article study with a colleague. Ask each other: What questions and reactions does this bring up for you? What changes might impact your own community?

Communicating with ELL Families (COVID19)

Colorin Colorado

A list of specific strategies to support communication with ELL families during remote learning. Use these strategies to evaluate structures you have already in place. Consider making 1-2 high impact changes as needed.
Google Translate A helpful combination of apps to support rapid, live translation. The Snap feature instantly translates text or images using a phone’s camera. Helpful for in the moment translation needs, during conversations with families in person or online.

SUPPORTS FOR STUDENTS WITH LEARNING & THINKING DIFFERENCES 

Resource Description  Ideas for Use

For Families

Understood

A collection of articles, including COVID-19 topics, answering questions of families supporting children with learning & thinking differences. Recommended articles below. Share this website directly with those families supporting students with learning & thinking differences to allow for independent learning.

What It’s Like to Have Executive Functioning Issues

Understood

A heartfelt essay by a teacher and parent of children who have learning & thinking differences describing what it’s like to engage in simulations mimicking executive functioning issues. Educators should read this to deepen empathy for parents of students who have learning & thinking differences. Then explore Through Your Child’s Eyes for yourself.

Through Your Child’s Eyes

Understood

A powerful collection including simulations, videos, and stories to show why learning & thinking differences can be frustrating. Simulations cover a wide range of subjects and skills in K-12. 

Experience struggling with reading, writing, math, attention, and/or organization; pay close attention to tone and body language as students share stories; share with families to spark conversation.

Take N.O.T.E.

Understood

A four step tool to help determine if the struggles you’re seeing a child experience might be signs of a learning & thinking difference. Educators and parents can collaborate using the four steps of the process: Notice, Observe, Talk, and Engage.

Types of Strengths in Kids

Understood

A list of student strengths that may be less obvious, including categories like character, social, language, literacy, math, logic, study skills, and more.

Helpful to have on hand when preparing for family conferences. A game-changer for students is being able to recognize, talk about, and build on strengths. 

YouTube Home Learning Series

Five Moore Minutes

Short videos including tips for learning at home to support families who have children with disabilities. Encourage families to subscribe for monthly updates and strategies to support their child at home.

ASD &  Remote Learning 

NYU Steinhardt

A slide deck of resources to support families and educators working with students with ASD; Includes guidance on setting up home routines.

For students with ASD, read these ideas prior to a family conference to kickstart the conversation and help teachers feel equipped to answer questions.

Social-Emotional Supports

Resource  Description Ideas for Use

Social-Emotional Learning Home

EdSurge

An article listing 10 ways that parents can support social-emotional learning at home during the pandemic. Send to families if they have identified or asked for support at home in this area. As an educator, ask if you are implementing these tips too.

Play at Home

Playworks

An extensive handbook with ideas for games to be played specifically at home due to school closures. Educators can model 1-2 games during class time and encourage students to play the same game with family members at home.

Household Routines Checklist 

Turnaround for Children

A checklist for families to use while planning household and remote schooling routines and procedures during school closures. Bring into a parent conference and finalize this checklist all together. Create specific examples and discuss what success would look like in each section. 

Disclaimer: Many of these links take you to external organizations. It is your   responsibility to ensure you comply with any copyright or permissions restrictions before using these materials.