One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Teachers Share Strategies to Engage Parents and Families


Whole Child Podcast August 300x300Decades of research have shown that family involvement in education is a powerful influence on learning. In fact, a 2002 research review on the effects of school, family, and community connections on student achievement found that when families are involved in their children’s learning both at home and at school, their children do better in school. Makes sense, right?

Educators often mention engaging families and the broader community as the ideal—not only in terms of achievement but also in establishing effective communication and a support structure for all students. Forming these relationships allows schools to access the wide range of resources across the community and also help build a culture for success that is inclusive of everyone.

But how do teachers and schools do it, and how do they start the process? On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, ASCD Director of Member Engagement Kevin Scott and three teachers share their stories and favorite tips and strategies.

Listen to the episode below or download here.


  • Angela Foreman is a special education teacher at Jamestown Elementary in Arlington, Va. She has spent the majority of her career as a resource teacher in the primary elementary grades. Foreman has presented at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference three times and has spoken on Capitol Hill on four separate occasions. Her passion as a teacher is to determine what each individual child requires to access the curriculum and then create a personalized and fun learning environment based on that need.
  • Jimmy Scarano is a 4th grade teacher at Jamestown Elementary. He just completed his third year of teaching and has presented for the past two years at the annual ISTE Conference. This fall, Scarano will teach in a cotaught inclusion classroom with Angela Foreman for the second consecutive year.
  • Erin Klein is a 2nd grade teacher in the Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. In addition to her role as a teacher, Klein is an education technology and project-based learning expert, author, presenter, parent, and ASCD Emerging Leader. She shares strategies and tools to help educators create transformational 21st century schools on her blog, Kleinspiration. Connect with Klein on Twitter @KleinErin.

Find More Tips and Strategies

Learn more about out how educators can make changes that matter and improve schools from within in the free all-digital summer 2015 issue of Educational Leadership® magazine. Nearly each article in the issue includes ways schools can engage and involve parents, families, and communities in their children’s learning and success. Be sure to check out Jennifer Orr’s Inservice blog post, “Synching Families and the Classroom,” to learn how she and her students’ families work to make the classroom a place for all to learn together. Later this month, ASCD Express will showcase more ways to bring families into their children’s education as partners. Sign up today for free and stay in the know!

 What is your favorite tip or strategy for engaging parents and families?


The Whole Child Podcast: Changing the Conversation About Education seeks to inform and engage educators, parents, and community members about what works in today’s schools. Guests include educational leaders, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and students from around the globe who share their insight into sound education policies and practices that ensure that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.