Advancement Project views family engagement as the most powerful yet most underutilized strategy for improving child outcomes in the early years at the systems level.
We define family engagement as the process by which school districts and communities provide parents and other family members with the support and tools they need to develop as leaders in influencing changes in both their child’s education and in the school system that administers this education.
We developed our definition of family engagement by working side by side with parents. In 2010, LAUSD planned to eliminate its School Readiness Language Development Program (SRLDP). One of the largest early education programs in LAUSD, it helps nearly 14,000 low-income students of color successfully prepare to listen, speak effectively, use appropriate vocabulary, and develop academic readiness skills. It also hosted a six-week parent academy that provided the unique opportunity for teachers to develop parent engagement skills for families to consistently support their child’s learning and future academic success. Advancement Project worked closely with teachers and parents to design a successful advocacy campaign that prevented the elimination of the program. This was also our first experience in providing informal advocacy training to parents, many of whom met with school board members and gave public testimony to the board of education.