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Family and Community Engagement

Family, school, and community engagement is a shared responsibility of families, schools and communities for student learning and achievement; it is continuous from birth to young adulthood; and it occurs across multiple settings where children learn. This network was established from the Family-School-Engagement Working Group in 2009.


Family & Community Engagement

What We Strive to Do: IEL’s focus is to build and enhance the capacity of educators and families and to operationalize equity and engagement as key levers for change, improving strategy alignment and cross-departmental collaboration within districts. With leadership as a key driver, IEL mobilizes constituents around these key elements of systemic family engagement, helping them:

  • Examine, establish and sustain effective, aligned practices and policies that advance equity;
  • Strengthen relationships between schools, educators, parents and families;
  • Strengthen family and community engagement systems and structures;
  • Facilitate better alignment and coherence between equity, engagement, and social emotional learning strategies;
  • Provide capacity building and technical assistance supports to staff, community partners, and various constituents in select districts and county education offices; and
  • Create enhanced learning and networking opportunities for staff, community partners, and various constituents in (and across) select districts and county education offices’.


Our Approach: For over a decade, IEL has been working with and learning from leaders who coordinate family and community engagement across various touch points. In addition to hosting the annual National Family & Community Engagement Conference, IEL facilitates peer learning, networking & convening, capacity-building supports, strategic planning and design, resource and information dissemination, etc.

Our Impact: By supporting the development of district leaders and other education professionals, via peer learning exchanges, technical assistance and support, IEL is able to improve district leaders’ capacity in family and community engagement.  As a result, IEL has cultivated a national network of FCE stakeholders that is 500+ strong. We are connected to over 200 district leaders representing over 9,000 schools and 5 million students. We’ve shared family and community engagement best practices with over 3,500 conference attendees and through our Learning Labs, supported over 2,000 people from varying entry points; all in an effort to improve their practice.


District Leaders Network

The District Leaders Network on Family and Community Engagement (DLN) is a group of over 200 individuals in district-level leadership positions primarily responsible for the oversight of our district’s family and community engagement (FCE) initiatives. DLN is a peer-driven knowledge network designed to engage members as both experts and learners through a national structure to support member capacity building activities. The Network is unique in purpose, function and design and is grounded in the belief that through DLN, members can increase their collective capacity to implement a systemic approach to family and community engagement, resulting in more consistent practice across districts, greater sustainability, and measurable impact on student outcomes and school improvement.

Membership is granted exclusively to those who are tasked with oversight of their district’s engagement efforts.

To learn more, please contact Joline Collins at

Join a Network

Join the District Leaders Network (DLN): The District Leaders Network on Family and Community Engagement began in 2009 and has grown to include leaders from over 190 schools districts. A peer learning and action network, current members are responsible for coordinating their district’s efforts and are working together to move family and community engagement from ‘Nice to Necessary’. IEL supports the District Leaders Network through a host of gatherings and professional development opportunities including federal policy updates and local Learning Labs. Click here to join.

Join the FCE Network: Not a school district leader on family and community engagement but still interested in learning and sharing best practices on this topic? Whether you’re a teacher, a counselor, a school-based administrator, a parent, someone from a community based organization, or anyone else interested in this topic – our larger FCE network needs you! Research continues to confirm conventional wisdom – engaging families is critically important for improving child outcomes. Click here to join our Mailing List & FCE Network.

Expand Your Learning

Featured Resources

Effective partnerships that support student and school improvement

The Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships (Version 2)

The Dual Capacity-Building Framework was developed in 2013 to address ineffective family-school partnerships, which reflected the lack of capacity-building opportunities informed by evidence-based engagement strategies and practices for school, program staff and families. Version two of the Framework reflects feedback and insights over the last six years by numerous national, state, and local policy, research and practice organizations, identifying the most prominent barriers to building trust and effective partnerships as well as, the essential conditions for cultivating and sustaining effective partnerships.

Read More

Taking it to the Next Level

Taking It to The Next Level – Strengthening & Sustaining Family Engagement through Integrated, Systemic Practice

Taking it to the Next Level takes a hard look at the ways in which districts are moving from disjointed activities to involve parents to systemically integrated strategies designed to engage families and strengthen family-school partnerships.  It builds on the important insights of the dual capacity-building framework and describes how districts are bringing the organizational conditions to life.  Taking it to the Next Level defines and illuminates the key elements of systemic engagements and how leadership at all levels drives the process.


Transforming Family-School Partnerships with PTA's National Standards Webinar Series Learn best practices and strategies for implementing PTA’s six National Standards through panel discussions with leading practitioners, researchers and policymakers who are improving family-school partnerships so that all children can reach their full potential.

PTA’s National Standards Webinar Series

IEL supported the National PTA’s webinar series to help leaders learn best practices and strategies for implementing PTA’s six National Standards through panel discussions with leading practitioners, researchers and policymakers who are improving family-school partnerships so that all children can reach their full potential.