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Key Areas

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Our work seeks to understand and support more equitable collaboration between schools and parents, families, and communities across the Road Map Region. This project focuses on the following key areas of inquiry:

Case Studies & Equitable Data Inquiry

In our first year, we conducted a comparative qualitative case study to examine current parent engagement initiatives within the Road Map Region. Our final report (SEE CHARTING A COURSE) provides an in-depth look at each study site and highlights strengths, challenges, and recommendations for more equitable collaboration. Through this work we also examined the roles of “cultural brokers” (SEE Cultural Brokers Brief), individuals who serve as bridges between families and schools, and provide promising strategies to engage traditionally marginalized families. In addition, we explored how principles of equitable collaboration could be applied outside of k-12 school contexts. In particular, we explored a data inquiry practice in an early childhood education context of a community-based organization that sought to engage a broad range of stakeholders in making sense of data. We provide a cycle of Data Inquiry for Equitable Collaboration (SEE Data Carousel Brief) that highlights a process to collectively examine data to improve the work of education organizations.

Design Work & Curriculum Development

Based on the 2012-2013 case study, we found that Kent School District’s parent academy built a foundation for robust parent engagement efforts, but the curriculum originally used in the program was developed 25 years ago in Southern California and could not be shared across the region. As a result, we engaged in a design-based research process to co-create parent-teach-parent curriculum based on our local community needs and interests. The Kent Design Team—comprising parents, teachers, principals, district leaders, and researchers— met intensively during the winter, spring and summer of 2014 to:

  1. Create a culturally responsive, asset-based curriculum driven by the interests, priorities, and needs of Kent parents, families, and communities.
  2. Evolve a set of design principles to guide parent engagement efforts that enable parents to become fellow educational leaders in improving our schools.
  3. Develop a model to build capacity and relationships between parents and educators to collaborate on joint work to improve the educational system.

The final curriculum (SEE Parent Curriculum) serves a product for this collective effort that can be shared and adapted across the region.

Common Indicators & Pilot Survey

 Through our work with the Road Map project and national interest in measuring transformative family engagement, we embarked on a process to develop robust indicators that may be used by districts, schools, agencies, and CBOs to inform improvement toward a vision of equitable parent-school collaboration. The white paper (SEE WhitePaper) describes the initial process of indicator development through collectively identifying priorities, refining questions, and conducting cognitive interviews. The final family engagement survey (LINK TO SURVEY) is available in 5 languages (English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, and Somali) and contains three common indicators of family engagement as well as three additional areas for schools, districts, or community-based organizations to choose from in order to meet the needs of their local context. The User’s Guide (See Indicator Users Guide) provides details on how to use the survey and engage in a process of equitable data inquiry.