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Family engagement tools

Creating constructive school-family connections

Kathleen A. Olson, Colleen Gengler, and Jo Musich, Extension Educators — Family Resiliency; and Madge Alberts, Program Coordinator — Children, Youth and Family Consortium

Reviewed October 2014 by Kathleen A. Olson, Program Director — Partnering for school success

The goal of creating constructive family-school relationships is to engage students as learners. Family and school — out-of and in-school influences — provide different but complementary opportunities for children to learn. Ideally, schools and families interact as partners to achieve the goal of enhancing students’ learning and development.

The “four A’s” provide a way to look at the conditions that enhance productive school-family relationships:

Each of the four A’s has several indicators. Each indicator can be considered an objective that contributes to the overall goal of creating constructive school-family connections for children’s learning.

This inventory was designed to provide a structure for educators, parents, and other individuals in the school community as they talk about ways to promote positive connections for children’s learning in their school community. Respondents are asked to judge the degree to which each objective stated below has been accomplished in their school community.

Download and print the Inventory for creating school-family connections (PDF).


Christenson, S. L., &  Sheridan, S. M.  (2001). Schools and families: Creating essential connections for learning. New York: Guilford Press. [Adapted by permission.]

Related resources

Nuts and bolts of communication with parents and families — Get communication tips relating to attitudes, behaviors, and more.

How to engage the uninvolved parent — Consider these suggestions for engaging parents from removing barriers, improving communication, and more

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