FAST® Institute of Family Engagement

The FAST Institute provides training and coaching for family engagement professionals, educators, and staff to help schools create a welcoming environment for all families—particularly for families of color and low-income families. It is designed to help, guide, and support participants to:

  1. Build a welcoming school climate and culture that values and respects families as partners
  2. Establish practices at both the classroom and school-wide levels which link family engagement to learning and academic success
  3. Engage families in culturally diverse settings and bridge racial, socioeconomic, and cultural differences through an asset-based approach
  4. Collaborate with families to create and implement activities and services and engage with community organizations to build partnerships

The institute blends best practices in teacher training and family and community engagement and applies an equity-focused approach. Training and coaching session topics, delivery (in-person or virtual), duration, and audience are all customizable to the needs of your school.

2022-23 Institute Offerings

Family Engagement IntroductionWelcoming EnvironmentVirtual Engagement & COVID ChallengesParent-Teacher ConferencesStrengthening ClassroomsAdvocacy & Power SharingRace, Class, Culture & Implicit BiasCommunity CollaborationEvaluating & Sustaining PracticesAdditional Topics
Introduction to Family Engagement
Teachers, administrators, those new to family engagement, family engagement coordinators

Examine the differences between “involvement” and “engagement

Understand how your own background influences your perceptions of families and your ability to engage families

Compare and contrast the roles of parent coordinators, teachers, and principals in their relationship to family engagement

Creating a Welcoming Environment
Teachers, administrators, family engagement coordinators

Identify elements of a welcoming school climate

Explore the challenges and opportunities of family engagement

Discuss the ways the 10 FAST Values can be helpful in encouraging increased family engagement

Engaging Families Virtually and Other COVID-Era CHallenges
Teaches, administrators, family engagement coordinators, those struggling with re-engaging families during/after COVID

Introduce school staff to tangible, practical strategies and expectations for virtual family engagement

Explore the challenges and opportunities of parent engagement

Explore resources related to attendance, focusing on traditionally marginalized families

Empowering Families at Parent-Teacher Conferences
Classroom teachers
This session is particularly effective 1-2 weeks prior to parent-teacher conferences

Examine the concept of “empowerment” and ways schools are/are not empowering to families

Provide concrete strategies and tools to help school staff build relationships with families

Prepare ways to empower and engage families before, during, and after parent-teacher conferences

Strengthening Classroom COnditions for Family Engagement
Classroom teachers, administrators

Understand what family engagement is and the importance of building relationships with families

Assess current classroom practices as they relate to family engagement

Learn hands-on strategies to help build trusting relationships with families

Family Engagement, Advocacy, and Power Sharing
Teaches, administrators, family engagement professionals, anyone invested in empowering parents in a school/district

Explore concepts of power and trust as they relate to a school community

Identify systems and structure for engaging families in school improvement planning and participation

Examine the concept of “social capital” and the importance of using social capital to build community

Bridging Race, Class, and Culture and Examining Implicit Bias
Teachers, administrators, family engagement professionals

Assess both your personal and your school’s beliefs and actions

Explore asses-based and deficit-based perspectives and how they affect educators’ actions towards families

Identify implicit bias and examine its effects on education and kids

Determine how this relates to family engagement and what school staff can do differently

Collaborating with the Community
Teachers, administrators, family engagement professionals, anyone invested in engaging more deeply with the community

Identify assets in the school and community

Identity the resources that will help schools engage in community problem solving and building community capital

Explore ways to increase connections to community agencies/services to better meet the needs of families in your school

Engage in community asset mapping activity to get to know what and who is in your community

Evaluating and Sustaining Family Engagement Practices
Teachers, administrators, family engagement professionals, anyone who has been actively involved with family engagement during the school year or is planning on being actively involved in the following year

Assess the effectiveness of the family engagement activities you have conducted during the year

Determine whether your school was successful in meeting the goals for student achievement and/or other goals set by you and your school

Learn how to monitor the overall strength of your parent engagement practices by conducting diagnostic assessments at the beginning and end of the year

Additional Topics

Please contact us to discuss any additional family engagement topics of interest not listed.

During these sessions, facilitators/coaches and participants review key research, discuss best practices, and share tools and strategies school staff can use daily when working with families. Emphasis is on group discussion and hands-on approaches that build family-school partnership.

If you are interested in strengthening and customizing your family engagement practice, contact us for more information. Explore our FAQs page to learn more.

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