FAST Institute of Family Engagement
The FAST® Institute of Family Engagement provides training for educators on how best to partner with families in support of children’s education and well-being.
Blending best practices in teacher training and family and community engagement and using an equity-focused approach, the Institute helps schools to create a more welcoming environment for all families but particularly for families of color and low-income families.
Virtual FAST Institute sessions can:
- Help school staff understand and embrace the importance of family engagement
- Guide school staff to engage families in culturally diverse settings, bridge racial, socioeconomic, and cultural differences through an asset-based approach
- Support school staff to begin a process of identifying and removing barriers and identifying and amplifying strengths related to family engagement
Why should I choose the FAST Institute training?
- Pairing long-standing experience with the latest research. The FAST Institute is based on over 30 years of experience in training and facilitating our evidence-based, family engagement program, FAST. The Institute builds on the values of the FAST Program while incorporating the latest research on family engagement, such as the Dual-Capacity Framework from Karen Mapp, as well as related research from Anne Henderson, Ann Ishimaru, Anthony Bryk, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Luis Moll, and many others.
- Focus on equity. One value of FAST is that all parents love their children and want a good life for them, but systemic barriers create environments that discourage engagement from marginalized families. Recognizing the value each family holds and moving from a “it’s always been done this way” to a more equitable, responsive approach can reduce disparities in the classroom and beyond.
- Blending of sociological, psychological, and educational theories. The Institute incorporates social work theories such as Family Systems, Family Stress, and Social Capital Theories, and the Social Ecological Theory of Child Development to bring context and understanding to how children interact with and are influenced by their family and community, and discusses how this can manifest in how children and families interact with each other and the school.
- Practical, actionable take-aways. Sessions will provide actionable next steps that educators can take with them and apply in their classroom and in work with families. Discussion of research and theory is always paired with actionable solutions and tools.
Families & Schools Together was recently chosen as one of 10 recipients of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. This funding will help us expand and strengthen the Institute, providing professional development and targeted coaching to a cohort of schools and parent coordinators in the Milwaukee Public Schools.
FAST recently completed providing a series of in-person and virtual family engagement webinars for members of the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC). We will continue this partnership in fall 2022, providing five in-person sessions and two webinars. Interested members of WEAC can learn more here.