On October 28, nearly 500 people gathered to share, learn, and celebrate the impact of Family Engagement on children and youth. The Better Together Family Engagement summit, organized by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, was a huge success. Summit organizers posted a video montage from the day’s events on YouTube.
MASFEC was an integral partner in planning the summit, and staff members from MASFEC and our parent organization, FCSN, presented on topics that included:
- Creating brave and safe spaces for meaningful conversations about equity
- Language access best practices
- Family Engagement as a systems improvement strategy in special education
- Understanding school systems – for Spanish speakers
- Social media strategy and tools for family-led groups and organizations
- Family-friendly communication
- Building data literacy for family engagement
In a letter to the Massachusetts Board of Education, Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley emphasized the vital role of family engagement in school improvement initiatives.
Family and community engagement is an integral part of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and can be deeply woven into the design of all educational initiatives. Schools and districts are expected to actively engage families and community members in developing state and local education plans for the use of funds including Federal grants such as Title I, Part A that provides financial assistance to districts and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families. Additionally, schools are required to partner with stakeholders including families in the development of school improvement plans for schools identified for support and improvement under ESSA.
MASFEC is pleased to partner with DESE and local school districts to spearhead family engagement initiatives throughout the state. We offer our special congratulations and thanks to Olga Lopez of DESE’s Office of Student and Family Support, whose leadership was essential to the success of this vibrant event.