New Jersey Department of Education

Family Engagement

A diverse representation of stakeholder groups, including representatives from school districts, SPAN advocacy, parents, higher education, New Jersey Parent Teacher Association, as well as from various offices within the NJDOE, collaborated to develop the following guidance questions designed to assist districts in engaging families meaningfully for summer learning.

Guiding Questions

  • How are a diverse group of caregivers actively and authentically engaged in ongoing preparation and implementation discussions throughout problem identification, solution design, testing of approaches, and reflection and feedback in order to build trust and credibility for any plans that are implemented?
  • What forms of communication, proven to be successful with families, will continue to be used to inform and guide parents/guardians before, during, and after summer learning? How will connections with families of English learners (particularly newcomers), migrant children and families experiencing homelessness be maximized? What might you need to add/modify? What key district and school staff will be charged with these tasks?
  • Will communication, information, and resources be provided in multiple languages with consideration of literacy levels and less frequently spoken languages?
  • How will you communicate with families about their child’s progress on specific knowledge areas or skills, as opposed to a traditional grade report?
  • How will you address the  gap in technology access that may still exist for students and families and/or the families’ capacity to provide support for their children based on the families’ familiarity and/or understanding with technology in preparation for summer learning?
  • What district resources/services will you provide in order to support families with at-home summer learning?  With what frequency will teachers be expected to connect with every child’s family during summer learning?
  • How will you work with the parent(s)/guardian(s) of students with disabilities to implement student IEPs to the greatest extent possible?
  • What engagement and communication methods will you use to accommodate persons with hearing and/or visual impairments?
  • How will you work with community partners and organizations to secure resources/services for families during summer learning? What data or information-sharing structures will you need to implement? How will you communicate clearly to families about how to access these services?
  • How will in-district parent organizations mobilize to support families with communication, problem solving, and access to district and community services during summer learning?
  • In what ways might parents/guardians be acknowledged, thanked, and appreciated for their work and effort with at-home learning?
  • How will you continue to partner with families in their expanded role of learning facilitator outside of the classroom?
  • What continued support will be provided to engage parents in learning?
  • What new or revised policies or processes for family engagement, implemented during the summer, extend into the school year?

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