Creating Dialogue

The terms family involvement and family engagement are widely used to describe collaboration across families and service providers.  The preferred term is family partnership, as it portrays equal worth in the collaboration. Parents can be partners with schools by helping the school understand their child, participating on the IEP team and helping to design the IEP, working with the IEP team to design and implement appropriate evaluation and services, and becoming meaningfully involved in the school community.  They can also participate and serve as leaders on school committees, serve as mentors for other families and groups within the community, and provide linkages with community organizations. Students can be actively involved in their program by expressing preferences and interests, practicing self-advocacy skills, and during transition planning helping to design the IEP.

Community members can collaborate with schools as they tutor students in the classrooms, demonstrate career options and work skills, provide career and technical education opportunities within the business community, and provide leadership within projects and committees. School members collaborate with others in the community for support, services, information sharing, school activities, and planning for school development. Learning to collaborate can be challenging for all and begins with conversation.

Dialogue guides have 3 parts:

  • * Facilitator's Handbook to help you think about inviting others into a dialogue:
  • * Topical documents with content information to ground the dialogue, and
  • * Dialogue Starters, written by stakeholders that identify questions to guide the dialogue.

Dialogue guides are written for general audiences that includes many different stakeholders.  Listed alphabetically under each guide, you will also find specific dialogue starters for local administrators, family, practitioners (teachers and related service providers), policymakers, and higher education.
To begin, review the Dialogue Guide Facilitator Handbook and then choose the topic (if there is more than one) and the appropriate dialogue guide starters for your audience.

Effective Strategies on Family Engagement

Source document: The Family Engagement dialogue starters were developed using the Family Engagement-Overview found at the National Dropout Prevention Centers (NSTTAC) website.
Full Report: Family Engagement
Dialogue Starter Effective Strategies on Family Engagement