Culturally Responsive Parent and Family Engagement is not something you can check off as done. It’s an ongoing integration between the school culture, family culture, and academics. To ensure this is taking place at your school, your school staff should be trained in cultural competency in order to provide a transformational parent component at your school.
There is more than 50 years of research on the importance of the role of parents in their child’s education and academic success. However, there is not enough practical training for teachers to understand what it looks like to honor the linguistic diversity of students and their parents.
Schools can begin by discussing who is the most underserved at the school and has the most challenging time with academics. It’s definitely worth a closer look. It could be that teachers do not speak the language of the parents at their school. If that is the case, the district can start by hiring a person who speaks the home language of the parents of their English learner populations. Ultimately, the key to integrating other languages and cultures into the school environment is with the parents. It is through the participation of parents at school that teachers and their students will be able to transform this diversity into mutual respect.
Ultimately, teachers need to take a deeper dive into their own understanding of culture, linguistic diversity, and socioeconomic influences by attending conferences and trainings for cultural competency. Parents need new skills, stronger participation in the school culture, and training for family literacy and understanding the school culture. We want to see parents and students truly engaged as lifelong learners with skills that will empower them to succeed in life and at any school system of their choice.