The SEL Innovations series aims to help the field imagine new, more expansive and equitable approaches to SEL and wellness to ensure that all children, adolescents, and adults feel safe, supported, and seen so that they can thrive. This report focuses on the conditions and guiding actions to foster authentic school-family partnerships.

Research confirms that school-family partnerships are crucial. While much attention has been given to the core competencies, our new innovations series digs deeper into the “rings” of CASEL’s SEL Framework where young people live and learn, beginning with school-family partnerships.

The report offers case studies illustrating four guiding actions in practice, featuring Communities in Schools of Michigan, The Allegheny County Family Center Network’s Parent Advisory Council, Village of Wisdom, and Minneapolis Public Schools Parent Participatory Evaluation Initiative.

The report includes these guiding actions for school staff:

  • Begin with family priorities, interests, concerns, knowledge, and resources to create opportunities for building trust and genuine relationships
  • Transform power dynamics by increasing the capacity of both families and staff around knowledge and confidence
  • Build reciprocity and agency between school staff and families by setting up systems and structures that foster a sense of camaraderie and collaboration
  • Undertake change as collective inquiry together using the relationships that are built as a way to collaboratively problem-solve

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