While mass school closures revealed deep disparities in family resources, including access to technology, they also highlighted the importance of strong relationships between educators and families.

Effective school-family relationships were critical to transitioning learning from the classroom to the home and ensuring students were supported academically, socially, and emotionally. Schools and districts with strong pre-existing family relationships were better positioned to communicate effectively with parents and caregivers about distance learning and resources available to families.

These relationships remain critical as many students are transitioning back into the in-person setting. As we begin recovering from the pandemic, every school and district must strengthen its family engagement muscles, and educators must partner with families more than ever before.

In its 20 years of training and engaging with schools, families, and communities, Families In Schools has learned what effective engagement looks like. Some of these lessons are highlighted in our new report, Stronger Together: Lessons Learned from Professional Learning Networks Focused on Family Engagement, which describes what we learned from our experience facilitating district and charter Professional Learning Networks on family engagement.