Four Ways to Weave Family Engagement Policies and Practices in the SWIFT Framework

Over 50 years of research and best practice show that when schools develop authentic partnerships with family members—with intention and purpose—positive effects can contribute to the social, emotional, academic, and mental health of every student. In participating states and districts, SWIFT suggests four ways to weave family engagement policies and practices into the SWIFT framework through:

  • Family Engagement
  • Federal Policies & Support
  • State Policy Examples
  • School Policy Examples

Some specific examples might include:

  • Involve parents in the development of school review and improvement plans and processes
  • Coordinate and integrate parental involvement strategies between programs such as Head Start, Early Reading First, Even Start, and state-run preschool programs
  • Engage parents in school budget decisions resulting in parents leading fundraising efforts to augment the school budget for new technology for the school.

Download and share the entire SWIFT Center Issue Brief, “Policies that Support SWIFT Trusting Family Partnerships" with your school community! 

What is Universal  Design for Learning?

Have you wondered about the term "UDL"? Universal Design for Learning—known as UDL—guides teachers to create a classroom and plan lessons that recognize how differently every student learns.

When a school uses UDL, teachers set clear goals for all students but may use different ways to help different students meet those goals.

Teachers plan their lessons to use different ways of:

1. Presenting content to students

2. Seeing what students know and can do

3. Keeping students interested and involved

To learn more about what UDL means for your child, read the SWIFT resource, "What is Universal Design for Learning?" HERE.

"Inclusion involves everyone looking beyond what children can’t do based on their circumstances to see instead what they can do when we become champions for them and provide the support they need, when they need it, and in any way we can provide it."

-Kimber Rice, Parent Liaison and active volunteer within San Juan Unified School District in CA 

The SWIFT Feature “Trusting Community Partnerships,” from the SWIFT Domain of “Family and Community Engagement,” contributes to positive student outcomes when schools work collaboratively with community members, agencies, organizations, businesses and industry around common goals. Community representatives directly participate in school leadership, and schools enhance community resources. Watch the “SWIFT in 60” film “Trusting Community Partnerships,” and use the discussion guide and PowerPoint, along with the video, to talk with school stakeholders about what trusting community partnerships could look like at your school.

School - Family Partnerships
SWIFT Unscripted is our monthly podcast, and makes for a great listen while waiting in the school pickup line, during a morning walk, or while running errands! SWIFT Unscripted welcomes guests from our SWIFT community including this recording by Debra Jennings on School-Family Partnerships. Debra is the SPAN Executive Co-Director for National Projects and Parent Leadership Development, which is a SWIFT partner organization. 

In this podcast, Debra discusses some of the issues families face in their efforts to make sure their children receive the highest quality education and supports they need; how some schools and districts are not quite prepared to engage parents as partners and engage them in the decision-making processes; and the benefits to districts of forming special education parent advisory groups.

You can listen on Soundcloud or iTunes, or visit the SWIFT Unscripted page to download the podcast to your computer. A transcript link for each SWIFT Unscripted podcast is available at the end of its description. 

SWIFT Center has the latest and most relevant resources on equity-based inclusive education.  Please share these with your family and community networks to promote improved social, educational, and behavioral outcomes for ALL students!  If this SWIFT Family Feature was shared with you, don’t miss the next one — sign up here to be added to our mailing list. 

SWIFT is a national K-8 technical assistance center that builds school capacity to provide academic and behavioral support to improve outcomes for all students through equity-based inclusion 
The SWIFT Center produced this document under U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs Grant No. H326Y120005. OSEP Project Officers Grace Zamora Durán and Tina Diamond served as the project officers. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service or enterprise mentioned in this publication is intended or should be inferred. This product is public domain. Authorization to reproduce it in whole or in part is granted. While permission to reprint this publication is not necessary, the citation should be: SWIFT Center. (2017). SWIFT Family & Community, Issue 3, April 2017. Lawrence, KS: SWIFT Center.

 SWIFT Center
1315 Wakarusa Drive,
Lawrence, KS 66049