MDE Office of Early Childhood Launches Family Engagement Guidance and Toolkit

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Office of Early Childhood launched today the family engagement framework, or guidance, and toolkit to assist schools and communities in building partnerships with families to improve educational outcomes.

The goals for the Mississippi Family Engagement Framework are to encourage and empower all families to participate in their children’s education, to increase student success, to build leadership and support, and to develop community investment and partnerships. Schools and families can use the strategies and activities included with the framework to build stronger relationships with their schools, which can lead to increased positive student outcomes.

Family engagement is a critical component of a high-quality education, and the MDE values the roles administrators, teachers, families, and communities play in promoting positive outcomes for students, said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.

“The guidance and toolkit will provide schools and communities with the resources they need to encourage family participation in schools. Engaged families and communities are closely linked with successful schools and students,” she said.

Research shows students with involved parents — regardless of income, background characteristics, or level of achievement — are more likely to do better in school. Partnership programs can increase student achievement, improve attendance and behavior, and promote positive social skills. When partnership practices are linked to school goals, such as improved reading, math or attendance, it increases opportunities for more families to become involved in ways that directly assist students’ learning and development.

“With this framework, Mississippi has emerged as a national leader in family engagement,” said Jeff Capizzano, executive director of the Policy Equity Group in Washington, D.C. “By aligning the state’s family engagement initiatives across the early childhood and K-12 systems, the framework is an incredible tool to support MDE’s vision for empowered families, student success, and strong community partnerships.”

In 2017, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) provided a family engagement technical assistance opportunity for states, including Mississippi, to coordinate the development of the framework.

“The importance of addressing family, school and community engagement in a systemic way is essential in maximizing it as a strategy to child development, student achievement and school improvement. Mississippi is one of the first states in the country to release a birth through Grade 12 Family Engagement Framework. This framework will guide statewide efforts and become a tool to build capacity of both educators and families as partners in the education of children, as well as maximizing already exciting family engagement initiatives funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.,” said Vito J. Borello, executive director of the National Association for Family, School and Community Engagement.

The Family Engagement Framework and Toolkit can be found at