SEDL Releases Free Resource for Family and Community Engagement

January 6, 2011
Austin, Texas

Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556

Educators know that involving parents and the community in student learning is vital to successful school improvement. SEDL has developed a new resource, Working Systemically in Action: Engaging Family & Community, to help reframe the way educators work with parents, families, and community members. Through real-life examples and practical guidance, this resource shows educators how to engage family and community members to support every aspect of school improvement.

“Districts and schools that effectively engage families and the community often see higher attendance rates, increased student achievement, and stronger community support,” says Catherine Jordan, program manager of SEDL’s Afterschool, Family, and Community group and one of the book’s authors. “This publication shows educators how to engage families and community members as partners in school improvement.”

Working Systemically in Action: Engaging Family & Community incorporates SEDL’s systemic approach to school improvement, described in Working Systemically in Action: A Guide for Facilitators (2008). This approach focuses on key components and competencies at all levels of the local educational system to improve school performance and, ultimately, student achievement. For each phase of this approach, the new publication provides best practices, step-by-step guidance, and tools for involving family and community members. In addition, the guide includes a synopsis of the research on family and community engagement as part of a systemic improvement strategy.

SEDL is part of a nationwide effort to promote bold, innovative policies and programs for effective family engagement and school-community partnerships. Staff recently helped host the National Policy Forum for Family, School, and Community Engagement and are active members of the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group. The knowledge gained through these associations helped inform the concepts, processes, and actions presented in SEDL’s new publication.

This 123-page guide is designed for educators, but anyone who supports effective family and community engagement will find it useful. A free digital version is available for download on SEDL’s Web site at A print version is available for $45.

Professional development services to help educators and others get the most from Working Systemically in Action: Engaging Family & Community are also available. For information, contact Lacy Wood at

About SEDL

SEDL (formerly Southwest Educational Development Laboratory) is a nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. SEDL is dedicated to solving significant education problems and improving teaching and learning through research, research-based resources, and professional development. For more information about SEDL, visit