What counts, who counts it and why does it matter?

What counts, who counts it and who does it help?

Posted march 2015

In this video Dr Joseph Flessa from the University of Ontario presents to to attendees at the Family-School & Community Partnerships Symposium in 2014. .

In this talk, Joe discusses policy assessments, and the incentives they create,matter. How are schools’ efforts to engage families and communities typically evaluated, by whom, and with what impact? Attendance numbers at school-convened meetings or the size of the bottom line after a fundraiser are frequently used, but they’re probably better understood as proxies for a school’s socioeconomic location than for its efforts to thoughtfully engage parents.

In this talk Professor Flessa describes the complexities of doing useful assessment of parental engagement efforts, and will suggest alternatives. In an educational policy environment that emphasizes data-driven accountability, what data do principals have to assess the effectiveness of their work with families and communities? What data should they have?

Schools, TAFE & Families partnering in learning for sustainability

Schools, TAFE & families: Partnering in learning for sustainability

Posted December 2014

This short video highlights how a High school in Sydney's west has implemented a successful sustainability program which is interactive, collaborative, relational, developmental and linked to learning.

As you will see in the video the program has expanded into other schools in the area also. 

Evaluating family-school partnerships through a theory of change model

Evaluating partnerships through a theory of change model

Anne Henderson

Posted October 2014

In this short video Anne Henderson discusses how schools can plan implement and evaluate family engagement practices through using a theory of change or logic model.

Click here to download a copy of a theory of change model developed by the Bureau

On the same page:

On the same page

posted August 2014

This is a great short video highlighting that at the core of improving student learning outcomes and well being is Family Engagement and needs to be addressed with a sense of urgency and embedded in school and system policy not just as an add on and ad hoc approaches.

Although an American video, this video is more than relevant to our Australian context at this point in time.  

Illustrations of effective practice

Illustrations of effective practice:

Posted 7/6/14



A matter of principal

A matter of principal: Jihad Dib Principal Punchbowl Boys High School

Posted 7/6/2014

"It's so important to stand at the gates and welcome kids every morning. It's a real connection."

Watch how the principal of Punchbowl Boys High turned his school from one of the most violent places in Sydney into somewhere kids and teachers are queuing to get into.

What is NAPLAN?

What is NAPLAN?

Posted 3/5/14

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual national assessment for all students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9. All students in these year levels are expected to participate in tests in Reading, Writing, Language Conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and Numeracy. 

NAPLAN is a skills test. It tests the sorts of skills that are essential for every child to progress through school and life, such as reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy. The content of each test is informed by the National Statement of Learning for English and National Statement of Learning  for Mathematics which underpin state and territory learning frameworks.

Going beyond the bake sale

Going beyond the bake sale: Anne Henderson

Posted 5/4/2014

Anne Henderson is Senior Fellow, Community Engagement Program, Anneberg Institute for School Reform. Anne’s specialty is the relationship between families and schools, and the impact of that relationship on students’ success in school and through life. Since 1981, she has steadily tracked the research on how engaging families can improve student achievement, particularly among students in diverse and low-income communities. She has also studied effective practice to involve families, not just with their own children but also in school improvement.

In this short video Anne discusses, to improve student learning outcomes family involvement needs to go beyond the usual bake sales and into partnerships. 

The recipe for school improvement

The recipe for school improvement: Karen Mapp 

posted 4/3/14

Karen L. Mapp, Ed.D., is a senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and the faculty director of the Education Policy and Management master’s program. Over the past 20 years, Mapp’s research and practice focus has been on the cultivation of partnerships among families, community members, and educators that support student achievement and school improvement. Mapp currently serves as a consultant on family engagement to the United States Department of Education in the Office of Innovation and Improvement. 

In this short video Dr Karen Mapp discusses the ingredients that make up the recipe for school improvement 

What really matters

What really matters: Debbie Pushor PHD

Posted 1/2/14

Deb Pushor is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum Studies in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. Deb Pushors' interest in parents’ positioning in relation to the landscape of schools was sparked when her eldest son, began school. Although she had been an educator for 15 years at that point in time, and felt she knew a lot about schools, she was awakened by how marginalised she felt as a parent – how lacking a place and a voice.

I realised how much we can learn about schooling when we examine it through the lenses of parents. Her research into parents’ positioning began at that time with her doctoral work. It has continued through an inquiry into parent engagement and leadership and an inquiry into parent knowledge. Through her research, she has come to believe it is only when we honor and use parents’ knowledge that we truly engage parents in their children’s schooling. Take a look at Debs presentation on the difference between involvement and engagement.

Goal setting Parent - Teacher conferences 

Goal setting - Parent Teacher conferences: Flamboyan Foundation 

Posted 18/07/16

This video is shared from the Flamboyan Foundation collection in the States. It highlights some of the work they are currently undertaking in engaging with families to better student learning and outcomes.

Family Engagement in Education

Family engagement in education

posted November 2015

In this video the US National PTA's Executive Director, Nathan R. Monell discusses the importance of family engagement in education.

People buy the WHY!

People buy the WHY! 

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" Whilst Simon refers to Apple computers and the Wright Brothers in this video the powerful message given is just as pertinent to family and community engagement practices. 

Why family engagement is important

Why family engagement is important: The Family-School & Community Partnerships Bureau

Posted January 2015  

This short animated video describes how our world has changed over recent and the need for schools and families to work together is crucial in improving student learning outcomes. The video further describes how learning happens everywhere and the knowledge of students that families have combined with the expert experience and professional knowledge of the teacher can encourage to do better in school, stay in school longer and like school more.

Linking family engagement to learning

Linking family engagement to learning

posted 3/11/14

In the short video, Dr Karen Mapp presents to Harvard attendees on the five conditions required when designing family engagement initiatives.Initiatives must be

  • linked to learning
  • developmental
  • relational
  • interactive
  • collaborative  

Essential elements of family engagement

Essential elements of family engagement in policy

Dr Karen Mapp

posted September 2014

In this short video Dr Mapp discusses how good policy addresses the systemic nature of family engagement and the need to moved beyond random acts, adhoc approaches or seeing family engagement as an add on to current school and system policy.

Making the most of parent/teacher interviews

Making the most of parent teacher interviews

Posted July 2014

Getting the most out of parent teacher interviews can be challenging in the small amount of time available. This short video gives families some helpful hints on how to make the most of these valuable short periods of time

Illustrations of effective practice

Illustrations of effective practice

Posted 7/6/14

This short video demonstrates how one High School is Connecting Learning at home and school and engaging parents in the educative process. They are using Edmodo within school to improve communication with students and their families


Why is NAPLAN valuable

Why is NAPLAN valuable?

Posted 3/5/14

NAPLAN is the measure through which governments, education authorities, schools, teachers and parents can determine whether or not young Australians have the literacy and numeracy skills  that provide the critical foundation for other learning and for their productive and rewarding participation in the community.

The tests provide parents and schools with an understanding of how individual students are performing at the time of the tests. They also provide schools, states and territories with information about how education programs are working and which areas need to be prioritised for improvement. NAPLAN tests are one aspect of each school’s assessment and reporting process, and do not replace the extensive, ongoing assessments made by teachers about each student’s performance.

Do I need to prepare for NAPLAN

Do I need to prepare for NAPLAN?

posted 3/5/14

NAPLAN is not a test of content. Instead, it tests skills in literacy and numeracy that are developed over time through the school curriculum. Teachers will ensure that students are familiar with the test formats and will provide appropriate support and guidance. Excessive preparation is not useful and can lead to unnecessary anxiety. If you have any questions about your child's preparation for NAPLAN, you are encouraged to make a time to speak with their teacher. NAPLAN tests are constructed to give students an opportunity to demonstrate skills they have learned over time through the school curriculum, and NAPLAN test days should be treated as just another routine event on the school calendar. The best way you can help your child prepare for NAPLAN is to reassure them that NAPLAN tests are just one part of their school program, and to urge them to simply do the best they can on the day.

Let's talk criticisms of NAPLAN

Lets talk criticisms of NAPLAN

Posted 3/5/14

This short video discusses some of the criticisms of NAPLAN and how ACARA are addressing some of those criticisms and questions.  


Design is in the details

Design is in the detail: Paul Bennett

Posted 1/2/14

As a creative director at Ideo, Paul Bennett reminds us that design need not invoke grand gestures or sweeping statements to be successful, but instead can focus on the little things in life, the obvious, the overlooked.

In this TED talk Paul discusses how it's the little things that matter and whilst his video is aimed in the health care system, his message reigns strong in education and in particular Family and Community engagement. Any of us who have worked in the area of Family and Community engagement I imagine would have to agree. Take a look at Paul's TED talk.