Overview: Cultural Diversity and Family Engagement

Print-friendly version of directions [pdf]

Estimated time: 15 minutes

Target audience: parents & families, educators, administrators


All improvement efforts, including those pertaining to family and community involvement, should be grounded in research.   While research reports are unlikely to provide a one-size-fits-all process or step-by-step directions for these efforts, they can provide guidance to those who are organizing this work.  In this activity participants will engage in an exploration of the following questions:

  • What are the common involvement experiences of the participants?
  • What common experiences are associated with current research?


The pre-assessment helps to determine the experience of the participants.  Each survey item is aligned to the recommendations from Diversity: School, Family, & Community Connections, a synthesis found with the Additional Resources. The pre-assessment is a helpful tool to focus participants before introducing the findings and recommendations of the synthesis. This exploration activity is designed to create common ground on which participants can build deeper understanding of the findings and recommendations.

At the end of this activity, participants will have an awareness of the focus of the findings and recommendations that are threaded into the pre-assessment survey and a shared understanding of the types of experiences the participants have had with family and community involvement with schools.

Link to RtI Concepts and/or Research-based practices

Five of Epstein’s Six Types of Family-School-Community Partnerships are addressed in this section.  Parenting, Learning at Home, Communication, Volunteering, and Involving the Community are strongly linked to engaging with families from diverse backgrounds.  Once the groundwork is laid for building these five keys with families and establishing an environment of trust, decision-making can be effectively addressed. RtI Model Components - Culturally responsive practices are central to RtI in Wisconsin.  Collaboration is represented here as well.


Read and complete Guiding Questions: Responding to Cultural Mismatch in Schools.

Take the pre-assessment survey and reflect on your results.

Reflective Questions:

  1. As you look through your pre-assessment responses, what were your strengths and weaknesses or the strengths and weaknesses of your school community?  Use your journal to record your thoughts regarding where your strengths and weakness lie.
  2. How can you build on or use the strengths to address some areas that need improvement or work?


Guiding Questions: Responding to Cultural Mismatch in Schools

Pre-Assessment Survey on Diversity: School, Family, and Community Connections


Going Deeper

Additional Activities

Additional Resources

Synthesis: Diversity: School, Family, & Community Connections
This synthesis can be used to open discussion on a school’s contextual needs related to diverse populations and family and community involvement such as:

  • cultural and contextual issues that impact family and community involvement efforts
  • relationship of cultural and contextual issues to student achievement
  • impact of personal perspective on type and level of involvement
  • strategies that have been used effectively in the field

Strategy Brief:  Reaching Out to Diverse Populations: What Can Schools Do to Foster Family-School Connections?

Group Activity

Estimated time: 15 minutes

Activity Directions for Groups [pdf]

Additional Handouts for Groups: