Equitable Community Engagement

Equitable community engagement—an ongoing, two-way process of building relationships, working collaboratively to support all students, and sharing power—can result in transformative benefits for schools and their school communities. To help guide educators, families, students, and other members of a school community toward a more equitable system of community engagement, the Great Schools Partnership created the resources below. They are based on our experience supporting school communities working collaboratively for more equitable, rigorous, and personalized education systems that prepare every student for college, careers, and global citizenship.

For additional tools on the subject of educational equity—including indicators of educational equity, as well as our equity pulse check—please visit our educational equity toolkit.

The following tools are broken up into three categories: introduction to community engagement, community conversations, and policy. Please make a choice below.

INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

These tools are intended for all members of a school community—educators, students, parents, community members, and other stakeholders—who want to better understand what equitable community engagement is and why it’s so important.

The Foundations of Equitable Community Engagement

In addition to research and foundational reading, this resource details the eight principles upon which this toolkit is based.

The Case for Community Engagement

Discover the many benefits of equitable community engagement. Also, learn what it really means to “share power."

Community Engagement: Moving Toward Equity

Learn the difference between providing information, encouraging engagement, and sharing power. Plus, get examples of each.

COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS

These tools are intended for all members of a school community—educators, students, parents, community members, and other stakeholders—who want to better understand what equitable community engagement is and why it’s so important.

Opening Prompts & Ice Breakers

These activities, when used along with collaboratively-established norms, are intended to help participants connect at the start of a meeting and feel less guarded.

Strategies for Facilitators Of Community Meetings

This resources helps facilitators think through possible facilitation challenges; it also provides moves that can be used to address them.

Community Conversations Checklist

The purpose of this checklist is to provide practical guidance to community groups, school leadership teams, or other groups who are planning community conversations.

Do Less, Do More: Strategies for Equitable Community Engagement

Replace defaults with more inclusive and reflective patterns and practices by making these low-cost, high-impact changes.

Debrief Protocol for Facilitators

This protocol helps facilitators and coordinators of community conversations to debrief after an event and think about what they might like to do differently or keep the same next time. 

LOCAL DISTRICT POLICY

These policy-related resources are designed for school and district personnel who, while not formal policymakers, still play a significant role in bringing the voices of students, parents, caregivers, family members, and community members to the process of making local district policy.

Here you will also find a video introduction to our policy toolkit by Sarah Linet, our policy specialist, and J. Duke Albanese, our senior policy advisor.

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Local District Policy Primer

This tool focuses on explaining local district policy—what it is, how it supports school and district improvement, and how it is created.

Getting Started With a Policy Process

This tool focuses on the foundational practices and strategies necessary to guide you in developing a community engagement policy.

Accessing and Understanding Local District Policy

This tool focuses on the steps you can take to find and understand specific local district policies.

District Policy Exemplar

An exemplar policy for equitable community engagement. State agencies, nonprofit organizations, districts, and schools may use or adapt this policy for noncommercial purposes in the public interest.

Interested In Learning More? Let's Talk.

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