School-University Partnerships; Family Engagement; Educational Systems Change;

Document Type




This article presents the development and challenges involved in one school-university partnership over a four-year period, to learn what is needed to support teachers, future teachers and schools to be able to gather, understand, and use family knowledge in long term, mutually meaningful, and co-designed family engagement efforts. Here we explore impact on teacher-candidate, teacher, administrator, and university faculty understanding in one high poverty, majority Latino, rural elementary school in the northwestern USA. The processes and structures involved in family-school co-construction of informal and formal family engagement experiences are detailed in this case study. The account details the inclusion of knowledge and applied strategies from Early Childhood home visiting (Roggman, Boyce, & Innocenti, 2008), a Human Services emphasis on navigating systems and interprofessional collaboration (Mellin, Belknap, Brodie, & Sholes, 2015), and prioritizing the immersion of teacher-candidates in diverse, low income, communities of color (Murrell, 2001). This account reinforces the importance of sustaining long term engagement in meaningful inquiry-based field experiences grounded in community collaboration in the pre-service preparation of a family and community-engaged teacher. The development of trusting relationships with family as a goal in itself, is discussed as foundational to cultivation of partnership thinking in the education of primary school students.


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