Core Competencies for Family Engagement Professionals

Between 2020-2022, the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) worked with a variety of education practitioners, family engagement leaders, and researchers to create a nationally agreed-upon and unifying set of eight professional competencies for the family engagement field. The eight competencies are grouped into four domains representing what family-facing professionals do: Professionals in our field 1) reflect, 2) connect, 3) collaborate for learning, and 4) lead alongside families. NAFSCE has produced a report with detailed descriptions of the competencies. Our Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center team will be referring to these eight competencies in the development of our professional learning opportunities for family-facing professionals and those that support them. The following information is taken from NAFSCE’s May 2022 report.

What are the eight competencies?

Reflect

Competency 1: Respect, Honor, and Value Families
Competency 2: Embrace Equity Throughout Family Engagement

Connect

Competency 3: Build Trusting Reciprocal Relationships with Families
Competency 4: Foster Community Partnerships for Learning and Family Wellbeing

Collaborate for Learning

Competency 5: Co-Construct Learning Opportunities with Families
Competency 6: Link Family and Community Engagement to Learning and Development

Lead Alongside Families

Competency 7: Take Part in Lifelong Learning
Competency 8: Advocate for Systems Change

Why is this an important development in the field of family engagement?

The Family Engagement Core Competencies are important for a number of reasons:

Without an underlying set of guiding competencies, preparation and continuous learning of family engagement becomes haphazard and siloed. There needs to be a strong set of competencies – a north star – which preparation and professional learning strive to reach. 
Family-facing professionals are often not well-prepared for family engagement. Family-facing professionals frequently report that they receive little support in their pre-service or professional learning to engage families. The Family Engagement Core Competencies will help shape a scope and sequence for more comprehensive learning and training.  
Family engagement is a matter of equity. The role of systemic racism, implicit bias, and income inequality in shaping educational and opportunity disparities are more pronounced than ever before and require a guidepost to ensure mutual reciprocal relationships among families, communities, and institutions to rebuild trust and equity in our society. 
Family-facing professionals need a new set of tools and strategies to engage families. The watershed moment of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, one in which education will never be the same as it was before. The Family Engagement Core Competencies offer a new way of preparing educators and retooling them with an understanding of equity, health, and family well-being. 

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