Family and Community Partnerships Reflection Tool for Family-Facing Professionals

Welcome to our reflection tool for educators and anyone else who is serving families on a regular basis!

By using the tool below, you will be able to:

  • Reflect on 4 Core Competency Areas of family-facing professionals,
  • Receive a “score” for each Core Competency Area to identify areas in need of work, and
  • Add in evidence to support each of your self-reflection ratings. 

For each item, you will be asked if you are

  • “Beginning” (score of 1)
  • “Developing” (score of 2)
  • “Skilled” (score of 3) or
  • “Accomplished” (score of 4)

Please note, this tool is not designed or intended for evaluation of professionals, but rather as a way to guide improvement for an individual or small group who works with families on a routine basis.

Background Information about the Reflection Tool

In the spring of 2022, The National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) released its groundbreaking report, The Family Engagement Core Competencies: A Body of Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions for Family-Facing Professionals. The document represents the nationally agreed-upon and unifying set of professional competencies for the family engagement field. Developed across six main phases over a three-year period, the Core Competencies were created in collaboration with parents, educators, state leaders, and faculty in the family engagement field to highlight what effective family-facing professionals know, do, and believe. The Core Competencies align with a range of professional organizational standards and were vetted through a national field survey of over 500 family-facing professionals. 

To bring the ideas in the Core Competencies to life, the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center partnered with NAFSCE to develop the Family and Community Partnerships Reflection Tool for Family-Facing Professionals. From the outset, the goal of this tool has been to serve as a springboard for self-reflection and a catalyst for ongoing conversation around family and community engagement practice.  The items in the tool were inspired by multiple conversations with family-facing professionals throughout Ohio including parent leaders, family-facing professionals, and a national representative group of subject matter experts. Download a copy of the reflection tool below, or visit our online survey version of the tool. Upon completion of the online version, you can download your responses. We do not ask for your name in the online version – so your response stays anonymous.

Definitions to Know

Family Facing Professional: By family-facing professionals we refer to anyone who works with families including early childhood, elementary, and secondary educators, school counselors, family liaisons, principals, district administrators, state-level staff, as well as educators within community settings such as librarians and afterschool staff.

Families: We use the term “family” in its broadest sense, defined as parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and any other caregivers who support children’s growth and development.

Who the Tool is For

We envision that this can be used by a range of family-facing professionals in a variety of contexts:

  • Educators, family liaisons, and other staff in schools to assess their practice and engage in dialogue with others around family engagement topics
  • Principals, professional development providers, and coaches to structure the scope and sequence of professional and continuing learning opportunities
  • Faculty in educator preparation programs to incorporate into coursework
  • Afterschool, library, and museum staff and others in community organizations who provide families with opportunities to learn and acquire skills through their services
  • Parent leaders to advocate for high-quality education in their communities and nationally

How to Use the Tool

The tool can be used in a variety of ways.

  • To promote self-reflection
  • To support family-facing professionals in understanding the expectations and competencies of their roles
  • To guide family-facing professionals in becoming more aware of their learning, growth, and progress
  • To improve the work of family-facing professionals

To complete the reflection, either individually or in a group setting:

  1. Read each item
  2. Consider the degree of performance
  3. Note down evidence, examples, and anecdotes to support this rating.

Please note, this tool is not designed or intended for evaluation of professionals.  

Also, please note that although the items within the reflection tool align with the domains and competencies within the Core Competencies, it is not an exact one-to-one correspondence. Many of the items in this tool were edited, combined, condensed, and reworded based on recommendations from subject matter experts to be more specific to the actions of the family-facing professional role and easy to complete.  

For examples of promising practices of the Core Competencies please visit


The self-reflection tool is organized around the four main domains representing what family-facing professionals do – reflect, connect, collaborate and lead alongside families. Each domain is summarized here.  To learn more, refer to the Core Competencies full document.


Family-facing professionals actively reflect. They examine, respect, and value the cultural and linguistic diversity of families and communities and explore and honor with families how children develop, grow, and change from birth through adulthood. They also embrace equity throughout family engagement. They look inward to consider their own beliefs and biases  as well as reflect on how history and social contexts impact systems that influence family and community engagement.


Family-facing professionals connect with families and communities. They build trusting relationships with families based on mutual respect and understanding. Family-facing professionals also actively connect to the wider community in which families live in order to better understand and know the community and its resources. They facilitate connections to these resources and support the growth of social networks


Family-facing professionals collaborate with families around student learning and development. They leverage the connections and relationships they’ve developed to co-construct and develop curriculum, programs, services, and policies with families, as well as partner with families around individual children’s social and academic learning goals and curiosities.


Family-facing professionals lead alongside families. They take part in the broader family engagement field, constantly working to improve their practice, as well as advocate for systems change to champion equity in partnership with families and communities.

The Degrees of Self-Reflection on the Competency Areas (Rating Scale)

The degrees of performance that make up the continuum are as follows:

  • Beginning: The family-facing professional is just beginning in this area. They have limited understanding, knowledge, skills or ability in the core competency described. They tend to think of family engagement as a one-way street, oftentimes adopting deficit-based attitudes, focusing on family engagement as compliance and random events that are school-centric.  
  • Developing: The family-facing professional is learning and considering the importance of this area. They have basic understanding, knowledge, skills or ability in the core competency described. The family-facing professional acknowledges the critical role that parents and caregivers play in their communities and the systems they interact with. They are beginning their exploration to understand how family and community engagement is reciprocal in nature, moving away from deficit-based attitudes and seeking to find strengths in all families, seeing family engagement as an instructional practice and not as random one-off events.  They are beginning to situate their work beyond school mandates and processes. 
  • Skilled: The family-facing professional is testing and considering new ideas in this area. They have good understanding, knowledge, skills or ability in the competency described. They utilize a reciprocal model of family engagement, where families are seen as partners who actively contribute to the success of their children. They recognize the strengths and assets that families bring to the table, and build on those strengths to support children’s success. They are making efforts to test different approaches and are developing parent and family engagement and family leadership as strategic priorities.
  • Accomplished: The family-facing professional has fully embodied this competency and puts it into common practice. They have deep understanding, knowledge, skills or ability in the competency described. They utilize a deeply reciprocal model of family engagement, where families are seen as collaborators who actively contribute to the success of their children. They utilize the strengths and assets that families bring to the table to promote children’s success, in ongoing and continuous ways. They have built and cultivated authentic relationships with families and communities and have created multiple opportunities for family and community engagement alongside families. They embed equitable family engagement practices into their everyday work, including having parents in decision-making roles.