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San Diego State University

Center for Family, School, Community Engagement

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    Technical Assistance for School, Family and Community Partnerships

    Training Preschool and K-12 Educators and Parent Leaders in California and Serving Program Improvement Schools and Districts Across the Nation.

    The Center for, Family, School, Community Engagement (The Center) is a project of the San Diego State University Research Foundation located in the College of Education at San Diego State University.

    Originally established as the California Parent Center in 1999, it functioned as a federally funded Parent Information and Resource Center (PIRC) until 2004 when it became a statewide technical assistance center for school-family-community partnerships.

    In 2012 the California Parent Center joined The Center for, Family, School, Community Engagement

    Center Mission

    The Center builds the capacity of families, educators and community partners to advance the education of children together by providing: platforms for engaging in collaborative problem solving, leadership development for parents and educators to work together, and through new research that shines a light on partnership practices to support the healthy development and school success of children from “cradle through college.”  

    Center Vision 

    We envision parents from all backgrounds, educators, and supportive communities working together from children’s birth through all levels of their education to enhance their development, to close the achievement gap, and ensure graduation with college and career options. 

    • We envision parent leaders who are prepared to work with educators to reach out and engage other parents.
    • We envision educators who are prepared to welcome parents as allies and welcome their communities as supporters. 

    The guiding questions that drive the Center’s work are: “How can communities improve educational outcomes for children and what is the University’s role in engaging with the community to put knowledge and skills to work to solve our most persistent educational challenges?” 

    The Center is structured to engage powerful partners who have the shared responsibility for improving education--families, schools, districts, county offices of education, the University and the broader community, including community and faith-based organizations, and businesses-- to answer those questions together. 

    Structure and Function

    We believe that to substantially improve educational outcomes for children, a systems approach that includes all partners is necessary. Traditional approaches to engaging communities and families (such as parent workshops at schools) may not be effective over time, especially for those schools and districts that are struggling to increase achievement. Using nontraditional approaches, that develop leadership skills for parents and educators, that connect the community to its schools, and are informed by research and good practice can provide the basis for ongoing, thriving partnerships to support student achievement.     

    The Center’s work is focused on three Academies, with the goal of working collaboratively with parent leaders, P-16 educators, educational systems, and community partners to further develop and make them operational across the region. 

    Academy Core Functions: 

    1. Parent Leadership Academy and Network (PLAN) dedicated to developing skilled parent leaders, linked to each other through networks, who make significant contributions to strengthening their school communities through collaborative school-based projects with educators and supportive community organizations    

    2. Family-Community Engagement Academy (FACE) for Educators designed to build educators’ capacity to partner with all families, create welcoming school environments, and develop community support  (potentially includes interactive learning sessions with PLAN parent leader graduates) 
    3. Family-School-Community Academy for Research to identify and distribute best practices in family and community engagement to improve educational outcomes for children  

    The Center has provided regional trainings across California focused on assisting educators and parent leaders from preschool through high school to work in partnership to improve academic outcomes for students, especially in Program Improvement districts and schools.