How Family-Friendly Can Your School Be?

Download a printable version of “How Family-Friendly Can Your School Be?”How Family Friendly Can Your School Be?

Please use these questions to look at your school and talk with parents, students, and staff; find ways to make your school an even more welcoming place for ALL!

Check the items your school does well, and place a star beside ideas you’d like your school to try.

_ People entering the school experience a warm, caring, student-centered place.  Positive conversations and activities can be heard all through the building.

_ The school has a big “Welcome Families” sign in several languages outside the entrance, friendly signs inside the school, recent color photos of student activities, and student art, to welcome all who enter.  The entrance is inviting.

_ Arrow and clearly worded signs guide people around the building.  Clear signs make it easy to find and enter the office.

_ The office staff is friendly and polite to everyone, on the phone and in person.  They immediately greet visitor and make everyone feel welcome.  There are chairs for those who have to wait.

_ ALL school staff behave in a welcoming manner, including teachers, custodians, cafeteria staff, bus drivers: everyone!  Courtesy is a powerful policy and strategy of the school, an education in how to be an adult.

_ Student work is displyed throughout the school, with a description of the purpose of the work and the standard that it meets.

_ The teacher’s photo, name, course title and grade level are posted outside each classroom, for everyone’s convenience.

_ The school establishes a tone of respect for all families, regardless of culture, ethnicity, language, or disability.  There are photos of recent family activities at the school, showing that the school belongs to all of us.

_ Professional development for staff includes training on cultural competence in working with diverse families and on involving parents.

_ All activities and programs for families have a focus on how to do well in school.

_ The school has a contact person, a parent involver, who is easy for parents to reach and talk with.

_ The school actively recruits and welcomes new families from all backgrounds for school committees and improvement efforts.

_ The school makes sure that teachers and other personnel have personal contact with each family they serve, on a regular basis.  Staff shares positive news with parents.

_ The school makes sure that teachers and other personnel have personal contact with each family they serve, on a regular basis.  Staff shares positive news with parents.

_ The school has an ongoing system for Student Assistance/Response to Intervention that monitors how each student is doing academically, gets prompt, appropriate help for students early in the semester and tracks improvements.  An effective team of teachers, counselors, and an administrator determine who needs to help and notifies students and parents early, so improvements can begin.  This is a powerful way to comply with recent legislation mandating the closing of current achievement gaps.  It is empowering for all:  Students, parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators.

_ The school offers workshops for parents to help them understand how curriculum is taught, what is required for success, and how to help their children learn at home.

_ The school has a system for getting frequent feedback, ideas, questions, and concerns from parents about how they experience the school’s friendliness, sensitivity, and helpfulness in achieving the best education and school life for their children.

_ Teachers, students and parents share the same parent involvement policy and sign the same home-school agreement to work together for the best education of each child.

_ The school holds a welcome back to school family event at the start of the year, with presentations and information on how to help your child succeed in school life and work.

_ There is a parent resource room or comfortable space where parents can borrow books and educational materials and watch videos.

_ The school provides timely information to parents in language and a format that are easily understood.  Translations are available as needed.

_ Classes on constructive parenting skills are held at the school, to help 21st century parents help their children.

_ Classes are held for parents to learn to recognize early signs of a child’s interest in gang activity, and specific gang language, graffiti, and hand signs.  Parents are encouraged to attend and inform themselves.  Help is made available for parents whose children are interested or involved in gang.

_ The school offers a variety of opportunities for teachers and families to meet face to face, such as literacy nights, open house parent conference, class observations, field trips, theater and art nights, etc.

_ Families and the community describe the school as a “Family-Friendly School”, and are often seen at the school.

Download a printable version of “How Family-Friendly Can Your School Be?”

Provided by:

Dr. Betty Howell Gray

Seattle Alliance of Black School Educators (SABSE) in partnership with

Seattle Public Schools Family Engagement Department


Visit our website at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s