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  • Establish social, emotional, behavioral learning and well-being as a priority in your SU/SD and school. It’s important to share the message to caregivers/families that schools play an essential role in promoting social, emotional, behavioral learning and well-being. The following statements will help inform those engaged in the conversation (Simonsen, McIntosh, 2021):
  • Supporting students’ development of social, emotional, and behavioral (SEB) skills has been part of educational practice for decades;
  • Effectively teaching Social, Emotional, & Behavioral (SEB) skills are supported by rigorous research and is effective in helping students develop skills they need to navigate real life outside of schools. Social skills are essential in a job setting. “People don’t lose jobs because they didn’t do well in pre-calculus, but because they can’t get along with co-workers or supervisors.” (McIntosh, 2021);
  • School systems that prioritize family engagement will benefit from following the guidance provided in the Vermont Agency of Education document: Family Engagement: Making Connections with VTmtss. Included are seven Performance Indicator categories with examples of effective practices for each one and the VTmtss Driver Diagram components that connect to the performance indicators.
  • Check out this Vermont AOE Special Issue on Family Engagement that focuses on recovery, reconnection, and resources to support school district recovery and implementation plans.
  • Families/caregivers can be invited to support the systems to promote student success. Asking families to help address the issues presented to schools due to COVID can go a long way toward building connections with families while accomplishing important tasks. For instance, one district put out a call for caregivers to volunteer to help with vaccination clinics.
  • Examine data that focuses on local needs to develop local solutions (McIntosh, 2021).
  • This Vermont Agency of Education webpage on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement provides a plethora of resources on family engagement, including a Family Engagement Toolkit and Self-Assessment.
  • Consider a new role for your school/district — a Family Engagement Coordinator. This person can support direct connections with families on school issues such as engagement and absenteeism.