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Immigrant Family and Community Engagement in Schools

Parent involvement – or what we now call family engagement – is increasingly being used as a strategy to support student achievement and to close opportunity gaps. In addition to the decades of research on the positive impact of family engagement on student achievement, the family engagement field has exponentially grown in the past few years with the development of the Dual Capacity-Building Framework. More and more school districts are recognizing the importance of family engagement and are hiring district- and school-level leaders to facilitate this work. Sometimes these departments and staff have expertise in specifically engaging immigrant families and communities, but often times they do not.

Likewise, English Language Learner (ELL) departments typically have expertise in the cultural backgrounds of their students and families and how to best communicate with them, but may not have expertise in family engagement. This can also be said for those working in immigrant and refugee organizations. ELL, immigrant, and refugee professionals may not be aware of national and state frameworks and initiatives for family engagement in schools nor evidence based strategies that are most known to impact student learning.


There is a great need for the family engagement and ELL/immigrant fields to come together in order to learn from each other and improve immigrant family and community engagement efforts. There are very few resources at the local, state, or national level that bring together these two fields and none that specifically looks at the Dual Capacity-Building Framework in terms of immigrant families. This online course seeks to fill this gap.

Will I get credit for taking this course?

Yes! Upon completion, all participants will earn a certificate of participation that states the number of professional development hours completed (10 hours). Also, if you are a social worker, this program is approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886764917-5828) for 9.5 continuing education contact hours.

If you need graduate credit, this is also an option! For a small additional fee ($75) and the completion of a final project, you will receive one (1) graduate credit through Brandman University. Brandman University is based out of California, but specializes in online education. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and is a member of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

What will I learn? What are the learning objectives?

In this course, you will:
  • Acquire information on the Dual Capacity-Building Framework and other theories from the field of family engagement
  • Gain awareness of the journeys, strengths, and challenges of immigrant families, particularly in regards to their interactions with school staff
  • Increase knowledge of how to welcome, orient, and provide language access for immigrant families
  • Discover strategies for increasing the capacity of immigrant families and school staff for engaging in partnerships


1 graduate credit available

$249

Online Course - Six Weeks

October 14 - November 22, 2019

What People Are Saying:

“"I have a Master's in TESL and learned a few things from this course! Particularly on the differences between interpretation and translation, and how important family engagement is. I am hoping to implement some of these best practices at my school!" ”

Educator from Massachusetts

“"I really enjoyed this training! It was thorough, backed by data, but also had good real world examples that help me understand what various English learners go through. I have worked with the immigrant community for 10 years now and still learned a lot: from the educational laws that talk about translation to various programs that already exist to meet the needs of these communities. Laura's teaching style is well paced, clear and anecdotal, which I like. Overall, I would definitely recommend this course to anyone working in a school-based setting working with immigrant populations: teachers, front office staff, administrators, and even the ELL staff."”

Adriana Salcedo, MPH, LICSW, School Social Worker, Washington, DC

“"This class was so interesting, enjoyable, and immediately relevant to my current work. I completed the course with a ton of valuable resources to share with fellow teachers, staff, and families! Thank you SO much!!!" ”

Educator from Delaware