Family and Community Engagement

School-based health centers are most effective when they actively engage families and communities in their efforts to support student health and success. These resources are offer best practices for engaging parent and community allies.

Parent Engagement Toolkit

Our Parent Engagement Toolkit is a two-part technical assistance tool that includes resources such as fun staff development activities, self-assessment quizzes, best-practice case studies, interviews with leaders in parent engagement, and tips for creative parent engagement techniques. The toolkit is written specifically for school health center directors and staff, and is designed to challenge, inspire, and connect school health centers looking to improve their connection with families and community.

Members of the California School-Based Health Alliance can access a PDF of the toolkit for free by going to our Member Resources webpage.

Not yet a member? Become a member now.
Non-members may click here to obtain a copy of the toolkit for a suggested donation of $35 per copy.

A Facilitator’s Guide to Improving Family Involvement in Schools

This tool, developed by UC Davis, provides a framework for strengthening parent leadership and involvement in school-community partnerships. The module’s guidebook promotes an on-going process of support and leadership skill-building that draws upon life stories as a strategy to unleash parent’s potential as leaders. The module includes a guidebook, a resource packet, and a CD developed for facilitators and instructors who provide parent leadership training. The module targets primarily Latino communities, but may be used to enhance leadership skills for all parents. For more information, visit the UC Davis website.

CDC: Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health. This  resource defines and describes parent engagement and identifies specific strategies and actions that schools can take to increase parent engagement in school health activities. This document was developed in collaboration with expert researchers, public health practitioners, and educators.

Center for Health In Schools: Tools for Parents

Created by the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools, the Parents’ Resource Center provides two types of information: Learn Now, a web portal that provides valuable links to parent-friendly resources on child and adolescent health issues, and Act Now, a guide written by CHHCS to help parents assess health-related services and programs at their child’s schools.

Community Engagement in Public Health

Community Engagement in Public Health introduces a conceptual framework for community engagement in public health, highlighting real examples from Contra Costa County in Northern California. It presents the Ladder of Community Participation as a way to illustrate a range of approaches that can be used to engage communities around both traditional and emerging public health issues. The paper is geared toward local health departments and the arguments apply to school health centers as well.

Families as Partners

The National School Boards Association has published, Family as Partners: Fostering Family Engagement for Healthy and Successful Students, a resource to help school leaders effectively engage families in schools, particularly around school health issues. Families as Partners includes an overview of family engagement in schools as well as guidance, strategies, and resources for developing and implementing successful family engagement policies and practices. In addition to the publication, NSBA has developed an accompanying family engagement webpage, which includes family engagement policies and surveys as well as templates for school districts to adapt and use to better engage families.

Parent Engagement Electronic Toolkit

Moving Beyond Parent Involvement to Parent Engagement is a toolkit designed by the Michigan Department of Education and gives concrete examples and rubrics outlining how teachers can reach out to parents and make them feel comfortable as partners in their child’s welfare. The tools are easily applicable to school health centers.

Parents in Action! A Guide to Engaging Parents in Local School Wellness Policy

California Project LEAN (CPL) conducted a literature review and key informant interviews to answer the following questions: Why do parents participate in school activities? What would get parents involved? What are obstacles in parent participation? This toolkit aims to support parent efforts to improve the school environment with an emphasis on healthy food and physical activity. The Parents in Action! tool includes fact sheets, parent handouts, case studies, and planning templates.

Re-Visioning Case Management Monograph

A publication by Strategies titled “Re-visioning Case Management: Partnering with Families and Communities to Create Meaningful Change” is designed to spark discussions and encourage exploration of a comprehensive approach to engage families, organizations, and communities in ways that bring about meaningful and enduring change. To access the monograph, visit the Family Resource Centers website.

The California Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

PTA is the one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and highest profile volunteer organization working on behalf of public schools, children, and families. In their official position statement, the California State PTA supports the concept of school-based health centers, believing all children and youth are entitled to physical and mental health care. The California State PTA website has information on parent involvement, including a guide to Parents Empowering Parents. Membership is required to access some materials.

Education for Pregnant and Parenting Minors in California

The National Partnership for Women & Families, National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and Planned Parenthood of Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley, Inc. have released a free quick-reference guide for educators, health and social care providers who work with California youth who are pregnant or parenting.  It is a companion to a new website written and designed to inform pregnant and parenting youth in California of their legal rights.  Education for Pregnant and Parenting Minors in California is one of three professional guides released today; the others are for health care and social service workers in California.

Please email  for information for a free face-to-face training on the California Pregnant and Parenting Youth Guide or go to the webpage and look for dates and times for free online trainings under the professional resources tab.