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Building family-educator partnerships to support student
well-being and achievement.

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CAFE featured in NAFSCE's Report

The National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement  (NAFSCE) published a major report: Catalyzing Family, School, and Community Partnerships: A Review of the Work of the Statewide Family Engagement Centers. This report explores the vital work that the twelve Statewide Family Engagement Centers (including CAFE) are doing to strengthen connections between home, school, and community to support students, families, and schools. CAFE is featured on pages 33-34.

This session is an invitation to begin with families and communities, transform power, build reciprocity and agency, and undertake change as collective inquiry to transform our systems. We will explore how we might begin to reckon with the historically-deep and accumulating impacts of settler colonialism and institutional racism – and lead with (not for!) minoritized youth, families and communities to cultivate more liberatory and just schools.

Dr. Ishimaru will share insights and practices from her book, Just Schools: Building Equitable Collaborations with Families and Communities. Get the book ahead of time with this special discounted code SEPTA2021 at checkout for a 15% discount plus FREE shipping. Place your order at:

The 2021 National Family Engagement (NFE) Summit will be held at the beautiful Norfolk Waterside Marriott Hotel in Norfolk, Virginia. In an effort to reach as many educators as possible in this pandemic era, NFE will continue to provide virtual attendance options so that no one misses out on this exciting and engaging event. Through this summit you will:

  • Gain strategies to promote equitable family engagement practices

  • Discover family engagement practices that lead to maximum learning advances for students

  • Assess the effectiveness of the family engagement efforts in your school or district

  • Learn how to build the capacity to support collaborative family and school partnerships

  • Network and exchange ideas with educators from around the nation

  • Gain strategies to connect with families in a virtual environment

Who Are We?

Collaborative Action for Family Engagement (CAFE)

Md PaCAFE is the Statewide Family Engagement Center for the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania. We help build sustainable infrastructure to support healthy family, student, and community engagement. CAFE serves all educators – from state agencies to school districts to school staff and early care providers – and families by developing resources, co-designing learning opportunities, and fostering dialogue designed to help families connect with local schools and support their children’s development and learning.


CAFE implements a co-constructed approach, working alongside our clients, to ensure the effectiveness of our work. Below are examples of the services we offer:

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State Education Agencies

- Develop and implement a seamless birth to 21 family engagement framework.
- Establish an advisory committee in each state.

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LEAs, Local school systems, Learning communities, Community-based organizations, Educators

- Create partnerships with families, schools, and communities.
- Facilitate parent academies.
- Convene communities of practice.

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- Provide opportunities for leadership development.
- Support for literacy skills development.
- Create resources to promote school readiness and academic achievement.

Featured Projects

Queen Anne's County: Strengthening Community through Family and Student Growth

MAEC and the National Center for Family Learning (NCFL) partner with a school to implement two-generational literacy programs for low-income families, predominantly immigrants and English learners, in Queen Anne's County, MD. This program expands parents' role in their children's education, connects families with free WiFi, and supports positive community relationships.

teacher and parent sitting at computer
Facilitating Family/Educator Partnerships

MAEC and Academic Parent Teacher Teams facilitate strong relationships between families and teachers in Prince George's County, MD. Through team and individual meetings, teachers and parents practice activities to improve their students' continuum of learning from school to home, leading to student success in key concepts.

Family engagement needs to be more than a series of random acts. It requires a systemic, integrated, and comprehensive approach to working with families in support of children’s learning.

Susan Shaffer,
President, MAEC

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