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The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Education (COE) and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) have been selected as one of only seven state teams nationwide to take part in a multi-year initiative that will address deficiencies in teacher preparation standards regarding family engagement.

COE Center on Disability Studies Associate Professor Caryl Hitchcock, COE Department of Educational Psychology Chair Katherine Ratliffe and Polly Quigley of the Community Engagement Branch of the HIDOE, represent the Hawaiʻi National Association of Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE team in the Family Engagement Consortium of Pre-Service Educator Preparation.

The COE team, along with other selected state teams, will develop a framework that will inform both state and local level policy and practice, and support teaching colleges in the development of institution-specific curricula.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the essential role families play in their children’s education is more critical than ever,” said Hitchcock. “However, the State of the States report makes it clear that educator preparation programs have to do more to train future teachers in how to effectively engage families and establish trusted relationships.” Hitchcock serves as a curriculum developer for the Hawaiʻi Family Engagement Center.

In a recent NAFSCE survey, just 43% of early childhood K–12 educators indicated they were properly prepared and trained to engage families in their children’s learning during their training and preparation program.

Ratliffe added, “Pre-service teachers need more opportunities to practice communication skills as well as experience establishing relationships and working with families. Our college developed online modules to embed family engagement lessons into the COE curriculum, and we are creating a virtual tutoring program that would provide students some practical experience with children and families. Our team is also developing online case study scenarios to train future teachers in high impact family engagement strategies.”

For the full story, visit COE’s website.

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