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Family Portrait

Family Leader Focus Groups

West Virginia Family Engagement Center
Family Leader Focus Groups

At the start of its work with Cohort 3 counties and schools, the West Virginia Family Engagement Center began its implementation of Family Leader Focus Groups to elevate family voice throughout WVFEC programmatic planning and implementation. The purpose of the WVFEC family leader focus group is to collect, analyze, and disseminate data related to family attitudes and perceptions regarding family engagement in West Virginia schools. These data have been utilized by WVFEC Program Directors, Family Engagement Specialists, the West Virginia Department of Education, and local, state, and national partners to better understand the ways in which students and families within rural communities respond to both successes and challenges around family engagement efforts. 

 Key Goals: 

  1. Following the completion of the family leader focus groups, Family Engagement Specialists complete school-facing interviews with a school administrator, educator, and school staff to triangulate the data. 

  2. If there are gaps in particular areas such as communication or responding to student and family needs, the Family Engagement Specialist will work alongside the school to co-create ways in which to bridge these gaps in help to alleviate barriers to family engagement and better serve students and families, based directly upon their responses. 

  3. WVFEC school-based action plans and budgets are created based upon the data collected from the family leader focus groups, and family voice is elevated throughout the planning and implementation process.

Content Overview: 

  • The family leader focus groups showcase the voices and lived experiences of rural students and families in order to best support their needs through WVFEC family engagement programming in West Virginia Schools.

  • Following the family leader focus groups, the family-facing data was triangulated with data from administrators, educators, and school staff from our participating schools. The information from the families, as well as additional data presented by the schools has helped tremendously in better identifying and supporting core areas of need, directly shown by participating families. 

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