School and Family Partnerships

Effective school family partnerships are based on mutual trust and respect and shared concern and responsibility for the education of the students.

According to research, families dramatically influence the degree to which students are engaged in school, and strong family-school partnerships improve outcomes for students.

Early Childhood Special Education: Opportunity to Provide Parental Input!

Share your input information- English

Share your input information- Spanish

According to the Division for Early Childhood (DEC), a branch of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) that promotes policies and practices for young children with disabilities and their families, recommended family practices encompass three themes:

1. Family-centered practices: Practices that treat families with dignity and respect; are individualized, flexible, and responsive to each family’s unique circumstances; provide family members complete and unbiased information to make informed decisions; and involve family members in acting on choices to strengthen child, parent, and family functioning.

2. Family capacity-building practices: Practices that include the participatory opportunities and experiences afforded to families to strengthen existing parenting knowledge and skills and promote the development of new parenting abilities that enhance parenting self-efficacy benefits and practices.

3. Family and professional collaboration: Practices that build relationships between families and professionals who work together to achieve mutually agreed upon outcomes and goals that promote family competencies and support the development of the child.

Recommended Family Practices

Rhode Island Parent Information Network

The Rhode Island Parent Information Network assists individuals, parents, families, and children to achieve their goals for health, education, and socio-economic well-being by providing information, training, education, support and advocacy for person/family centered care and system change.

RI Special Education Procedural Safeguards Notice

Federal and state laws and regulations require that schools provide the parents of a child with a disability a full explanation of their rights in the special education process. These rights are described in writing in the RI Special Education Procedural Safeguards Notice.

Productive, shared decision-making among families and school team members is an important factor in ensuring a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for each child with a disability. Relationships and trust are the core of family-school partnership; differences in perspective and opinion among parents and professionals, within and beyond the evaluation and IEP process, are expected and valuable when productively managed.

When Schools and Families Disagree

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) recognizes that shared decision-making can be challenging, and there are times when family and school team members do not reach agreement or when a student’s entitlements may come under question. The RIDE Office of Student, Community and Academic Supports (OSCAS) offers several state level options to assist families and schools in resolving these issues.

Special Education Call Center: If you need assistance with the option that is right for you or you have questions about services, you are welcome to contact the:

OSCAS Special Education Call Center at 401-222-8999

El Centro de Llamadas al 401-222-8999

For more information on Early Childhood Special Education, contact your district level Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Coordinator or select from the following sections: