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Immigrant Family & Community Engagement in Schools (1 credit)

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Take a look at the introduction and first module for FREE to see if this course is right for you!

Parent involvement – or what we now call family engagement – is increasingly being used as a strategy to support student achievement and to close opportunity gaps. In addition to the decades of research on the positive impact of family engagement on student achievement, the family engagement field has exponentially grown in the past few years with the development of the Dual Capacity-Building Framework. More and more school districts are recognizing the importance of family engagement and are hiring district- and school-level leaders to facilitate this work. Sometimes these departments and staff have expertise in specifically engaging immigrant families and communities, but often times they do not.

Likewise, English Language Learner (ELL) departments typically have expertise in the cultural backgrounds of their students and families and how to best communicate with them, but may not have expertise in family engagement. This can also be said for those working in immigrant and refugee organizations. ELL, immigrant, and refugee professionals may not be aware of national and state frameworks and initiatives for family engagement in schools nor evidence based strategies that are most known to impact student learning.


There is a great need for the family engagement and ELL/immigrant fields to come together in order to learn from each other and improve immigrant family and community engagement efforts. There are very few resources at the local, state, or national level that bring together these two fields and none that specifically looks at the Dual Capacity-Building Framework in terms of immigrant families. This online course seeks to fill this gap.

Will I get credit for taking this course?

Yes! Upon completion, all participants will earn a certificate of participation that states the number of professional development hours completed (10 hours). Also, if you are a social worker, this program is approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886764917-5828) for 9.5 continuing education contact hours.

If you need graduate credit, this is also an option! For a small additional fee ($75) and the completion of a final project, you will receive one (1) graduate credit through Brandman University. Brandman University is based out of California, but specializes in online education. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and is a member of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

What will I learn? What are the learning objectives?

In this course, you will:
  • Acquire information on the Dual Capacity-Building Framework and other theories from the field of family engagement
  • Gain awareness of the journeys, strengths, and challenges of immigrant families, particularly in regards to their interactions with school staff
  • Increase knowledge of how to welcome, orient, and provide language access for immigrant families
  • Discover strategies for increasing the capacity of immigrant families and school staff for engaging in partnerships

What People Are Saying:

"I really enjoyed this training! It was thorough, backed by data, but also had good real world examples that help me understand what various English learners go through. I have worked with the immigrant community for 10 years now and still learned a lot: from the educational laws that talk about translation to various programs that already exist to meet the needs of these communities. Laura's teaching style is well paced, clear and anecdotal, which I like. Overall, I would definitely recommend this course to anyone working in a school-based setting working with immigrant populations: teachers, front office staff, administrators, and even the ELL staff." - Adriana Salcedo, MPH, LICSW, School Social Worker, Washington, DC

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"Laura did an in-person version of her online course for us and I highly recommend her as a trainer and resource for supporting teams who would like to learn more about developing partnerships with immigrant and refugee families. Laura’s professional development training for our statewide network of family engagement professionals on Building Partnerships with Immigrant and Refugee Families was excellent. She is extremely well-versed and passionate about this topic. We all walked away with ideas for how to strengthen practices within our organizations." - Dr. Barbara Boone, Coordinator of the Ohio Family and Community Engagement Network, The Ohio State University


Current Deals:

- 2 enrollments for the price of 1! For 2 people in the same school district - 1 family engagement staff + 1 ESOL/ELL staff. Enroll together to receive the discount! Email laura@englishlearnerportal.com with the names of the two staff and receive the coupon code.



Your Instructor


Laura Gardner
Laura Gardner

Laura has 16 years of experience working in public education (MD & VA), refugee resettlement, and social work. While in public education, she worked as a district level manager for immigrant family and community engagement as well as a school social worker. Prior to working in the schools, Laura worked for Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) and managed their national technical assistance initiative to federal Refugee School Impact Grantees. Laura has facilitated trainings on building the capacity of teachers and school systems to engage immigrant families in their children’s education, language access, cultural competency, equity, unaccompanied immigrant children, immigrant family reunification, and refugee resettlement. Laura holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Education.





Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Thank you for completing this course! I look forward to reading your evaluations.

Get started now!