Guide for Engaging ELL Families:

20 Strategies for School Leaders

This guide offers school leaders twenty big ideas that will help them strengthen home-school partnerships on behalf of ELL students. A list of specific strategies follows each idea, along with questions for reflection that can be used for professional development activities on an individual basis or in group settings. The guide includes 6 sections: Connecting with ELL Families, Communicating Important Information, Parent Participation, Parents as Leaders, Community Partnerships, and Creating an Action Plan.

School leaders are in a unique position to engage the families of ELLs, even if previous attempts at family outreach have been unsuccessful. Engaged ELL parents bring invaluable dedication and wisdom regarding their children to the school community and can be crucial partners in supporting their children's success.

This guide offers twenty big ideas to help school leaders get started on the path towards a strong home-school partnership. An overview of the guide and related video clips are included below.

Each idea has four components:

  • What you need to know: Background information and context
  • Reflection: Questions about your own school setting that can be used for professional development activities with individuals or groups
  • Strategies: Specific, concrete strategies targeted for an audience of PreK-12 administrators
  • Examples: Stories shared by educators and administrators around the country
This guide is also available as a PDF.

Note: Links to additional resources on Colorín Colorado and other ELL websites are included in each section, as well as highlighted notes and recommended resources in the appendices at the end of the guide. If you have additional ideas or resources that you would like to recommend, feel free to share them in an e-mail to!

Video Clips

The following video clips feature administrators and experts speaking about ways in which school leaders can successfully engage ELL families.


Featured experts include:



For any reprint requests, please contact the author or publisher listed.

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