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Cultivating Relationships With Families and Communities Toward Educational Justice and Community Well-Being

Sat, April 14, 12:25 to 1:55pm, New York Marriott Marquis, Seventh Floor, Columbia Room


The field of family engagement increasingly calls for more collective and relational forms of engagement that aim to shift powered and divisive relationships, particularly for nondominant families, however we have a dearth of practices for doing so and limited understanding about what such spaces can engender. Using participatory design research methodology, this paper presents findings from eight community design circles across geographically, culturally, and linguistically diverse communities. We argue that attending to relationships and power within and across communities opened space for families and communities to challenge white and middle-class normative practices and discourses. In turn, this enabled participants in the design circles to identify, dream, and co-design solutions to pressing issues impacting their communal wellbeing and educational justice.


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