Moments of Connection Building Equitable Relationships between Families and Educators through Participatory Design Research

Main Article Content

Paul J. Kuttner
Almaida Yanagui
Gerardo R. López
Anne Barton
Jennifer Mayer-Glenn


Recent years have borne evidence of a resurgence of calls for schools to include families in school decision-making as part of a broader movement for equitable family-school partnerships; these partnerships require strong parent-teacher relationships characterized by mutual trust. However, such relationships are inevitably shaped by systems and histories related to racialization and power. This article explores how culturally and linguistically diverse families alongside teachers from the dominant school culture can begin building trusting relationships in spite of inequity. Its basis is an in-depth analysis of family-educator interactions in a participatory design-based research project in Salt Lake City, UT. We extract what we call moments of connection — moments when participants connected with one another despite the personal, historical, social, and institutional forces that so often divide them. We utilize these moments to suggest avenues for building trust, solidarity, and increasingly humanizing forms of engagement in our schools and communities.

Article Details