School, Family, and Community Partnerships*

Fayette County Schools
School, Family, and Community Partnerships*
 
 
*Ideas from the book “School, Family, And Community Partnerships” authors Joyce L. Epstein, Mavis G. Sanders, Beth S. Simon, Karen Clark Salinas, Natalie, Rodriguez Jansorn, Frances L. Van Voorhis

 
PARENT   INVOLVEMENT & STUDENT   SUCCESS
·    Students achieve more, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial background, or parent’s educational level
·    Students exhibit more positive attitudes and behavior
·    Students have higher graduation rates
·    Children who are the farthest behind make the greatest gains
·    Student behaviors, such as alcohol use, violence, and antisocial behavior decrease
PARENT   INVOLVEMENT AND SCHOOL QUALITY
·    Schools have improved teacher morale and higher ratings of teachers by parents
·    Schools have more support from families and better reputations in the community
·    Schools outperform identical programs without parent and family involvement
·    Schools where children are failing improve dramatically
·    Schools’ practices to inform and to involve parents are stronger determinants of whether parents will be involved with their children’s education
PARENT INVOLVEMENT & PROGRAM DESIGN
·    For low-income families, programs offering home visits are more successful in involving parents
·    Frequent and effective communication from the school increases involvement
·    Parents are more likely to become involved when educators assist parents in helping their children with their schoolwork.
·    Educators and administrators must receive professional training on working with parents.
The parent/educator relationship must be developed into a comprehensive, well-planned partnership.

 
SAMPLE PRACTICES:
TYPE I: PARENTING
Assist families with parenting skills and setting home conditions to support children as students, and assist schools to understand families.                                          
ü Workshops, videotapes, computerized phone messages on parenting and child development at each age and grade level.                         
ü Parenteducation and other courses or training for parents (e.g., GED, family literacy, college or training programs)
ü Family support programs to assist families with health, nutrition, and parenting, including clothing swap shops, food co-ops, and parent-to-parent groups        
ü Home visiting programs or neighborhood meetings to help families understand schools and to help schools understand families
ü Annual survey for families to share information and concerns with schools about their children’s goals, strengths, and special talents
 
TYPE 2: COMMUNICATING
Conduct effective communications from school to home and from home to school about school programs and children’s progress.                                    
ü Conferences with every parent at least once a year with follow-ups as needed
ü Language translators to assist families as needed                                               
ü Folders of student work sent home weekly or monthly for parent review and comments                                           
ü Parent and student pickup of report cards 
ü Regular schedule of useful notices, memos, phone calls, and other communications
ü Effective newsletters including information about school events, student activities, and parents’ questions, reactions, and suggestions                                           
ü Clear information about choosing schools, and selecting courses, programs, and activities within school                   
ü Clear information on all school policies, programs, reforms, assessments, and transitions                                           
ü Annual survey of families on students’ needs and families’ reactions to school programs
 
TYPE 3: VOLUNTEERING
Organize volunteers and audiences to support the school and students.
ü Annual survey to identify interests, talents, and availability of volunteers
ü Parent room or family center for volunteer work, meetings, and resources for families
ü Class parents, telephone tree, or other structures to provide all families with needed information
ü Annual review of schedules for students’ performances, sports events, and assemblies for daytime and evening audiences
 
TYPE 4: LEARNING AT HOME
Involve families with their children on homework and other curriculum-related activities and decisions.
 
ü Information for families on required skills in all subjects at each grade
ü Information on homework policies and how to monitor and discuss schoolwork at home
ü Information on how to assist students with skills that they need to improve
ü Regular schedule of homework that requires students to demonstrate and discuss what they are learning in class
ü Calendars with daily or weekly activities for parents and students to do at home or in the community
ü Summer learning packets or activities
ü Family participation in helping students set academic goals each year and plan for college or work
 
TYPE 5: DECISION MAKING
Include families as participants in school decisions, and develop parent leaders and representatives
ü Active PTA/PTO or other parent organizations, advisory councils, or committees (e.g., curriculum, safety, personnel) for parent leadership and participation
ü District-level advisory councils and committees
ü Information on school or local elections for school representatives
ü Networks to link all families with parent representatives
ü Independent advocacy groups to lobby for school reform and improvements
TYPE 6: COLLABORATING WITH THE COMMUNITY
Coordinate resources and services from the community for families, students, and the school, and provide services to the community.
ü Information for students and families on community health, cultural, recreational, social support, and other programs or services
ü Information on community activities that link to learning skills and talents, including summer programs for students
ü “One-stop” shopping for family services through partnerships of school, counseling, health, recreation, job training, and other agencies
ü Service to the community by students, families, and schools (e.g., art, music, drama, and activities for senior citizens; recycling projects; tutoring or coaching programs; and others)