Many community leaders, parents, and policy-makers still think it is solely the school's responsibility for student learning. Educators realize their professional responsibilities but they know they must have help from the family and community. There are specific ways in which schools can increase parent and community engagement. These ways are described.
School principals are tapping into community resources more and more in an effort to build capacity, run schools more efficiently and effectively, and to help foster positive student outcomes. Research shows there are many factors which influence the development of children. Some of these factors are family and community support and an engaging safe environment.
To build school and community partnerships, it is important that students have a voice and there is collaboration among students, families and community. There must be a shared vision with buy-in from all stakeholders. The right community leaders must be involved and committed to a common vision. School and community staff should be blended to utilize all resources.
A series of videos identify innovative approaches for improving family engagement that increases positive outcomes for both parents and their children. These include supporting parents and children during transition times, engaging fathers, collaborative goal-setting, and building community.
Engagement is the act of gaining partners by listening to what parents think and not just telling parents what they can do to contribute. One effective way of building relationships with families is making home visits. Parents are given an opportunity to share their concerns and needs. Schools must consider their methods of communication with parents. The more conversations that take place, the more opportunities for improving family and school relationships.
A survey done shows that parent engagement has increased but is still a challenge for many schools.Through community partnerships, two districts were able to improve student programs, facilities, community housing, and test scores. Steps are shared in how to begin community partnerships.
The Dual Capacity Framework for family and school partnerships is outlined. The components of the Framework are listed and described. Case studies identify how individual districts implemented the Framework and what resulted of the implementation.