Schools and Families: Creating Essential Connections for Learning

Schools and Families: Creating Essential Connections for Learning

Schools and Families: Creating Essential Connections for Learning

Schools and Families: Creating Essential Connections for Learning

Synopsis

This practical volume is designed to help school practitioners and educators build stronger connections with families and enhance students achievement in grades K-12. Beyond simply getting parents involved in school work, the book describes how positive family-school relationships can socialize and support children and adolescents as learners throughout their academic careers. Identified are key pathways by which professionals and parents can develop common goals for learning and behavior, a shared sense of accountability, better communication, and sense of accountability, better communication, and a willingness to listen to different perspectives. The focus is on assumptions, goals, attitudes, behaviors, and strategies that professionals can draw on both to assess school-home connections that are currently in place and to implement new, more productive practices. Grounded in theory and research, the book features case examples, self-reflective exercises, and discussion questions in every chapter, as well as useful appendices.

Excerpt

Many books exist about families and schools, and working with families has long been an interest of the fields of psychology and education (Lombard, 1979). Why another book?

This book is written for professionals who are interested in changing policies and practices related to home–school relationships. A diverse array of professionals who work on behalf of children and families may find it of interest, including school, community, and clinical psychologists, and counselors, social workers, educators, special educators, and administrators. However, it is different than many excellent existing resources for school and community-based professionals. First, this book is not about parent or family involvement. Parent or family involvement is multifaceted and different definitions are not interchangeable (Keith et al., 1993). Parent involvement has been referred to as an undifferentiated, complex construct that is comprised of different parent behaviors (Zellman & Waterman, 1998). Furthermore, parent involvement, by virtue of its label, implies a microsystemic orientation such as the family’s role in enhancing school success or the effect of family influences on children’s academic and social growth.

Rather, this book is about the interface of two primary socialization environments—family and school—for children’s learning. Positive family–school relationships are necessary for socializing and supporting children and adolescents as learners (Bempechat, 1998). This book emphasizes a mesosystemic orientation and is about family–school relationships, and the educational performance and development of children and youth. This book is not about parent involvement. Rather, it is about the goals, contributions, and accountability of families and schools for educational outcomes . . .

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