Academic journal article School Community Journal

Going for the Gold! Field Reports on Effective Home-School-Community Partnership Programs

Academic journal article School Community Journal

Going for the Gold! Field Reports on Effective Home-School-Community Partnership Programs

Article excerpt

Abstract

Involving families, the school, and the community as partners in the education of children often results in higher academic achievement, an increase in participation, and community pride. This article describes effective programs based on the 2001 California School Boards Association Golden Bell Award (CSBA) winners in the category of Parental/Community Involvement in Pre-Kindergarten-8th grade. A total of 250 schools submitted proposals in 17 different categories. Twenty proposals met the Parental/Community Involvement in PreK-8 criteria for recognition; eight schools (from seven school districts) in this category received awards. The purpose of this article is to describe the common threads and characteristics of successful parent and community involvement programs in these schools. The areas addressed in this paper include description of the school district programs and their rationale, their innovation or exemplary status, ways of communicating with the community, and demonstrated difference for students. This article provides a summary of best practices from six of seven award-winning schools plus one district-wide program. Each has unique characteristics as well as common threads and experiences. These characteristics are particularly significant given the need to increase parent involvement with ethnically and linguistically diverse families.

Key Words: parent involvement, parent participation, home-school-community partnerships, parent involvement programs

Introduction

Families have long been considered a central factor in promoting student academic achievement (Abey, Manning, Thyer, & Carpenter-Abey. 1999; Hoover-Dempsey, 1987). Research indicates that when families, schools, and communities develop partnerships, student academic achievement increases and greater participation by parents is evident (Epstein, 1992; Lezotte, 1997). School-community partnerships for school development have increased from 51% to 69% within the last decade (Tomlin, 2002). Current national, state, and local legislation supports, promotes, and often mandates family involvement in K-12 schools, such as Title I which specifies and mandates partnerships to maintain funding (USDOE, 2001). Various educational programs exist and many new ones are introduced to improve and foster growth, enhance home-school relationships, and increase parental involvement (Epstein & Dauber, 1991). Barriers to parent involvement generally include school community characteristics, parent and teacher attitudes toward the schools and each other, parent emotional and adjustment problems, language and cultural barriers, and teacher practices (Mattingly, Prislin, McKenzie, Rodriguez, & Kayzar, 2002). How can schools take advantage of the potential synergy found in school and community involvement and enhance home-school-community relationships and partnerships? How can schools ensure that all families are invited to partner with school personnel? How are "hard to reach families," particularly ethnically and linguistically diverse families, included in partnerships? What do successful partnerships look like? How can practices be effectively designed and implemented? Many of these questions need to be addressed as schools plan their school, family, and community involvement programs and partnerships.

California School Boards Association Golden Bell Awards Program Description and Rationale

The California School Boards Association (CSBA) Golden Bell Awards program, now in its 22nd year, promotes excellence in education by recognizing outstanding programs in school districts and county offices of education throughout California. Golden Bell Awards reflect the depth and breadth of education programs necessary to address students' changing needs. These program awards contribute to the development and evaluation of curriculum, instruction, and support services in four ways: first, by seeking out and recognizing sustainable innovative or exemplary programs which have been developed and successfully implemented by California teachers and administrators; second, by recognizing and supporting educators who invest extra energy and time to make a demonstrated difference for students; third, by promoting models that have proven effective for students; and fourth, by focusing on the commitment to meet the needs of all students. …

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