Academic journal article School Community Journal

Designing and Implementing School, Family, and Community Collaboration Programs in Quebec, Canada

Academic journal article School Community Journal

Designing and Implementing School, Family, and Community Collaboration Programs in Quebec, Canada

Article excerpt

Abstract

The findings in this article will be presented in relation to developing and implementing processes of school, family, and community partnership programs in two primary and two secondary schools in Quebec from 2001 to 2005. The action research project was based on Epstein's (2001) comprehensive framework of six types of involvement: parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making, and collaborating with community. In keeping with Epstein's recommendations, an Action Team was formed in each school, and the starting points were identified. Action plans were developed and activities were assessed. Data reported here concern only those factors that assisted or challenged the development and the implementation of the school, family, and community collaboration programs.

Key Words: school-family-community partnerships programs, teams, collaboration, school change

Introduction

The school's mission is not to make a radical, short-term change in the social environment of its students; for this, it has neither the means nor the resources. Research recognizes, however, that the quality of family and community environments has a major impact on students' success (Henderson & Mapp, 2002; Jordan, Orozco, & Averett, 2001; Nettles, 1991). The social and family environments are often depicted by many reformers as essential partners to school improvement plans. To this effect, research shows that the school can-even must-call upon the collaboration of these environments to fully achieve its mission (Epstein, 2001). But how can this be done? How can the family and community become partners and collaborators with the school? An action research project was undertaken within the context of a major educational reform, and the results are presented here to identify the facilitating and challenging conditions met while elaborating and implementing school, family, and community programs. The objectives of the project (2001-2004), which focused on intervention and research, were to (1) design, implement, and evaluate a program of collaboration between the school and families in the community relative to the educational reform project, and (2) pinpoint models of school-family-community collaboration that might be transferred to various environments. A follow-up was done in 2005 on two primary schools that were willing to pursue their collaborative work. The following article highlights elements addressing the development and the implementation processes. Assessments of the activities will be discussed in a subsequent paper. Our aim here is to pinpoint factors that helped or hindered the development and the implementation of school, family, and community collaboration programs.

Brief Review of the Literature

School-Family-Community Collaboration

Over the past decades, numerous researchers have documented the benefits and challenges associated with school, family, and community partnerships (e.g., Epstein, 2001; Henderson & Mapp, 2002; Jordan et al., 2001; Sanders, 2001). In Québec, Canada, as in many other countries, the literature on school-family collaboration highlights the relationships between effective parental involvement and improved grades for children and adolescents, greater presence in school, better behaviors, higher adolescent autonomy, and higher academic aspirations (Deslandes, 1996; Deslandes, Bertrand, Royer, & Turcotte, 1997; Deslandes & Potvin, 1998; Deslandes, Potvin, & Leclerc, 2000; Deslandes & Royer, 1997). Quebec researchers have also documented the factors that influence the level of parental involvement in schooling (e.g., Deslandes, 2001a, 2005; Deslandes & Bertrand, 2001, 2004, 2005; Deslandes, Fournier, & Rousseau, 2005). A certain caution is advised regarding use of the concept of "partnerships." The authors suggest the term "collaboration" be used instead, since it reflects a more realistic goal for Québec schools (e. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.