Six Steps to Building School-Home Partnerships
The evidence is in: when schools and families work together to support learning, everyone benefits.
- Students do better in school and in life.
- Parents become empowered.
- Teacher morale improves.
- Schools get better.
- Communities grow stronger
Parents of high-achieving students set higher standards for their children’s educational activities. They are active participants in schools and education.
Most students at all levels—elementary, middle, and high school—want their families to take active roles in between home and school. When parents come to school regularly, it reinforces the view in the child’s mind that school and home are connected and that school is an integral part of the whole family’s life.
The earlier in a child’s educational process parent involvement begins, the more powerful the effects. The most effective forms of involvement engage parents in working directly with their children on learning activities at home.
Decades of research show that when parents are involved, students have the following:
- Higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates
- Better school attendance and self-esteem
- Increased motivation
- Lower rates of suspension
- Decreased use of drugs and alcohol
Family participation in education was twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status. The more parents participate in schooling, in a sustained way, at every level—in advocacy, decision-making and oversight roles, as fund-raisers and boosters, as
volunteers, and as home teachers—the better for student achievement.
Rockwood supports the framework provided by the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, which includes six types of parent involvement:
- PARENTING: Families need to establish home environments that support children as students. With guidance and support, parents may become increasingly involved in home learning activities and find themselves with opportunities to teach, to be models for and to guide their children.
- COMMUNICATING: Families become active participants in communication from a school-to-home and home-to-school perspective. Parents understand how to contact their children’s teachers and principals, as well as access their school’s Web site, newsletter and parent-teacher organization. They know how to use Infinite Campus, Rockwood’s student information system, to learn about their children’s progress.
- VOLUNTEERING: Families can volunteer as tutors and classroom aides, as well as assist with field trips and in other support opportunities. Parents can organize school events, and assist with their children’s extracurricular activities and athletics. Schools have many exciting volunteer opportunities for the community.
- LEARNING AT HOME: Families can help their children develop good study habits, supervise their homework, monitor TV viewing, and supervise regular bedtimes and school attendance. Parents read to their children and provide stimulating experiences contribute to student achievement.
- DECISION MAKING: Families can join parent-teacher organizations or long-range planning committees so they can advocate for good schools. They can help develop school improvement plans and provide parent representation and support. These groups can take the lead in assessing school needs, developing goals and monitoring for continuous improvement.
- COLLABORATING WITH COMMUNITY: Families and schools help students by forming collaborative relationships with many public and private agencies that provide family support services. These partnerships create shared responsibility for the well being of children, families and schools by all members of the community.
From the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education; Joyce L. Epstein, Ph.D. of the Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships at John Hopkins University; National PTA.