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School, Family and Community Partnerships

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MLC VISTA

on 6 September 2012

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Transcript of School, Family and Community Partnerships

School Family and Community
Partnerships Why form a partnership? To bring together organizational and human resources (skills, experiences, and ideas) to tackle common problems that are often beyond the capacity of a single organization or group. Types of Partnerships Communication Coordination Cooperation Collaboration Less formal or informal Purpose: To exchange info and share experiences Example: Share info with other groups to let them know what you are doing and find out what they are doing Relationships are closer than networks Definition of specific tasks between partners Purpose: Prevent duplication of efforts or assure services are provided Example: Create joint calendar to coordinate events and avoid conflict Some integration of services without sacrificing autonomy of any partner Example: Meet regularly to define needs of children in community and agree that schools will be provided with tutors from agency A, parent volunteers from agency B, and school nurses from agency C Mutually beneficial and well-defined relationships and roles toward common goal Usually common goal could not be achieved as efficiently, effectively, or at all by an individual organization Common goal equally important as individual partners Example: Create a new service like an after school program with services, staff and volunteers from all partner agencies Principles of Partnerships Trust Mutuality Solidarity Accountability and transparency Sources of Conflict Value disagreements
Personality conflicts
Miscommunication
Power differentials
Autonomy of partner vs group goals
Tangible outcomes vs process/relationships
Practical issues (data sharing, liability, time)
Things often don't go as planned... * The good news: most of these are usually not insurmountable! Stages of Development Forming Storming Norming Performing The honeymoon phase: just getting to know each other, individual roles, responsibilities and boundaries are still unclear. Clarity of purpose increases but uncertainties persist. Relationships are more precarious as members vie for position and attempt to establish selves in relation to others. Agreement and consensus begins to form. Roles and responsibilities are clear, leadership is shared, and big decisions are made by the group while small decisions are made by smaller task groups. Shared vision and focus on common goals. Disagreements may occur but they are resolved within the team. Able to work towards achieving goal AND attend to relationships and process. Strategic Planning Define goals and outcomes
Define roles, responsibilities, and limitations
Identify process for communicating and exchanging ideas
Identify project costs and clarify fiscal responsibilities
Clarify how partners will be recognized
Establish a timeline for deadlines and deliverables
Secure buy-in from all participants and leaders Additional Tips Don't get stuck in planning only
Keep people focused
Celebrate successes, even small
Think early in the process about sustainability/long-term plans
Develop structure and process Don't waste time on partnerships that do nothing: move on! To do more together
than you can alone. What are some other factors that allow partnerships to thrive? In your experience, where have you
found the greatest challenges in
moving partnerships forward successfully? Major research shows... Partnerships tend to decline across grades... Affluent communities tend to have more positive family involvement... Schools in low-income communities tend to make more contacts with families about problems and difficulties... Single working parents and fathers tend to be less involved... UNLESS... Schools and teachers intentionally build positive partnerships with families and community members. Joyce Epstein's
model of School Family and Community
Partnerships overlapping spheres of influence
on children's learning How might
overlapping spheres of influence
of home, school and community create
less efficient but more effective organizations than are created by
separate spheres of influence? What different effects might
flexible and permeable vs
rigid and fixed
home-school-community boundaries have on
student attitudes, behavior and learning? Is it possible for children to separate what is learned at home vs in school vs in the community? How might this affect the development of school, family and community partnerships? Traditional family roles in schools attend parent-teacher conferences participate in PTA/O volunteer at school contribute to fundraising attend school events HOWEVER... Not all families are able to participate in these traditional roles. Epstein's Six Types of Involvement An alternative framework: Parenting
Communicating
Volunteering
Learning at home
Decision-making/advocacy
Collaborating with community 1. Parenting help all families establish home environments to support school learning and positive behavior Practices: Parent education, training and resources
Family support programs to assist with health, nutrition and other services
Home visits at transition points
Parent support/peer networks
Help schools understand families Challenges: Providing info to all families who need it, not just those who are active
Ensuring all info is clear, usable, age-appropriate, and linked to student success
Listening to what families want to know and how they want to learn about it 2. Communicating Establishing effective home-to-school and school-to-home communications Practices: Clear info on all school policies, programs and reforms
Language translators to assist families as needed
Conferences with every parent at least once a year
Weekly or monthly folders of student work sent home for review/comments Challenges: Establishing easy-to-use two-way communication
Communicating with parents who do not speak English well or do not read well
Helping parents understand testing and curriculum
Obtaining ideas from families on best ways to communicate with them 3. Volunteering Recruiting and organizing family/ community help and support. Volunteers include those who support school goals and children's learning in any way at any place or time. Practices: Parent room or family center for volunteer work, meetings, resources for families
Annual postcard survey to identify all available talents, times and locations of volunteers
School and classroom volunteer programs to help teachers, administrators, students and families Challenges: Recruiting widely for volunteers from all families
Making flexible schedules to enable working families/community members to participate
Providing training and matching time and talents to needs and opportunities
Ineffective volunteers who want to help but do not do well, or underachieving volunteers whose talents are not used well 4. Learning at Home Provide info and ideas to families on how to reinforce learning at home. Practices: Info for families on skills required for students in all subjects at each grade and other skills and talents that will increase success in school
Info on homework policies, curriculum being used, and how to monitor and discuss homework at home
Calendars with learning activities for parents and students at home Challenges: Coordinating homework schedules when students have multiple teachers
Involving families and students in important curriculum-related decisions
Designing and organizing a regular schedule of interactive homework that gives students responsibility for discussing important things they are learning 5. Decision-making Include parents and others in the community in school decisions Practices: Involve families and community members through parent-teacher organizations, advisory councils, committees, governance, and advocacy at the school, district and/or state level
Conduct surveys, publicize results and implement recommendations
Networks to link families with parent representatives / family liaisons
Independent advocacy groups to lobby and work for school improvements
Info on school/local elections for school representatives Challenges: Including parent/community leaders from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, cultural groups in the school
Offering trainings to enable leaders to serve as representatives of other families
Including students (along with parents) in decision-making groups 6. Collaborating with Community Identify and integrate resources and services from the community to strengthen school programs, family practices and student learning. Practices: Connect with businesses, non-profits and other groups for service integration, out-of-school time, volunteers, and/or financial support
Provide services to the community (reciprocal)
Provide info for students and families on community health, cultural, recreational, social support, summer and other programs and services
Service to the community by students, families and schools
Participation of alumni in school programs Challenges: Matching community resources with school goals
Encouraging reciprocal relationships
Ensuring equal opportunities for families to participate
Solving "turf" problems of responsibilities, funds, staff, and locations for collaborative activities These are still important roles. Where to start? Make an inventory of present practices of school-family-community partnerships
Outline a vision of how partnership practices will develop/improve over three years
Prepare a detailed one-year plan
Evaluate partnerships each year to improve practices
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