Here are some resources that we’ve found useful and that can help you learn more about community and family engagement.

  • National Network of Partnership Schools
  • Maryland State Parental Information Resource Center
  • Connections Count: Improving Family and Community Involvement in Secondary Schools – “Educators at all school levels know that successful students – at all ability levels – have families who stay informed and involved in their children’s education. Yet many middle level and high school teachers report that the only time they contact families is when students are in trouble. This disconnect between knowledge and behavior can be corrected with new approaches that make it possible for every school to organize an excellent partnership program.” – Joyce L. Epstein
  • Principals Share Lessons Learned About Communicating With Parents, Others – “We make a rule at our school to keep all stakeholders informed through a variety of communications and media,” said Marguerite McNeely, principal at Lawrence Middle School in Deville, Louisiana. “One form of communication does not work for all, so we use newsletters, yearly and monthly calendars, weekly folders, e-mail, phone, regularly scheduled Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) meetings, school Web sites, and flyers posted at local businesses.”  – Gary Hopkins
  • Involving Parents in the IEP Process – “Parents can play a number of important roles in their relationship with their child’s school-organization members, care providers, political advocates, and facilitators of professional decisions. This digest examines the special roles of parents of children with disabilities in planning for the education of their children and discusses how educators can work effectively with parents to create meaningful individualized education programs (IEPs).” – Stephen W. Smith
  • Varieties of Family Involvement in Schooling – “In an educational climate characterized by an enormous emphasis on accountability, our nation has been busy defining its educational goals to enable us to participate in a global economy. Even in this context, the concept of family and parent involvement in school has remained a top priority.” – Vincent Anfara, Jr. & Steven Mertens
  • Reaching Out to Diverse Populations: What Can Schools Do to Foster Family – School Connections? – “Contrary to the assumption of many educators, research on family and community connections with schools has revealed that parents are interested in their children’s academic success regardless of ethnicity, culture, or economic status, although they may not know how to help their children or may feel incapable of assisting them.” – Chris Ferguson
  • Parent Involvement – “What is parent involvement? Parent involvement is important to the educational success of a young adolescent and yet generally declines when a child enters the middle grades. Parent involvement is defined as having an awareness of and involvement in schoolwork, understanding of the interaction between parenting skills and student success in schooling, and a commitment to consistent communication with educators about student progress.” – National Middle School Association
  • Schools as Learning Communities: Partnering with Families and Communities – “What is the difference between a professional learning community and a school learning community? A professional learning community emphasizes the teamwork of principals, teachers, and staff to identify school goals, improve curriculum and instruction, reduce teachers’ isolation, assess student progress, and increase the effectiveness of school programs. Professional teamwork is important and can greatly improve teaching, instruction, and professional relationships in a school, but it falls short of producing a true community of learners. In contrast, a school learning community includes educators, students, parents, and community partners who work together to improve the school and enhance students’ learning opportunities.” – Joyce L. Epstein & Karen Clark Salinas
  • Critical Issue: Constructing School Partnerships with Families and Community Groups – “Educators sometimes are content to let parents and families take the initiative in becoming involved in their children’s education. But for a real partnership to occur, educators must look at ways in which the school can initiate this involvement. In such a partnership, the school and the home share responsibility for children’s learning; the relationship is based on mutual respect and acknowledgment of the assets and expertise of each member.”  – North Central Regional Educational Library
  • Breaking New Ground: Data Systems Transform Family Engagement in Education –  “In a landmark study about transforming Chicago’s low-performing schools, a sobering lesson emerged: No single reform solution really works. Instead, it takes multiple actions to address the complex problem of low performance. The study, conducted by Anthony Bryk and his colleagues at the University of Chicago, found that reform must be systemic.”  – Weiss, Lopez, & Stark

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