Action Steps - Standard 6
- Establish a core of partners in and around the school based on the results you want to achieve.
- Build trust among the partners and an understanding of the contributions each organization can bring, as well as their limitations.
- Develop a shared vision among the partners for what type of success the partnership will produce.
- Make sure partnership activities strengthen families and link to student learning.
What Parents and Parent Leaders Can Do
- Host a community resource fair that highlights programs that support the cultural, recreational, academic, health, social, and other needs of families.
- Reach out to senior/retired citizens and invite them to volunteer at the school.
- Work with the local newspaper to promote special events that are happening at the school.
- Invite school alumni to participate in an alumni sponsors program through which they volunteer time or make a donation to the school.
- Develop paycheck-size cards with tips for how parents can foster their children's success. Contact employers about including the cards with employee paychecks.
What School Leaders and Staff Can Do
- Sponsor an annual Give Back Day on which students go into the community to perform needed work or services.
- Include in the local chamber of commerce newsletter a request from the school district superintendent for local employers to encourage their employees to attend parent-teacher conferences and other involvement activities.
- Invite local businesses to sponsor community resource workshops for teachers during the summer to help them learn about the educational, cultural, and business resources in the community.
- Host a community breakfast at the school for local businesses and civic leaders.
Becoming a Community School, by Robert L. Ford School principal Claire Crane and several of her fellow educators (Dorchester, MA: Project for School Innovation, 2004), tell how this K–8 school in a poor Massachusetts neighborhood became a thriving hub for community activities.
Community Engagement Review and Planning Guide—Field Test Version, by Rosana Rodríguez, Pam McCollum, and Abelardo Villarreal (San Antonio, TX: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2002) is designed to help schools and universities plan and strengthen community engagement. It is available in English and Spanish.
Everyday Democracy (formerly the Study Circles Resource Center) helps communities bring individuals with different experiences and opinions together to talk about challenges facing their community and to work together to create solutions to those challenges.
School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action (Third Edition), by Joyce L. Epstein and others (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008), provides detailed information on strengthening family-school partnerships for schools involved in the National Network of Partnership Schools and those who would like to join.
The School-Family Connection: Looking at the Larger Picture, by Chris Ferguson (Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 2008), is a review of current literature on family involvement that identifies some important strategies for increasing family-school connections.