Few educators would question the importance of strong family and school partnerships.
Research has shown that a strong connection between the school and the home often results in higher attendance, increased college enrollment, better overall behavior and increased student achievement.
But building strong relationships with families is often easier said than done.
In a new report, The Power of Family and School Partnerships: 4 keys to building stronger ties between the school and home, our editors explore what it takes to create authentic partnerships between families and schools, as well as how to nurture and maintain those relationships.
Parents are teachers too, which means they have key insights into how their children learn and succeed. That personal expertise can prove useful to educators. By working with families, schools and districts can better understand and serve students, and having a strong partnership with families allows teachers to spend less time on remediation efforts and checking homework.
Our research shows that these relationships are built on trust and positive interactions, a welcoming school environment, and the ability to put parents and community members (and their input) on equal footing.
But there are barriers to building strong and productive school-family partnerships. In many cases, those barriers boil down to a lack of effective two-way communication between the school and home.
School districts fully embrace outbound communication, but inbound communication is a different story. Traditional inbound communications, such as phone calls and emails, tend to fall short for families. Messages go unanswered; time is wasted looking for—and possibly never finding—the right person to contact or reach out to; and too many school district responses lack consistency.
So, what steps can your district take to foster a stronger bond between families and their schools?
It takes time, commitment, and investment—just like with any other school-based initiative. Our latest report highlights four key ingredients to help you establish stronger family and school partnerships:
- Develop strong relationships with parents
- Support educators in community engagement
- Map educational goals to family engagement
- Take an organized approach to engagement
What do these steps entail? Download our white paper to learn more.