Engaging parents and community members in the work of the school promotes the important message that healthy students are better able to learn. Students need support from their families, the school, and the community to succeed. Schools must actively solicit parent involvement and engage community resources to respond effectively to the wide variety of health and safety needs of students.
Family and Community Partnerships have made
vital contributions to coordinated school health
programs across the country. Involvement can range
from participation on a school wellness council to the
full-service community schools models. A fullservice
community school features partnership with community agencies; health, mental health, and family welfare services; case management; mentoring; and other activities that prepare students for work and life. This model has indicated a positive impact on educational outcomes. (1,
2, 3, 4, 9)
Over thirty years of research point to numerous positive
outcomes to parent involvement in schools. Students
with involved parents perform better academically, tend
to have fewer behavior problems, and are more likely to
complete secondary school, as well as to enjoy school,
to have higher educational aspirations, and increased
motivation to succeed. Teachers of students with highly
engaged parents tend to give greater attention to those
students and identify potential problems at earlier stages.
When educators communicate clearly with families regarding specific information about student attendance, school rates of average daily attendance increase and chronic absenteeism decreases. Research has also found that students perform better in school if their fathers as Family and Community Partnerships well as their mothers are involved, regardless of whether
the father lives with the student. Schools that actively welcome parental engagement and involvement are more likely to have highly involved parents. (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12)
Un Niño, Una Comunidad (One Child, One Community)
Educators at Highlands Middle School in Kennewick,
Washington, saw an alarming increase in gang activity,
especially among Hispanic students. The Action Team
for Partnerships and the
school’s vice principal
reached out to law
enforcement and local
clergy for help and together decided to hold a parent information session at the local Catholic church. Community members
and parents advertised the program on Spanishlanguage radio stations and in newspapers. The event was so successful,
they plan to hold a second event for English-speaking parents.
Tribal Transportation Safety for the Lummi Nation
The Lummi tribe in Bellingham, Washington, proposed
the installation of a bench as a part of its Safe Routes
to School plan. Located in front of the congregate care
facility for the tribe’s elders, the bench faces outward
towards the street. The idea for the bench was generated
during a community-wide discussion about how to make
tribal children safer while walking to school. “It was a
fascinating discussion about what the community values,”
says Kirk Vinish, the Lummi Tribal Transportation Officer. “The bench allows the elders to watch over the kids during their walk to school, acting as the eyes of the community.”
Community members can:
BIBLIOGRAPHY (selected references)
1. Blank MJ, Berg A. All Together Now. ASCD. 2006.
2. Washington, DC, Coalition for Community Schools. Making the Difference:
Research and Practice in Community Schools. 1993.
3. Dryfoos JG. Evaluation of Community Schools: Findings to Date, 1998.
Available for download at: html://www.communityschools.org/evaluation/
evalprint.html Accessed June 1, 2009.
4. Epstein J. Developing and Sustaining Research-Based Programs of
School, Family, and Community Partnerships. National Network of
Partnership Schools, Johns Hopkins University. September 2005.
5. Gutman LM, Midgley C. The Role of Protective Factors in Supporting the
Academic Achievement of Poor African-American Students During the
Middle School Transition. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 2000; 29(2).
6. Hawkins JD, Kosterman R, Catalano RF, Hill KG, Abbott RD. Effects of
social development intervention in childhood fifteen years later. Archives of
Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2008; 162: 1133-1141.
7. Henderson A, Mapp K. A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School,
Famil y, and Community Connections on Student Achievement, 2002.
National Center for Family and Community Connections With Schools.
8. Henderson A, Mapp K, Johnson V, Davies D. Beyond the Bake Sale: The
Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships. New York: The New Press,
9. Hutchins D, Maushard M, Colosino J, Greenfeld M, Thomas B, eds.
Promising Partnership Practices, 2009. National Network of Partnership
Schools, Johns Hopkins University.
10. Jeynes WH. A Meta-Analysis: The Effects of Parent Involvement on
Minority Children’s Academic Achievement. Education and Urban Society.
2003; 35: 202-218.
11. Reynolds A, Clements M. Parental Involvement and Children’s School
Success, 2005. In: Patrikakou E, et al., eds. School-Family Partnerships:
Promoting the Social, Emotional, and Academic Growth of Children. New
York: Teachers College Press, 2005.
12. Weiss HB, Bouffard SM, Bridglall BL, Gordon EW. Reframing Family
Involvement in Education: Supporting Families to Support Educational
Equity. Research Review, Teachers College, Columbia University.
December 2009. http://www.equitycampaign.org.