Generating and Sustaining Healthy Partnerships Between Home and School

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Nurturing student growth and success in school works best when connections between caregivers and school personnel are marked by open lines of communication, earnest partnering, and respectful engagement. At Community Partnership School (CPS) in North Philadelphia, creating a culture of collaboration between home and school has become paramount in our ongoing work of fulfilling the school's mission. After reading The Essential Conversation by Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot, the school redoubled its efforts at building healthy home-school partnerships, even tackling head-on the politeness and defensiveness that often operate just beneath the surface of this interaction.

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Generating and Sustaining Healthy Partnerships Between Home and School

  1. 1. Generating and Sustaining Healthy Partnershipsbetween Home and School NPEA 4th Annual Conference April 19, 2012 Regina Young and Eric Jones Community Partnership School Philadelphia, PA
  2. 2. Presentation Outline The Home-School Conundrum Barriers to Effective Partnering Strategies for Increasing Home Involvement References and Resources
  3. 3. The Home-School Conundrum Community Partnership School’s journey  Perceived dissonance  Honest acknowledgement  Comprehensive redress Review excerpt from The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn from Each Other
  4. 4. Barriers to Effective Partnering Misread or misperception of interest and/or abilities Limited resources Lack of comfort and vested interest … all of which lead to tension in relationship between home and school
  5. 5. Strategies for Increasing HomeInvolvement Create an environment where compassion is a cultural norm Outline clear set of shared expectations Foster regular communication with families Offer suggestions parents/guardians can use at home Include parents/guardians in decision making Integrate community resources
  6. 6. Strategies for Increasing HomeInvolvement Create an environment where compassion is a cultural norm Outline clear set of shared expectations Foster regular communication with families Offer suggestions parents/guardians can use at home Include parents/guardians in decision making Integrate community resources
  7. 7. CPS Philosophy Statements thatFrame School Culture (1) Taken together, our Vision, Mission, Values and Approach statements form the cultural foundation we seek to cultivate at Community Partnership School. These principles guide our decisions, inform our work, and inspire our aspirations for the future.  Our Vision asserts our reason for existing;  Our Mission articulates those essential principles that unify us in our cause;  Our Values reflect the expectations around how we work with each other and the example adult members of our community set for our students;  Our Approach clarifies the manner in which we make our Vision, Mission, and Values reality, detailing how we accomplish our task every day.
  8. 8. CPS Philosophy Statements thatFrame School Culture (2) Our Values (The 3 C’s)  Curiosity  We desire to know more about our community and apply practices that cultivate growth and well-being among community members  We foster opportunities for exploration and innovation  We strive to maximize our potential  Courage  We focus resources to achieve our Vision and Mission  We take a disciplined approach to executing our Approach and applying our Values  We learn from our successes and failures  Compassion  We assume good intentions from our colleagues, caregivers, and students and engage each other in thoughtful ways  We seek to position each other for optimal engagement and performance  We value diverse experiences and perspectives in all aspects of our operation
  9. 9. Strategies for Increasing HomeInvolvement Create an environment where compassion is a cultural norm Outline clear set of shared expectations Foster regular communication with families Offer suggestions parents/guardians can use at home Include parents/guardians in decision making Integrate community resources
  10. 10. CPS’ Shared Home-School ExpectationsCommunity Partnership School builds on our students’ natural curiosity toexpand their capacities for learning. Ultimately, we work to position studentsfor success in school, effectively preparing them for more informed, investedcitizenship. To accomplish this, CPS seeks to collaborate with its families,recognizing that good communication between home and school ensuresgreater student success. What follows outlines our vision for sharedresponsibility between our families and school.CPS families can expect the School to… CPS expects it’s caregivers to …•Create an environment that supports •Support school policies and engage schoolchildren’s personal development and joy in individual personnel and other families respectfully.accomplishments. •Actively engage the partnership by volunteering•Establish and maintain a culture where compassion and participating in school events.is the norm. •Seek specific information rather than trust•Collaborate with caregivers in supporting and unverified speculation.enriching the program. •Provide proper diet, rest and exercise for your•Communicate promptly to caregiver concerns. child and limit the time allowed for TV, computer•Inform caregivers of learning expectations and and video games.specific ways to support their children’s learning. •Ensure your child’s daily attendance at school and•Coordinate productive conferences in which abide by arrival and dismissal expectations.caregivers and students get specific suggestions on •Check homework each night and sign thenext steps. homework sheet.•Seek information on important matters concerning •Attend the five designated Parent Nights duringyour child’s general well-being. the school year.•Uphold consistent values and discipline. •Send child to school appropriately dressed.
  11. 11. Strategies for Increasing HomeInvolvement Create an environment where compassion is a cultural norm Outline clear set of shared expectations Foster regular communication with families Offer suggestions parents/guardians can use at home Include parents/guardians in decision making Integrate community resources
  12. 12. Family Outreach Rubric for CPSTeachers Needs Does Not Expert Proficient Improvement Meet The Teacher: Standards Makes sure caregivers hear Promptly informs caregivers Lets caregivers know about Seldom informs caregivers ofCommunication positive news about their of behavior and learning problems their children are concerns or positive news children first and immediately problems, and also updates having but rarely mentions about their children. flags any problems. parents about good news. positive news. Frequently involves Updates caregivers on the Sends home occasional Rarely if ever communicates caregivers in supporting and unfolding curriculum and suggestions on how with caregivers on ways to Involvement enriching the curriculum as it suggests ways to support caregivers can help their help their children at home. unfolds. learning at home. children grow. In conferences, progress Uses conferences and Uses conferences to tell Crafts progress reports and reports, and informal talks, progress reports to give caregivers the areas in which expects parents to deal with Reporting gives caregivers detailed and caregivers feedback on their their children can improve. the areas that need helpful feedback on children’s progress. improvement. children’s progress. Deals immediately and Responds promptly to Is slow to respond to some Does not respond to successfully with caregiver caregiver concerns and caregiver concerns and gives caregiver concerns and makes Responsiveness concerns and makes them makes them feel welcome in off an unwelcoming vibe. them feel unwelcome in the feel welcome any time. the school. classroom.
  13. 13. Strategies for Increasing HomeInvolvement Create an environment where compassion is a cultural norm Outline clear set of shared expectations Foster regular communication with families Offer suggestions parents/guardians can use at home Include parents/guardians in decision making Integrate community resources
  14. 14. School Initiated Contact withFamilies - Examples Goes beyond the traditional twice-per-year parent/teacher conference See handouts for examples from weekly class newsletters Parent/guardian education initiative  Five “Parent Night” sessions per academic year  Compulsory  Dinner and child care provided
  15. 15. Strategies for Increasing HomeInvolvement Create an environment where compassion is a cultural norm Outline clear set of shared expectations Foster regular communication with families Offer suggestions parents/guardians can use at home Include parents/guardians in decision making Integrate community resources
  16. 16. Parent/Guardian LeadershipOpportunities at CPS Family Council model  Governance structure  Class Parents  Collaboration with Development office Board of Trustee representation  Ex-officio membership Volunteering
  17. 17. Strategies for Increasing HomeInvolvement Create an environment where compassion is a cultural norm Outline clear set of shared expectations Foster regular communication with families Offer suggestions parents/guardians can use at home Include parents/guardians in decision making Integrate community resources
  18. 18. At CPS, the “P” Stands forPartnership Founding Partners  Germantown Academy  Project HOME Resource Partners (partial list)  Philadelphia Zoo  ESF Dream Camp  Wagner Institute of Science  Philadelphia Magazine  Constitution Center  The Vetri Foundation for  University of Pennsylvania Children  Temple University  Smith Playground  Haverford College  The Campaign for Working  Free Library of Philadelphia Families
  19. 19. References and Resources “Family-School Partnerships: National Standards for Family-School Partnerships.” 2012. National PTA. 6 Apr 2012. < www.pta.org/national_standards.asp>. Grant, Kelly and Julie Ray. Home, School and Community Collaboration: Culturally Responsive Family Involvement. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc, 2009. Henderson, Anne. A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement. Austin, TX: National Center for Family & Community Connections with Schools, 2002. Lawrence-Lightfoot, Sara. The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn From Each Other. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003.

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