Close communications between school staff and families benefit students, families, and schools, regardless of the socio-economic status of the family (Henderson & Berla, 1997). Specific types of family involvement, such as stimulating literacy and learning activities at home, communicating high expectations for academic success, and providing homework supervision, result in improved homework completion, less absenteeism, more positive attitudes about school, and higher student achievement (Epstein, Coates, Salinas, Sanders, & Simon, 1997; Lee & Croninger, 1994; Henderson & Berla, 1997).
Communications between the home and school need to take into consideration the culture, language, and diverse needs and strengths of families, building a shared responsibility to support their children's education (Workman, 1997; Blackfelner & Ranallo, 1998; Rioux & Berla, 1993; Boutte, Keepler, Tyler, & Terry, 1992; Versteeg, 1993). Family-school relationships promote student achievement from the early years through high school (Taylor, 1999; Roderick & Stone, 1998). An urgent message to parents is to ask about the new academic standards, assessments, and expectations for promotion and graduation (Henderson, Lewis, Boundy, Weckstein, & Searcy, 1999).
Parents become more involved in schools and rate schools higher when teachers and school administrators implement specific, planned strategies that engage families in student learning (Maynard & Howley, 1994; U.S. Department of Education, 1996). School efforts to promote family and community engagement will succeed only if teachers and school administrators are adequately prepared to support these efforts (National PTA, 2000; Epstein, et al., 1997; Shartrand, Weiss, Kreider, & Lopez, 1997). Building school, family, and community partnerships requires careful consideration of the quality of the communication strategies (U.S. Department of Education, 1994; Patrikakou, Weissberg & Rubenstein, n.d.).
Blackfelner, C., & Ranallo, B. (1998). Raising academic achievement through parental involvement. Chicago, IL: Saint Xavier University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 421 273)
Boutte, G., Keepler, D., Tyler, V., & Terry, B. (1992, March). Effective techniques for involving "difficult" parents. Young Children, 47(3), 19-22.
Epstein, J.L., Coates, L., Salinas, K.C., Sanders, M.G., & Simon, B.S. (1997). School, family, and community partnerships: Your handbook for action. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Henderson, A.T., & Berla, A. (Eds.). (1997). A new generation of evidence: The family is critical to student achievement. Washington, D.C: National Committee for Citizens in Education.
Henderson, A., Lewis, A., Boundy, K., Weckstein, P., & Searcy, L. (1999). Urgent message for parents. Washington, DC: Center for Law and Education.
Lee, V.E., & Croninger, R.G. (1994, May). The relative importance of home and school in the development of literacy skills for middle-grade students. American Journal of Education. 102, 286-329.
Maynard, S., & Howley, A. (1994). Parent and community involvement in rural schools. ERIC Digest (On-line), EDO-RC-97-3. Charleston, WV: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools. Retrieved October 16, 2000, from the World Wide Web: http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED408143
National PTA. ((2000). Building successful partnerships: National PTAs parent involvement initiative. Chicago, IL: Author.
Patrikakou, E.N., Weissberg, R.P., & Rubenstein, M. (n.d.). Five "Ps" to Promote school-family partnership efforts. LSS Spotlight Series, No. 304 (On-line). Retrieved March 30, 2000, from the World Wide Web: http://www.temple.edu/LSS/spot304.htm
Rioux, J.W., & Berla, N. (1993). Innovations in parent and family involvement. Princeton, NJ: Eye on Education.
Roderick, M., & Stone, S. (principal investigators). (1998, August). Changing standards, changing relationships: Building family-school relationships to promote achievement in high schools. Chicago: University of Chicago, School of School Service Administration.
Shartrand, A.M., Weiss, H.B., Kreider, H.M., & Lopez, M. (1997). New skills for new schools: Preparing teachers in family involvement. Cambridge: Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Family Research Project.
Taylor, B.M. (1999). Beating the odds in teaching all children to read. CIERA Report 3 2006. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, CIERA.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. (1996, August). Reaching all families: Creating family-friendly schools. Washington, DC: Author.
U.S. Department of Education. (1994, September). Strong families, strong schools: Building community partnerships for learning. Washington, DC: Author.
Versteeg, D. (1993). The rural high school as community resource. Educational Leadership (On-line), 50(7). Retrieved October 13, 2000, from the World Wide Web: http://www.ascd.org/readingroom/edlead/9304/versteeg.html
Workman, S.H., & Gage, J.A. (1997, May). Family-school partnerships: A family strengths approach. Young Children, 52(4) 10-14.
Additional Useful References:
Epstein, J.L., Simon, B.S., & Salinas, K.C. (1997, September). Involving parents in homework in the middle grades. Phi Delta Kappa Center for Evaluation, Development, and Research. Research Bulletins Online. Retrieved February 16, 2000, from the World Wide Web: http://www.pdkintl.org/edres/resbul18.htm
Giannetti, C.C., & Sagarese, M.M. (1998, May). Turning parents from critics to allies. Educational Leadership, 55(8) 40-42.
Smith, J. (1998, May). It takes 100 grandparents. Educational Leadership, 55(8) 52-534.