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|← Families and Communities||Communication →|
Establishing of support for family and community involvement starts educators or school administrators. Their enthusiasm to recruit community members and parents for school activities, to listen to viewpoints of other people and make decisions collectively is the fundamental step in creation of school-community-partnerships. Administrative support can offered by funding availed by the district budget office; space, material and equipment meant for enhancing family and community involvement and individuals selected to perform such programs.
The administrators should provide teachers with specialized development concerning community and family engagement/involvement. This is a very crucial element in effective partnerships and includes: skills on how to collaborate with families and parents, knowledge about family dynamics and nontraditional family organizations, decreasing barriers to family involvement, appreciating diverse cultures and enhancing two-way communication between home and school. There are also other approaches that administrators can employ to expound the schools’ abilities to coordinate with families (Allen, 2009). This could take the shape of community/parent volunteers assisting teachers together with other staffs create awareness of the school families and within the community in the school’s location. This could be taking educators on community walks to introduce them to neighborhood. The staff can also carry out action research to learn school-family-community relationships, talk about initiatives to involve communities and families and come up with strategies to enhance their own exercise.
The above activities are groundwork that sets stage for the process. The schools can now establishing school-family-community partnership by coming up with an action team that is dedicated to creating an all-inclusive family-involvement program. The team should be made up of: “administrators, parents, teachers, students, community members and other staff who bring along their individual skills, perspectives, and experiences to the project,” (Allen, 2009). The team is charged with the following responsibilities: carrying out a needs assessment, coming up with goal statements, recognizing strategies to achieve the goals, coming up with implementation plans, and making use of evaluation tools.
The action team will then select the forms of involvement programs the school will use to achieve its formulated goals for the involvement. Particular activities and programs should the approach of partnership. There are many forms that successful family-community participation can assume to ensure that the proper partnership. This could be aiding children at home, being involved in school decision making, acting as volunteers in classrooms, serving on school committees and boards and enhancing community bond issues. However the choice of partnership program is decided upon by the school community’s situation hence no there universal programs for all school. “For effective development of programs to enhance family and community partnership, educators can base on Joyce Epstein’s framework that is made up of six kinds of involvement” (Caplan, 1998):
The first one is parenting and it basically involves helping families with child-rearing skills and parenting and helping schools to understand their families. The form of involvement is communication that not only stands as the foundation upon which partnership must be built upon but it also has to be effectively developed to both from school-to-home and home-to-school. Volunteering is another viable way of involvement hence is the third one. This entails creating ways through which families can get drawn in school programs or school and also helping in effective criteria for recruiting them (volunteers).
Fourthly it is learning at home and as already looked at under establishing communication; it entails connecting families with curriculums of their children through learning activities which can be performed at home or as homework. Decision making is another form of involvement and entails involving communities and families in campaigners, school council and committee members and in making decisions for the school. Lastly it is collaborating with the community by harmonizing services in the community with needs of families and offering services to the community (Allen, 2007).
To ensure that the performance of schools is improved, it is necessary for educators to establish communication and efficient community relation support system. This therefore means that there should be a form of participation entailing communities, students, families and educators where schools are found. Communication is a very important tool in enhancing school-community partnership hence it should be encouraged in a two-way basis where not only educators communicate to parents but the community/ parents have to given opportunities to be listened to. This will develop a mutual understanding between the school and the community and in developing a very strong partnership between both parties for the benefit of them all.