February 2009

www.ParentInvolvementMatters.Org eNews Archive

Developing Communities of Practice with Parents

Parents have always learned from and supported each other through the joys and challenges of raising children. However, in our new knowledge society and age of complexity, it is more difficult than ever to form learning communities that help parents be better parents and enrich their roles in children's education. The concept of communities of practice was coined by Etienne Wenger, a global pioneer in social learning theory. Now used extensively in the organizational world, these structured learning communities have become natural places of innovation, development, and knowledge generation. These communities solve real problems through those who participate. Communities of practice have a role in education reform, bringing people with expertise together to learn from and problem-solve together. How can they function in schools? Read how a community of practice structure can be used to build parent-school relationships and increase a new type of parental involvement. Read Article

Study Circles: Facilitating Relationships Across Cultures

The Montgomery County Public Schools in Rockville, Maryland, has created a program that helps schools address the challenges posed by cultural and racial differences by bringing together parents, teachers, and students from different backgrounds. Trained facilitators help participants talk, build relationships, develop a better understanding of the challenges, and plan action steps to help students succeed. Learn about this unique program by visiting the Study Circles Website.

Innovation in Family Involvment Programs: Will the Obama Presidency Change the Focus of Educational Research?

For many years, educational research has been scientifically-based, demanding quantitative evidence that programs are successful before duplicating them in other schools. However, just because one school has success, doesn't mean another will. Why? Because each school culture is diverse and may require difference approaches to family involvement. Qualitative research is gaining in popularity and stature as lessons from the business world and how to create innovation flow into other disciplines like education. With a worldview that is more focused on the growth of individual school systems as a whole, action-research may become part of the future. The Obama administration may shake up the mix of what is considered research and development in education. Read Education Week's "Eye on Reearch" to learn more about how the Obama presidency may affect research in schools. Read Article

Resources for Increasing Family Involvement

Check out the growing number of RESOURCES to help build successful parent-school communities on our website!

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FEATURED BOOK

Steven Constantino

101 Ways to Create Real Family Engagement
by Steven M. Constantino, Ed.D.

A new book by educator, author, and practitioner Dr. Steve Constantino, 101Ways to Create Real Family Engagement goes beyond "doing things" or making proclamations about engaging families to the real issue of making cultural changes in schools. Constantino addresses these changes and provides clear strategies and exercises that help schools build relationships with parents that make a difference.

Recommended by Anne T. Henderson, Senior Consultant, Annenberg Institute for School Reform, this book is a "first-rate handbook, chock-full of all the advice you'll ever need to change the climate and culture of your school."

You can purchase this book directly from the Engage Institute.

FEATURED WEBSITE

Complementary Learning, a systemic approach to family-school partnerships integrates school and nonschool supports to ensure success for kids. Learn More

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