Back-to-School Issue: September 2011 eNews 

Family-School Partnerships for the 21st Century

On the surface, parent engagement seems uncontroversial. Yet the topic can create fierce debate among principals, teachers, parents, and scholars! What do 21st century partnerships look like? And who will create them?

With today’s emphasis on increasing test scores and holding teachers accountable for student performance, it is easy to lose sight of what really matters – how children develop to be engaged learners and successful, happy adults.

We believe change happens at the grassroots of schools, where families, teachers, and students learn together. Our co-founder Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, recently wrote an article for Psychology Today Family-School Partnerships for the 21st Century, highlighting models of collaborative learning, like ParentNet.

It is the ability to develop trusting relationships, like those described in Soo Hong's featured book, Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools, that help parents and schools become integrated to work on behalf of children. This only happens with hard work and collaboration. And it is painstakingly difficult and complex.

The Whole Child Blog, also featured in this newsletter, shares a similar mission -- to approach education from a holistic perspective. They invite readers to change the conversation about education and move toward action that helps develop successful, well-rounded young people.

Let's keep family-school partnerships on the top of the agenda this school year! Visit our website and share your success stories. We'll pass them on!

School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Preparing Educators and Improving Schools by Joyce Epstein

A new edition of Joyce Epstein's book was published this year, based on her thirty years of research with families and communities. Chapters on theory, research, policy, and practice encourage educators to think about family and community involvement in new ways. You can read a comprehensive review of this book in the Spring/Summer 2011 edition of The School Community Journal.

Education and Family Involvement in the News

Several articles caught our eye this summer as being particularly important to educators and parents. There are no easy answers to education reform and everyone seems to have different opinions. As we work together to raise healthy children, we also need to understand key issues.

In Waiting for a School Miracle, published in the New York Times, Diane Ravitch dispels the myth of the "miracle school" and emphasizes that families are children's most important educators.

Teaching Secrets: Communicating with Parents, in Education Week Teacher, provides advice and tips to new teachers, encouraging them to develop respectful and productive communication, working together to help kids succeed.

Finally, the article Success Starts with Family Engagment, published in the Huffington Post is a great reminder that children perform better in the classroom when parents read to them and provide support with homework.

Share these and other articles with teachers and parents, reminding them that kids succeed when families and schools collaborate.

www.ParentInvolvementMatters.Org is a leading resource for educators, school administrators, parent leaders, consultants and trainers who share the belief that family engagement is vital to student learning and positive youth development.. You can now follow us on Twitter!




Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools
by Soo Hong

This newly published book by educator Soo Hong redefines the notion of parent engagement among African American and Latino families. She shows how low-income, non-English-speaking parents can become advocates and leaders in their children's schools. Recommended by our National Advisory Board member, Anne Henderson. Support our nonprofit mission by purchasing through our online bookstore.


The Whole Child Blog is sponsored by the ASCD (Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development). It shares valuable information for schools & parent leaders, including articles on parent & family involvement.


Super Tweeters

Not on Twitter yet? There are lots of great conversations about education, edreform, and parent engagement happening there! Here are more super tweeters to follow:

@ptotoday @shankerblog @NEAMedia @HuffPostParents @educationweek @leoniehaimson @edutopia @innovativeEdu @m_rhee @TeachForAmerica @EdTrust @MichaelPetrilli @RootsOfAction



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