How do I get started using a partnership program?
Individual teachers can implement effective family and community involvement activities, but a full partnership program, as conceived by workshop expert Joyce Epstein, requires school-wide or district-wide commitment.
An Action Team for Partnerships (ATP)
1, consisting of teachers, parents, and an administrator, must be created. Other team members from businesses or the community may be added.
The ATP needs official and financial support for the activities that are planned each year. An annual one-year action plan is written with a clear schedule of activities that are linked to school improvement goals. The ATP conducts an inventory of the school's present practices of family and community involvement, and determines the challenges that must be overcome to improve and expand a program of goal-oriented partnership activities.
Members of a school-to-work transition program talk about setting up a math education project.
Committees are formed to focus family and community involvement on particular school goals and on the six types of involvement (see "What kind of activities can be supported in a partnership program?"). As the one-year action plan is implemented, the ATP monitors progress, notes new challenges, and sets higher goals for involving more families in more productive ways in the action plan for the next school year.
A step-by-step plan for creating a partnership program in your school is available in the "Implementation" section.