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In this section, we have provided you with the following tools to help you acquire professional development credit for this workshop. If you are interested, we suggest that you print these items and discuss them with your administrator.


Concept to Classroom: Making Family and Community Connections

In this workshop, the participants examine how family-school partnerships have often been overly controlled by the schools and how they now need to be responsive to the needs and desires of parents and families. To address this issue, participants will examine how schools can reach out to the community and become involved in community-based institutions and a range of reform and development projects.
    1. Why should family and community be connected to schools?
      a. Participants examine how family and community members can act as role models and mentors and provide an additional layer of support and inspiration for students and teachers.

    2. How do family and community involvement with schools relate to traditional educational ideas?
      a. Participants examine why it is necessary to explore the character of the particular local community that surrounds the school, and determine the needs of the families who live there before beginning parent involvement.

    3. What does it have to do with my classroom?
      a. Participants examine how teachers are an important part of any program designed to improve connections between schools and families.

    4. How has thinking about family and community involvement changed in our schools?
      a. Participants examine the new and powerful idea that schools must take on the responsibility of engaging the family and community.

    5. What are the benefits of family and community connections?
      a. Participants examine the numerous benefits of well-implemented school and community partnership programs, such as student attendance and student achievement.

    6. What are some critical perspectives?
      a. Participants examine some critical issues to family involvement, such as the degree of comfort between the school and the family.

    7. Another Perspective
      a. Participants read an interview with Heather B. Weiss, director of the Harvard Family Research Project, who comments on how families can become involved with their children's schools.

In this workshop, the participants look at a few real-life examples of partnerships in classrooms and schools around the country. They will also observe examples of interactive homework assignments that can draw parents into the teaching process.
    1. In the Classroom
      a. Participants read transcripts of various members of a school community talk about the importance of building links between home, school, and community.

    2. In Schools
      a. Participants examine Web sites of schools that have developed successful partnership programs.

    3. How can connecting schools and communities help teachers with lesson planning?
      a. Participants examine how partnership programs can help maximize the effectiveness of homework assignments by getting parents involved and letting them know how to support and supervise homework.

In this workshop, the participants look at ways that partnership programs can become a part of their classroom. The following questions will be addressed:
    1. How can improving school, family, and community connections help my class?
      a. Participants examine some of the results from improved family involvement such as attendance, higher report card grades, increased class participation, and higher quality of student questions, class work, homework, and projects.

    2. How do I get started using the partnership program?
      a. Participants examine an Action Team for Partnerships (ATP), consisting of teachers, parents, and an administrator.

    3. What kind of activities can be supported in a partnership program?
      a. Participants examine the six general types of activities that have been identified by workshop expert Joyce Epstein.

    4. What are some challenges I might face?
      a. The participants examine the numerous challenges to developing a good partnership program, such as lack of funding.

    5. How do I assess progress in developing better connections between my school and the community?
      a. Participants examine how to assess the results of a partnership program and how to begin designing the program with assessment objectives clearly in mind.

    6. How can technology be used to improve family and community involvement with schools?
      a. Participants examine how the Internet is a real asset for connecting families and schools.

In this workshop, the participants explore some of the key principles behind partnership programs and use a step-by-step guide for putting them into action.
    1. Key Principles
      a. Participants examine the four key principles for successful partnership programs.
    2. Step-by-Step Planning
      a. Participants follow the steps for a guide that can help them set up a partnership program in their school.

For a complete listing of all the books, articles, Web sites, and videos listed as resources for this workshop, please see http://www.thirteen.org/wnetschool/concept2class/resources.html.

Calfee, Carol, Frank Wittwer, and Mimi Meredith. BUILDING A FULL-SERVICE SCHOOL. San Franciso, CA: Jossey Bass, 1998.

Dryfoos, Joy G. FULL SERVICE SCHOOLS. San Franciso, CA: Jossey Bass, 1998.

Epstein, J. L., L. Coates, K.C. Salinas, M. G. Sanders, & B. S. Simon. SCHOOL, FAMILY, AND COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS: YOUR HANDBOOK FOR ACTION. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 1997.


Epstein, J. L. (1987). "Toward a Theory of Family-School Connections: Teacher Practices and Parent Involvement." In K. Hurrelmann, F. Kaufmann, and F. Losel, (eds.) SOCIAL INTERVENTION: POTENTIAL AND CONSTRAINTS. New York: DeGruyter, 1987. pp. 121 - 136.

Kagan, Sharon L. and Bernice Weissbourd. PUTTING FAMILIES FIRST. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass, 1994.

Sergiovanni, Thomas J. BUILDING COMMUNITY IN SCHOOLS. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass, 1999.

Weiss, Heather B. COMMUNITY-BASED FAMILY SUPPORT AND EDUCATION PROGRAMS. National Center for Children in Poverty, 1991.

Weiss, Heather B. RAISING OUR FUTURE: FAMILIES, SCHOOLS, AND COMMUNITIES. Harvard Family Research Project, 1995.


Workshop: Making Family and Community Connections
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