chapter  1
18 Pages

Building School Communities

1Shared Goals and Empowered Parents
WithAlyssa R. Gonzalez-DeHass

A key priority established by experts in the field is addressing parent efficacy to help and confronting conflicting beliefs about how to get involved (especially as kids get older). And while there are diverse ways parents may choose to be involved, research underscores that interpersonal relationships, between parents and children and between schools and families, are essential to the success of schools’ family involvement initiatives. As a school, educators might establish a guiding mission and a framework of school goals that include the value of parents as partners in education and the importance of open home–school communication. A voluntary home-school compact that includes important learning goals for students, including that of developing self-regulated and resilient learners, can be developed as part of a school improvement plan that engages feedback from educators and parents. The compact can be evaluated at annual school advisory council meetings for effectiveness in encouraging family involvement. Including parents in school decision-making about education policies and developing parent leaders in this capacity creates true partnerships of parents and educators working toward shared goals for students’ learning.