Researchers, Parents and Educators in Successful PartnershipSchools interested in getting parents and communities involved in education can join a national group of education advocates and professionals focused on the same goal.
The National Network of Partnership Schools, developed at the Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University, is made up of more than 750 schools, 60 districts and eight state education agencies around the country that have demonstrated a commitment to improving partnerships.
"Everyone has a responsibility for quality education," said Joyce L. Epstein, director of the center. "We help schools take that responsibility and create programs with parents and decision and design teams that are tailored to each school site."
Hopkins researchers used more than 15 years of studies to determine the benefits of shared responsibilities to develop a framework for success based on six types of involvement: parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making and collaborating with community.
One goal is to increase participation in the learning process by creating video and audio tape of workshops for parents who are unable to attend school functions.
A recent grant from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund will allow the program to maintain the network and to expand to even more schools. A three-year, $900,000 grant will help educators develop closer connections and build stronger relationships with families and communities.
Support for the project is an extension of the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund's ongoing efforts to help parents overcome barriers that prevent them from becoming more involved in helping their children succeed in school.
"Schools need to take steps to show that they are interested in having parents as partners," said M. Christine DeVita, president of the fund. Building closer relationships of schools, families and communities, she said, is a key component of the fund's mission to improve the quality of educational and career development opportunities, and to increase access to those services in low-income areas.
For more information, check the network's Web site at www.csos.jhu.edu/p2000/.
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