Pseudo-Article based on a Gestwicki Reading
Pseudo-Article Based on a Gestwicki Reading
School-Family Partnerships: Benefits, Barriers, and Foundations
Evidence obtained from Gestwicki (2016) demonstrated a link between parents involvement is schools and student performance at elementary level, thus influencing future academic performance in high school and college levels. However, despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the primary of parents and families in children’s education, many schools still lack structured approaches of engaging parents and families. Consequently, the government has mandated parent-school collaboration while communities have created family-teacher support groups. According to Gestwicki (2016) children benefit from the collaboration between teachers and parents/families, although there are some barriers to these partnerships. The literature review focuses on the available evidence of the benefits and barriers of teacher-family partnerships and their foundations.
Benefits and Barriers of Teacher-Family Partnerships
Bryan, Williams and Griffin (2020) confirmed that students performed better in school when their parents and communities were interested and engaged in their education. These outcomes were not dependent on family demographics, parents’ formal education, language spoken at home, family structure, and other background variables. They noted that family involvement helps students improve achievement, attendance, promotion to the next grade, and rates of graduation from high school. In addition, Bryan, Williams and Griffin (2020) noted that school-family-community partnerships shared responsibilities of nurturing students academically, developmentally and behaviorally. In the process, students could extend their attachment to their parents as the primary caregivers to teachers and community members as critical stakeholders of their academic wellbeing. The authors also described other benefits of such partnerships to students including enhanced educational resilience, which protected students from the thoughts of abandoning their academic pursuits and dropping off the education system. Further, Bryan, Williams and Griffin (2020) asserted that the school environment, risk factors responsible for school failure, and social capital improved through such partnerships. However, they noted that many school-family-community partnership programs targeted the academic aspects ignoring issues like being ready for schools, colleges, and careers, developing racial identity, communicating effectively, and leading. They also noted that cultural differences presented barriers in establishing functional school-family-community partnerships.
Similarly, Weingarten, Edmonds and Arden (2020) indicated that family engagement in school is associated with improved academic achievement and reduced social and behavioral problems. The engagement of families in their children’s education was pertinent in the academic and behavioral success of students during their schooling lifespan. They argued that positive outcomes in students were more likely following collaboration between educators and families focusing on supporting the students’ learning and behavior. In this aspect, the MTSS enables the educator-family collaboration aimed at solving problems related to the students’ behavior and academic performance. This was because MTSS was layered, thus helping the planning process to be escalated based on the students’ needs and the partnerships’ ambitions. In turn, the multitiered approach was scalable to increase and broaden the benefits to students at different levels. However, Weingarten, Edmonds and Arden (2020) contended that family participation was hindered by the lack of a structured process of gathering input from family members. Also, some parents were left out in collaboration meetings because of language deficiency, particularly when they were from a diverse culture that was not English-speaking.
Epstein and Sheldon (2019) indicated that school-family-community partnerships provided enrichment opportunities to students and supported and resourced them to build their educational resilience. They argued that educational resilience was critical for students because if kept them focused on academics amid adversities and crises. In this case, school counselors were instrumental in promoting resilience using school–family–community partnerships that emphasized equity and leveraged the principles of democracy, social justice, collaboration, and individual and collective strengths. However, Epstein and Sheldon (2019) that although schools conducted parent and community engagement activities, they hardly evaluated the quality and progress of such partnerships. In addition, any evaluation focused mainly of the school aspects, such as instructional approaches and testing, ignoring the family and community dimensions. Besides, educators lacked the evaluation tools to assess the quality, performance and effectiveness of the partnerships comprehensively. Therefore, they discussed several tools that could be employed to evaluate school-parent-community partnerships.
Foundations of Teacher-Family Partnerships
Epstein and Sheldon (2019) described a model for school-family-community partnership that is based on equity. They recommended this model for students in urban settings. They revealed that equity focused partnerships helped address the inequities in the school setting and academic achievement, the promotion of social justice, the fostering of democratic collaborations among the stakeholders, and empowerment of students and families. The principle of social justice helped in delivering equitable distribution and reallocation of resources, social networks, and information. The social-justice focused collaboration helped acknowledge the barriers hindering students’ academic success and educational opportunities while helping students and parents access valuable social networks information and resources. Similarly, the principle of democratic collaboration was a critical component of founding the equity focused partnerships because teachers interacted with parents as equal partners in decision making, thus helping to build cultural trust and understanding. They noted that the lack of cultural trust caused some teachers and parents to disapprove each other, particularly when the performance of the teacher or parent was questionable or suboptimal. The principle of strengths focus helped leverage the valuable assets and strengths of the parents in the partnerships for the children’s benefit. Likewise, the principle of empowerment built the skills and confidence of parents, particularly from marginalized and less affluent communities. In turn, empowered parents participate more in the collaboration programs while voicing enabling them to voice their perspectives and concerns.
Weingarten, Edmonds and Arden (2020) noted that several laws and statutes mandated teacher-family partnerships and collaboration in schools. These included the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 and the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. They also noted that the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) under the United States Department of Education encouraged school-family partnerships in its Results Driven Accountability program. They also argued that the multitiered system of support (MTSS) could be used to promote school-family partnerships using its inherent principles and tools. They argued that the multitiered system of support contained academic and behavioral frameworks that could be used to support students, particularly those with disabilities.
From the literature review, three questions emerged from the gaps identified. These are:
- How do school counselor educators implement school-family-community partnerships in preservice teacher training programs?
- How are the performance and effectiveness of school-family-community partnerships measured?
- How are parents and communities prepared to enhance their participation in school-family-community partnerships?
The proposed study would engage participants as respondents to provide information that would be used to answer the research questions. In this regards, the three research questions guide the kind of participants that would be best suited to provide such information. Specifically, school counselor educators drawn from teacher training institutions that conduct preservice teacher training programs would be preferred to provide information to be used to answer the first research question. Similarly, the administrators in the teacher training institutions that help administer the preservice teacher training programs would also be incorporated into the participant list. Similarly, for the second and third question, participants would be drawn from the teaching faculty in schools and parents with students in those schools. In addition, community members in the neighborhoods in which the schools operate would also be incorporated in the participants list.
The participants suitability to effectively contribute effectively to the study and help the research answer the research questions will be assess using several tool targeting diverse skills sets. The pertinent skillsets to be assessed include the participants’ literary levels, familiarity with school-family-community partnerships, and parenthood for those that have children in schools in the study setting.
The participants’ literacy levels are a critical measure of the participants’ suitability for the study. Participants are expected to respond through the data collection tools that require English competency, since the tools and researcher interactions are administered using the English language. In this regard the reading fluency level, speech fluency level, and writing competence level would be assessed to determine the participants’ suitability. Reading is a critical skill needed by the participants because they would read questionnaires that will be deployed as a data collection tool for the study. Therefore, it is pertinent that the participants understand the content of the questionnaires accurately. Besides, high reading and comprehension skills are pertinent for ensuring that the participants do not spend too much time with the questionnaire. The findings from these tests are critical because they will help the researcher select the most appropriate participants with the requisite reading competence and inform about the language level to be used in the questionnaires. Therefore, the reading fluency competence will be assessed using the Dynamic Indicators of basic early Literacy Skills Oral Reading Fluency (DIBELS ORF) Tool and the informal reading inventory (IRI) (Arnesen et al., 2017).
In addition, the participants’ competence in speech is critical for the successful administration of interviews as the data collection tools. The participants will converse with the researcher as they respond to the interview prompts. Therefore, the participants and the researchers should communicate effectively to ensure that the meanings of their thoughts and speech are not misinterpreted or lost. In this case, the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language, second edition (CASL-2) tool would be used to assess the speech fluency levels of the prospective study participants (Rehfeld & Padgett, 2019).
Further, the participants will be expected to write down their responses in the questionnaires administered to collect the study’s data. The questionnaire will contain open-ended items that require the free expression of thought and sentiments in written form. Therefore, the participants should express themselves in writing in a manner that the researcher understands without misinterpretation. In this regard, the Wechsler individual achievement test, second edition (WIAT-II) tool will be used to assess the writing competence of the prospective participants. Notably, this tool can also be used to assess the speech and oral competences of the prospective participants (Parkin, Frisby & Wang, 2020). These tools are flexible enough to be adopted to diverse participant population, allowing the test administrator to set the acceptable scores for recruiting suitable participants.
Arnesen, A., Braeken, J., Baker, S., Meek‐Hansen, W., Ogden, T., & Melby‐Lervåg, M. (2017). Growth in oral reading fluency in a semitransparent orthography: concurrent and predictive relations with reading proficiency in Norwegian, Grades 2–5. Reading Research Quarterly, 52(2), 177-201.
Bryan, J., Williams, J. M., & Griffin, D. (2020). Fostering educational resilience and opportunities in urban schools through equity-focused school–family–community partnerships. Professional School Counseling, 23(1_part_2), 2156759X19899179.
Epstein, J. L., & Sheldon, S. B. (2019). The importance of evaluating programs of school, family and community partnerships. Aula abierta, 48(1), 31-42.
Gestwicki, C. (2016). Home, school, and community relations. Cengage Learning.
Parkin, J. R., Frisby, C. L., & Wang, Z. (2020). Operationalizing the simple view of writing with the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test. Contemporary School Psychology, 24(1), 68-79.
Rehfeld, D. M., & Padgett, R. N. (2019). Test Review: Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language–Second Edition. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 37(4), 524-529.
Weingarten, Z., Edmonds, R. Z., & Arden, S. (2020). Better together: Using MTSS as a structure for building school–family partnerships. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 53(2), 122-130.