Principals Matter: A Guide to School, Family, and Community Partnerships

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Research has shown that strong principal leadership is critical to developing effective school partnerships that include diverse school, family, and community members. This book provides administrators with a clear road map for initiating partnership programs that are goal-focused, equitable, and sustainable.

In this research-based resource, the authors highlight the work of principals who have cultivated successful partnerships across many settings to show other school leaders how they can develop the necessary supportive school cultures. Examining the administrator's role in the success and quality of home-school partnerships and student outcomes, this guidebook

Synthesizes research on principal leadership, school and community partnerships, and urban education reform

Discusses the role of fathers in children's learning and ways of working with families that live in poverty, are linguistically diverse, or have children with disabilities

Offers practical recommendations for evaluating and refining partnership programs to ensure they are linked with student achievement goals

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Editorial Reviews

Belinda Gimbert
"The book provides a vast overview of the many key aspects of partnerships between schools, families, and communities grounded in data and research that illustrates the positive impact that strong stakeholder partnerships have on student achievement. The examples, vignettes, and stories provide rich material to illuminate the points addressed."
Julie C. Burger
"An excellent book. Each chapter opens with relevant research and presents suggestions for practical applications. As a principal, I would buy this book for a task force or professional learning community."
Marian Hermie
"There is so much valuable information in this book that any administrator, regardless of experience, can gain huge benefits from reading it and putting into effect many of the suggested activities and programs."
William Ruff
"What sets this book apart from other school and community source books is that it addresses specific populations that are often alienated by schools: fathers, parents of children with disabilities, and families of poverty. It provides a good overview of key research on the topic of family involvement in schools, its impact, and practices for obtaining involvement."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412960427
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 4/27/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 450,973
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mavis G. Sanders is assistant professor of education in the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education, research scientist at the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk (CRESPAR), and senior advisor to the National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of many articles on the effects of school, fam­ily, and community support on African American adolescents’ school suc­cess, the impact of partnership programs on the quality of family and community involvement, and international research on partnerships. She is interested in how schools involve families that are traditionally hard to reach, how schools meet challenges for implementing excellent programs and practices, and how schools define “community” and develop mean­ingful school-family-community connections. Her most recent book is Schooling Students Placed at Risk: Research, Policy, and Practice in the Education of Poor and Minority Adolescents (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2000).She earned her Ph D in education from Stanford University.

Steven B. Sheldon is a research scientist with the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships and director of research of NNPS at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of many publications on the implementation and effects of programs for family and community involvement. His work explores how the quality and outreach of school programs of partnerships affect parents’ responses and student outcomes, such as student attendance, math achievement, student behavior, reading, and state achievement test scores. His most recent book guides principals in their leadership and work on school, family, and community partnerships (with Mavis Sanders, Corwin Press, 2009). In his current research, Sheldon is studying the influences of parents’ social networks, beliefs, and school outreach on patterns of parental involvement at school and at home and results for students. He earned his Ph D in educational psychology from Michigan State University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

About the Authors ix

Introduction: Standards for School, Family, and Community Partnerships 1

Part I Laying the Foundation 7

1 Policy, Theory, and Research on School, Family, and Community Partnerships 9

Partnerships and Academic Outcomes 12

Partnerships and Nonacademic Outcomes 20

Why This Matters for Principals 23

Reflection Questions 24

2 Reculturing Schools for School, Family, and Community Partnerships 25

Schools as Community Institutions 25

Developing a Coordinated Program of School, Family, and Community Partnerships 27

Principal Leadership and School Outcomes 28

Obstacles to Effective School, Family, and Community Partnerships 29

Steps Toward Recultured Schools 32

Why This Matters for Principals 39

Reflection Questions 40

Part II Responding to Diversity 41

3 Fathers and School, Family, and Community Partnerships 43

Why Fathers Matter 43

Father Demographics 45

The Role of Fathers 46

Guidelines for Developing Partnership Efforts to Involve Fathers 48

Practical Partnership Activities 51

Why This Matters for Principals 56

Reflection Questions 57

4 Families of Children With Disabilities and School, Family, and Community Partnerships 59

IDEA and Children With Disabilities 60

District and School Outreach to Families of Children With Disabilities 60

Specific Needs and Experiences of Families of Children With Disabilities 61

Engagement Strategies for Families of Children With Disabilities 65

Creating Inclusive Environments for Families of Children with Disabilities 73

Why This Matters for Principals 75

Reflection Questions 76

5 Linguistically Diverse Families and School, Family, and CommunityPartnerships 77

Growth in Immigration and Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students and Families 77

LEP Students and Families 78

LEP Students and NCLB 79

Strategies to Facilitate the Involvement of LEP Families 80

Culturally Intelligent Principal Leadership 88

Why This Matters for Principals 89

Reflection Questions 90

6 Families Living in Poverty and School, Family, and Community Partnerships 91

Challenges Faced by Low-Income Families 91

Avoiding a Deficit Perspective 93

A Collaborative Approach 94

Why This Matters for Principals 105

Reflection Questions 106

Part III Maximizing Outcomes 107

7 Evaluating Programs of School, Family, and Community Partnerships 109

Planning an Evaluation 110

Collecting Data 116

Presenting the Findings 121

Why This Matters for Principals 121

Reflection Questions 122

Concluding Thoughts 123

References 127

Index 141

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