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The School-Home Connection

The School-Home Connection
Forging Positive Relationships With Parents

May 2010 | 152 pages | Corwin
Research has consistently shown that student success is directly related to the strength of the relationships between parents and schools. This book provides teachers and administrators with tools to build a foundation for student success based on positive relationships with students and their families.

Drawing on original research and their professional experiences, the authors identify the common sources of both negative and positive school-home relationships. The book presents a comprehensive approach to building closer connections and includes:

- Tools to help educators develop a deeper understanding of the communities they serve

- Strategies for improving interpersonal skills and communication skills

- A chapter on the importance of documenting and celebrating school events

- Guidelines for creating three distinct levels of parental participation in schools

With suggestions for cultivating a community network of support services and a summary of lessons for forging constructive relationships, The School-Home Connection is an essential tool for educators looking to strengthen the learning community and increase student achievement.

About the Authors
1. Committing to the Relationship
Benefits to the Student

Benefits to the Teacher

Benefits to the Parent

Benefits to the Class

Benefits to the School

Benefits to the School District


2. Recognizing Different Personalities
Determining Personality

Effects of Personalities on Your Relationships


Dealing With Difficult Parents


3. Identifying Potential Red Flags
Recognizing Red Flags

The Likelihood Rating Scale

Parent and Family Conditions

Teacher Conditions

Administrator Conditions


4. Honing Solid Communication Skills
Verbal Communication Obstacles

Nonverbal Communication Obstacles


5. Adopting Key Rules
Rule 1: Be Respectful

Rule 2: Be Proactive

Rule 3: No Surprises

Rule 4: 24 Hours

Rule 5: No Dump Trucks Allowed

Rule 6: Document

Rule 7: Be Prepared

Rule 8: "I Don't Know"

Rule 9: Never Say Never

Rule 10: Never Lie


6. Using Flexibility to Enhance Relationships
Common Family Issues Needing Accommodation

Failing Students

Students With Disabilities

Families of Divorce or Separation

Illness or Death of a Close Family Member

Non-English-Speaking and Low-Literacy Families

Counterproductive Family Dynamics


7. Documenting and Celebrating School Events
What Do We Need to Document?

Quick, Easy, and Routine Daily Documentation Methods

Weekly or Monthly Newsletters

Specialized Daily Contacts



Back-to-School Nights and Open Houses


8. Connecting Home and School
Levels of Parent Participation

Level 1: General Parental Support of School Activities

Level 2: Parental Involvement in Daily School Events

Level 3: Parental Involvement in Decision-Making Processes


9. Cultivating Resources
Where Do You Start?

Compiling a List of Family Resources

What Should Your Resource List Look Like?

One Step Further


10. Summarizing Global Lessons Learned
Lesson 1: Keep the Student Front and Center

Lesson 2: Be the Best Communicator You Can Be

Lesson 3: Become User-Friendly

Lesson 4: Be Proactive

Lesson 5: View Parents and Families as Opportunities to Bring Diversity, Interests, and Talents into the Classroom and School

Lesson 6: Above All, Keep and Use a Sense of Humor


Resource A: Discover Your Personality
Resource B: The Animal Test
Resource C: Personality Types
References and Recommended Readings

"When parents and school get together, all kids can win. Every teacher and administrator should read this book. The detailed table of contents directs you to a solution for your problem."

NZ Carol, Development Officer
Dominican Hospital Foundation

"After enduring a 16-day due process hearing with Rosemary Olender, in which the district prevailed but nobody 'won,' especially the student, Rosemary said to me, 'There has to be a better way.' I agreed. The research conducted by the authors, combined with their years of special education experience, has found a better solution. This book provides sound, practical, readily implemented advice regarding communication and relationships—the keys to successful outcomes for special education students, their families, and their school districts."

Donald E. Budmen, School Attorney
Ferrara, Fiorenza, Larrison, Barrett & Reitz, P.C.

“A useful resource for all educators with practical suggestions to help close the gap between school and home. Through analogies and shared reflections on real-life examples, the authors provide guidance in dealing effectively with parents, appreciating the importance of family dynamics, and understanding the effects of personality types on relationships.”

Annette Speach, Director of Human Resources
North Syracuse Central School District, NY

"A resource that every school district should use for staff development. It provides excellent strategies with effective examples to use in various situations that occur in our schools. Effective strategies are offered to deal with parents who are insecure, feel threatened, or are very anxious. The book also offers insight on how school staff should act to develop a climate of respect."

Nellie A. Bush, Retired Assistant Superintendent
Amsterdam School District, NY

"These authors understand the basic and important concepts to working successfully with even the most challenging students and families. In clear language, they provide concrete steps to guide readers in developing the relationships that are the basis of all successful collaboration between school and home. Becoming skilled in these relationships is the foundation for successful home-school collaboration, and these authors provide the why's and how-to's in very readable form."

Bonnie Dunn, Retired School Social Worker
The Collaborative School, New Gloucester, ME

"This commonsense and practical approach to improving relationships contains a storehouse of solid resources and tools that will assist both neophytes as well as the experienced practitioner. The book serves as a strong wake-up call, as the research clearly indicates that student achievement improves when parents are involved in a child's education."

Jerome F. Melvin, Superintendent of Schools
North Syracuse Central School District, NY

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ISBN: 9781412968645