Creating Community Alliances, Working with Parents and Families
Resource Packet

Warren, S R. (2011). Preparing Urban Teachers to Partner with Families and Communities. School Community Journal, 21(1), 95-112.

"This class really opened my eyes as to how much or how important it is to involve families and the community and how big of a role they play in our students’ lives.…Now I really am stepping back and looking to see; how much I am including my students’ families?" ' (p.104)

Ferlazzo, Larry. (2011). "Involvement or Engagement?" Educational Leadership 68 (8) p 10-14.

" To create the kinds of school-family partnerships that raise student achievement, improve local communities, and increase public support, we need to understand the difference between family involvement and family engagement. One of the dictionary definitions of involve is "to enfold or envelope," whereas one of the meanings of engage is "to come together and interlock." Thus, involvement implies doing to; in contrast, engagement implies doing with."

School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action By Joyce Epstein

“Help families with parenting skills by providing information about children’s developmental stages and home environment considerations that support children as students.” (108)

Behnke, A. and Kelly, C. "Creating Programs to Help Latino Youth Thrive at School: The Influence of Latino Parent Involvement Programs." Journal of Extension 49 (1)1-11.

"Rather than simply a translation of a program developed for English-speaking families, these programs use culturally appropriate activities and specially crafted concepts that were specifically designed to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking parents and youth."

De Gaetano, Y. (2007). The role of culture in engaging latino parents' involvement in school. In Urban Education. Vol 42, pp 145-162.

"The same teacher who had made the disparaging remarks about the educational level of parents began to be enthusiastic about having a parent come into her classroom. There was a realization that knowledge is not necessarily dependent on schooling."

Auerbach, Susan. (2007): From moral supporters to struggling advocates: Reconceptualizing parent roles in education through the experience of working-class families of color: Urban Education. 42(3), 250-283.

In the article, the author proposes that the traditional model of parent involvement fails to acknowledge the ways in which parent roles in educgvggyfrrrrrrzation and home-school relationships are a reflection of broader social inequalities that affect students. In addition, the author acknowledges that the conception of mainstream parent involvement research stresses school-centered conceptions of parent roles with insufficient attention to “culturally appropriate definitions and family centered practices”. In this article, the author describes a study that shows the importance of broadening our notions of what parental involvement looks like. We need to step away from the model-class definition of what parent involvement looks like and understand that parental support comes in many different ways.

Sanders, M. G., & Lewis, K. C. (2005). Building bridges towards excellence: community involvement in high schools. The High School Journal, 88(3), 1-9.

"Prioritize process, permit time, and promote community ownership."
This article looked at 3 demographically different high schools that were successful in having implemented parent involvement and relationships with community businesses and organizations. The main message that I will take from this article is that it takes time and that dedication is important. "..but it has to grow from something. The roots need to be there." That comes from an interview with a principal who warns not to tackle such a huge project right away. It's better to start small with whatever you are trying to build so that you have a soli foundation. All of these high schools said they started with something small like one parent night once a year...then it was two a year...then then involved a women's group.

Jasis, P. M., & Ordonez-Jasis, R. (2012). Latino parent involvement: Examining commitment and empowerment in schools. Urban Education, 47(1), 65-89. Retrieved from

“It was clear throughout these parents’ process of school participation that their engagement increased and became more meaningful within school contexts where their parental roles, their individual and family aspirations, and life experiences and knowledge were respected and incorporated into the school communities as valuable educational contributions” (Jasis & Ordonez-Jasis, 2012, Pg. 84).

Wang, Y. (2009). Language, Parents' Involvement, and Social Justice: The Fight for Maintaining Minority Home Language: A Chinese-Language Case Study. Multicultural education, 16(4), 13-18.

“I selected this process because initially I thought of parent's involvement in social justice issues in relation to their child's education in a deficit manner. I automatically thought that because I am coming from a social justice perspective, that I would automatically have parent's that resisted my ideology. However I met a young lady at a high school and she was making a bunch of comments of the corruption of the government during a history lesson. I asked her where she learned all those ideas from and she said her parents are union organizers and activists. This really flipped my notion of parents in the social justice movement. I chose this article to see how parents can actually be allies in the pursuit of social justice education rather than the opposition. ”

"Increasing parents' autonomy and decision making in setting treatment goals is one of the major outcomes of parent-professional partnerships (Friesen & Huff, 1996; Osher & Osher, 2002). Professionals engage parents in sharing responsibility, in developing goals, and in improving services for children with SED. The expectation has been that professionals and parents working together can achieve better outcomes for children and youths with SED (DeChillo, Koren, & Schultze, 1994; Osher & Osher). Brunet (1991) defined these new collaborations as "a process to reach goals that cannot be achieved acting singly" (p. 6)".

Warren, M. (2005). Communities and schools: A new view of urban education reform. Harvard Educational Review, 75(2).

“School districts and leaders have struggled to improve schooling in low-income communities, largely in isolation from community-development initiatives. In particular cases, gains have been made within the four walls of schools through reform strategies. Attempting school reform in isolation from community development, however, is problematic for a number of reasons” (Warren, p. 133 2005).

Fann, A. (2009). Parent Involvement in the College Planning Process: A Case Study of P-20 Collaboration. Journal of Hispanic higher education, 8(4), 374-393.

This article focuses mostly on Latino parents who are first generation U.S. residents/citizens. The article focuses on the idea of "social capital"--that people who go to college know the ropes and can help others apply to and go to college as well. The article focuses on having positive connections from the high schools and colleges to the parents through partnerships and developed relationships to get information to the parents if they don't already have that information. This study took place at UCLA where the college developed outreach programs to the parents of prospective students. This outreach program took the shape of 4 nights of information sessions which focused on different aspects of college life--from finances to applying. The workshops were presented in both English and Spanish, making them widely accessible.

Ma, T. (2012). Peer Victimization and Parental Psychological Control in Adolescence. Journal of abnormal child psychology, 40(3), 413-424.

"Schwartz et al. (1997) found that exposure to psychologically controlling parenting is associated with both aggression and victimization in boys, and Rigby (1994) found that female adolescents categorized as victims tended to rate their parents as exercising more control and less positive affect" (414).

Cole, A G. (2010). School-community partnerships and community-based education: A case study of a novice program. Penn GSE perspectives on urban education, 7(1), 15-26.

“A strong advocate of breaking down traditional barriers between schools and com- munities, Human Services Program Facilitator Tom Spillings explained, ‘Imagine a field trip that was a service opportunity that was repeated seven or eight times or maybe in the future weekly for maybe 30 weeks. The ties you build, the understanding you have of adult working relationships... that’s what you want, that’s what you want your high school to do, to be a partner with your community. That’s what it should be.’”

One of the factors that the authors identify is that schools with a high sense of community share a set of common values: “They share a common belief in the kind of people students are capable of becoming, and express that belief in the day-to-day activities of the school” (p.35). This to me was one of the things that schools I have worked in lack the most yet really is the core of a sense of community. Some of the other factors were commitment which the authors stated is willingness to go beyond expectation and a sense of belonging. Overall the article was interesting and provided some good points about building community in schools.

This article focuses on the positive affects of parent involvement. Reading the article I came across information that I was already familiar with; students who have their parents involved in school have higher grades, higher test scores, and less behavioral issues. I realize that parent involvement is very essential to a students growing and learning process. In the article a quote that caught my attention was: “When parents hear that they need to be more involved in their child’s school, the first reaction is sometimes a sense of guilt that they aren’t more active in the local Parent-Teacher Organization.” Thinking about the schools that I have worked in and looking at demographics, I don’t want my students parents to feel guilty. I understand from speaking to a few parents that they are single and working two jobs to buy the bare necessities.

De Gaetano, Y (2007). "The Role of Culture in Engaging Latino Parents' Involvement in School" In Urban Education 42(2)

"Our workshops were designed in ways that began with the personal and had relevance to parents’lives. The workshop topics then moved to identifying and utilizing the skills and knowledge that the parents possessed to help children at school or at home. The workshops were always designed to be experiential and focused on families and children." (158)

Wimer, C., & Gunther, R. (2006). Summer success: Challenges and strategies in creating quality academically focused summer programs (Issues and Opportunities in Out-of-School Time Evaluation No. 9). Retrieved January 1, 2007, from

"An inclusive partnership is one that involves families, schools, students, and community leaders in the planning process. This encourages all partners to become invested in and take ownership of their contribution to the initiative. It also increases the likelihood of developing a high-quality, effective implementation plan. In a successful partnership, partners have shared aspirations and specific desired outcomes, a willingness to be flexible as an initiative evolves and new learning takes place, and a commitment to sharing resources, such as personnel, time, money, meeting space, or others. Forming strategic alliances with various organizations and people
in the community can result in stronger implementation plans and increase the likelihood of producing good results.(7)"

Scanlan, M. (2012). "Cos Um It like Put a Picture in My Mind of What I Should Write": An Exploration of How Home-School Partnership Might Support the Writing of Lower-Achieving Boys. Support for learning, 27(1), 4-10.

The article addressed the use of younger students bringing home-items to school to facilitate writing production. Low-achieving writers responded well to the voluntary insertion of home items into their school world. In this way, the article was more geared towards K-5.

Brooks, S M. (2009). A case study of school-community alliances that rebuilt a community. School community journal, 19(2), 59-80.

The article looks at the impact of desegregation on African American communities from a standpoint that is rarely discussed. Desegregation caused what the author refers to as "social dislocation" because not only was there a mass exodus of middle-class African American families to White middle class neighborhoods, but 91,009 African American principals and teachers were fired from the newly desegregated schools and replaced with White educators. The issue with these actions were the relationships and norms that existed in the Traditional African American Schools no longer were shared by both parties, and this created a disconnect between the communities and the schools. "The problem is that relationships traditionally formed between home and school in the African American community differed from parent-school relationships promoted in integrated schools" (Brooks, 2009, p. 2).

Ferlazzo, L. (2011). Involvement or Engagement?. Educational Leadership, 68(8), 10.

"Thus involvement implies doing to; in contrast, engagement implies doing with" (Ferlazzo, 2011, pg.12). Although the article does not provide concrete strategies for engaging families in school, it does clarify the differences between family involvement and engagement. The article emphasizes the need for schools and educators to work with and actively listen to families. The article challenges the one way communication that is so often practiced by schools and instead encourages a model of dialogue that allows for schools and parents to work together to improve not just student achievement but community empowerment.

Wilson, M. Rene. (2011). Taking on the perspective of the other: Understanding parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of parent involvement in students’ educational experiences. University at Albany, State University of New York

It (the research) offers initial findings of why some parents may not be involved in volunteering activities, and why some teachers are not open to having parents participate- The accounts of both parents and teachers have provided the educational community a more authentic picture of parent involvement as it relates to their individual lives (P. 242)