Schools are a large social organization that in any given day has opposing views swirling along with the learning , and yet have to be run in a benevolent, courteous fashion. Joyce Epstein at the Partnership Center for the Social Organization of Schools in Baltimore, Maryland came up with a framework to describe the six types of involvement that need to occur in order to have a successful positive school environment. She lists them as follows parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision-making, and collaborating with the community.
There are many ways to parent that are successful. Once a child enters school, home environments have to be set up to support children as students. Schools have to provide information on what home conditions support learning. Support programs and services are created to assist with health, nutrition, and social issues.
Communication underpins the whole environment of school. Communication has to be two way. Conferences, language translators, student progress reports, information vehicles for notices, and policies are all channels of keeping all sides informed and focused on the student.
Volunteering is the window that lets the public and parents understand what school is about. It allows parents and teachers to work together toward a common goal. It establishes relationships that benefit the student..
Parents are a child’s first teacher. Learning does not stop when a student goes out the school doors. Learning at home is an important component of raising a child. The teacher shares with the student. The student shares with the parent. The parent sends back information that enriches what went on in the classroom.
Decision making about someone’s child has to be a partnership to work. Power struggles take away support from the student. Joint decisions between parents, teachers, and administrators keep the system in balance and functioning.
Schools are part of a larger community. Schools cannot do their job without community support. There is constant service integration within schools to address all the needs of all the students and their families.