Joyce Epstein suggests that communities, schools and parents must overlap each other in a resourceful method to create positive student success. This can be supported by constants that Epstien identified as: 1) all families care about their children 2) educators strive to involve families 3) students want family involvement 4) good partnerships look different. Challenges that can present themselves within the three overlapping circles could include decreased partnerships over the long term, low income families are more commonly contacted for negative student observations, low income families and single parents are less involved in the student learning process, and cultural differences and impede communication.
From an educator prospective we must consider multiple forms of communication to keep the family, school, and community overlapping spheres in sync. Protocols can be in place at education institutions to ensure the communication chain is strong. To ensure parents receive the positive or negative message from teachers or administrators the following protocol is used at the International School of Myanmar:
-Have a conversation with a student that their parent will be receiving a phone call and email explaining the positive or negative situation (phone calls and emails begin and end with positive language).
-The teacher or administrator will make the phone call home with a follow up email. In culturally diverse environments (language difference) a translator may be utilized.
-If the issues are not resolved the teacher/administrator may suggest a face to face meeting.
-Learning updates can be sent home informing the parent of the students’ progress. This also can include a signature and comment line for parent acknowledgment.
-Parent teacher conferences
-Student led conferences. *Student led conferences are used at ISM due to the language barrier between teachers and parents. At this time students create a portfolio of quarterly work to present to their parents.
If the steps above are followed and consistent among educators communication outcomes will be successful.
Promoting Effective Relationships with Parents, David Denton, Seattle Pacific University, 2014. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6Rn4t_HWhQ 12/2015.
Center on School, Family,and Community Partnerships, Joyce Epstein, John HopkinsUniversity,2010.Retrievedfromhttp://www.csos.jhu.edu/p2000/center.htm ,12/2015.