Karen Mapp commonly refers to the definition of partnership that implies a relationship, frequently between two people, in which each has equal status and a certain independence but also implicit or formal obligations to the other or others. So what does that mean in education?
Well, it is simple really–if we want our children to succeed in the game of life, we need to work in partnership with all those who our children interact. A very interesting statistic shows that children are in school only 20% of an average year. With breaks, vacations, evenings, and weekends, kids are only in school a fraction of time. What is a teacher to do you ask?
Well, since you asked, I’ll give you my two cents worth! Schools and teachers need to reach out and form a partnership with families and afterschool providers to kick up the chance of student academic success. Sounds easy enough—but how?
There are a lot of great resources out there to learn more about how to form a partnership with your families and community members to bring out the best in your school. Our personal favorite is Beyond the Bake Sale, The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships, by Anne T. Henderson, Karen L. Mapp, Vivian R. Johnson, and Don Davies. This book is chock full of great ideas for engaging families in a partnership, how to give your school the tweaking it might need to become family friendly as well as real stories that may ring true for you. Three other books that you might enjoy are:
- The Essential Conversation—What Parents and Teachers Can Learn From Each Other, by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
- Only Connect—The Way to Save Our Schools, by Dr. Rudy Crew
- What Successful Schools do To Involve Families—55 Partnership Strategies, by Neal Glasgow and Paula Jameson Whitney
You can also find some great tips for building that partnership at the following websites:
- Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) http://www.hfrp.org/
- National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE) http://www.ncpie.org/
- National Network of Partnership Schools http://www.csos.jhu.edu/P2000/index.htm
As you also know, you can contact any of our Outreach Parent Liaisons that are located throughout the state to work with you to take your partnership to the next level. Please visit our website (www.wpen.net) to see who your OPL is and how to contact them. If all else fails, give us a call here in the Buffalo office and we’ll make sure you get the information you need! Now go on out there and build a partnership!