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Making Connections

“There are many reasons for developing school, family, and community partnerships. They can improve school programs and school climate, provide family services and support, increase parents' skills and leadership, connect families with others in the school and in the community, and help teachers with their work. However, the main reason to create such partnerships is to help all youngsters succeed in school and in later life. When parents, teachers, students, and others view one another as partners in education, a caring community forms around students and begins its work.”

—Joyce Epstein, Principle Research Scientist, Johns Hopkins University

Many families and communities are reaching in to schools and finding ways to help address educational challenges, including closing the achievement gap. At the same time, many schools are finding ways to reach out to their communities and families for assistance.

But sometimes, there are obstacles to getting involved, even when the desire is there. Potential partners from the business community may not know where to begin, particularly if they are unfamiliar with the school system. Individuals with valuable skills may feel awkward volunteering if they don't have children in school. Parents and other family members may feel overwhelmed or under prepared. Additionally, the logistics of forming community partnerships may not be clearly understood at the school site.

The resources in this section provide information about partnering with schools for families, faith based institutions, business, community-based organizations, government agencies, institutions of higher education, and youth service organizations. All kinds of people and organizations can make a valuable difference in student achievement. These resources and examples of success help guide and illustrate ways in which people from diverse backgrounds and experiences can work together on a common goal—strengthening student achievement.

If you are aware of successful family-school-community partnerships that are working to close the achievement gap, please e-mail the name of the school and other pertinent information to  partnerships@cde.ca.gov.