Family-School Communication Study

Click on the links below to view or download the full report:

Background

“The key to sustaining education change…is through empowering parents to be advocates of their children; the stake parents have in their children’s school success is a powerful change force when parent involvement is an integral aspect of school change.”

Norris Haynes and Michael Ben-Avie, “Parents as Full Partners in Education”

Our Family-School Partnership Implementation Team is committed to finding ways to give all Winooski and Burlington families an authentic voice in their children’s education. A major part of this work is to ensure effective communication between families and schools in our communities. As outlined in their work plan, the Family-School Partnership I-Team is responsible for:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the current family-school communication system
  • Researching best practice and developing communication standards to reach all families
  • Recommending to the school districts steps toward improved family-school communication

Process

The Family-School Partnership I-Team believed that the first step toward improving family-school communication was to understand the existing systems and practices. With this in mind, they commissioned a study of family-school communication in the Winooski and Burlington communities. In May 2013, the team created a Request for Proposals (RFP) and solicited bids from 4 research firms. A collaborative workgroup of parents, community partners, and educators then reviewed these proposals and chose to move forward with Youth Catalytics, a Vermont-based organization that works to improve youth services in communities across the United States.

Youth Catalytics designed a research study to evaluate the effectiveness of district communication strategies and to make recommendations for improving communication so that all parents and guardians can be fully engaged in their children’s education. They collected information in three ways:

  • Phone and personal interviews with randomly selected parents and guardians
  • Focus groups attended by parents/guardians and students
  • Interviews with multilingual liaisons

Data from the two communities was analyzed separately and presented in two different reports, one for Winooski and one for Burlington. You can learn more about how information was gathered, as well as the results of the survey, in the full reports at top of this page.

Next Steps

In the coming months, the Family-School Partnership I-Team will use these studies to develop their own recommendations for improved family-school communication in our communities. If you would like to take part in these conversations, come to our next Implementation Team meeting on Thursday, November 21 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at Winooski Middle/High School. If you can’t make the November meeting, join us the following month on Thursday, December 12 from 6:00-7:30 pm at Burlington High School. See our Event Calendar for details.

The full citation for the above quotation is:
Haynes, N. and Ben-Avie, M. “Parents as Full Partners in Education: The Case for Parental Involvement: Multiple Outcomes.” Family-School Links: How Do They Affect Educational Outcomes? Ed. Alan Booth and Judy Dunn. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers, 1996. 45-64. Print.