What Schools Want Parents to Know (page 3)

— The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement
Updated on Jul 9, 2010

It’s About the Children

High-performing schools are student centered. Staff who work in these schools set aside their differences to concentrate on the needs of students. The same should be true of parent-school relationships. In schools with strong parent-family relations, the staff “recognize and act on the belief that parents want what’s best for their children” (Pritchard Committee for Academic Excellence, 2001, p. 8), and parents maintain a high degree of trust that teachers are doing all they can to promote student achievement. Both partners develop strong communication skills, stay flexible, and look for ways to make things work.


Parents can make a significant contribution to their child’s education in a number of ways. As teachers, they can provide a home setting that promotes and reinforces what is taught at school. As supporters, they can contribute knowledge and skills, enrich the instructional program, or provide additional resources. As advocates, parents can help children make their way through the school system and help the system be more responsive to all families. And as decisions makers, they can work with the school in solving joint problems (Henderson & Berla, 1994). Schools welcome parents in all of these capacities and know that their active involvement contributes significantly to the achievement of their students.


Henderson, A. T., & Berla, N. (Eds.). (1994). A new generation of evidence: The family is critical to student achievement. Columbia, MD: National Committee for Citizens in Education. (ERIC Document No. ED375968) Retrieved September 15, 2006, from

Henderson, A. T., & Mapp, K. L. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. Austin, TX: National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Retrieved September 15, 2006, from

Moore, D. R. (1998). What makes these schools stand out: Chicago elementary schools with a seven-year trend of improved reading achievement. Chicago: Designs for Change. Retrieved September 15, 2006, from

National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2002). Building parent-teacher partnerships. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved September 15, 2006, from

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-110, Sect. 9101(32), 115 Stat. 1425 (2002). Retrieved September 15, 2006, from

Pritchard Committee for Academic Excellence. (2001, Fall). Parent/family involvement survey report. Lexington, KY: Author. Retrieved September 15, 2006, from

Reynolds, A. J., Mavrogenes, N. A., Hagemann, M., & Bezruczko, N. (1993). Schools, families and children: Sixth year results from the longitudinal study of children at risk. Chicago: Chicago Public Schools Department of Research, Evaluation and Planning (ERIC Document No. ED362307). Retrieved September 15, 2006, from

Steinberg, L. (1997). Beyond the classroom: Why school reform has failed and what parents need to do. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Sanders, M. G., Epstein, J. L., & Connors-Tadros, L. (1999). Family partnerships with high schools: The parents’ perspective (Report No. 32). Baltimore: Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk. (ERIC Document No. ED428148). Retrieved September 15, 2006, from

U.S. Department of Education. (2004). Parental involvement: Title I, part A: Non-regulatory guidance. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved September 15, 2006, from

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