School boards play an essential role when it comes to effectively engaging family and community partners with schools to address student learning and development. School boards set the tone for a welcoming environment at the district and building levels through both policy setting and personnel selection as well as through their actions. School boards encourage active participation by welcoming public comment at meetings, holdings meetings throughout the district and operating transparently, and continually welcoming parent and community partners to problem solving forum and celebrations.
School board policies that encourage family engagement with learning are required by the federal government in schools that utilize Title I funds. Family engagement, parent organizations and volunteer policies among others, as well as approval processes involving curricula, books and high school academic scheduling can serve as opportunities to invite active family involvement with their child’s learning and in the school community.
The board’s selection of a superintendent is critical. This district leader establishes the expectation for partnerships with family and community representatives with the principals and other staff. The superintendent does so through modeling, coaching and holding staff accountable for those expectations.
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association includes the following as an important element of preparing students for academic success:
Outreach to and partnerships with parents must become standard components to improvement efforts in underperforming schools.
Raising Achievement in Underperforming Schools, October 2011, p.3. The Education Research & Policy Center, PSBA.