How Does Educational Leadership Help Strengthen Parent and Family Partnerships?

Tanika Johnson
Tanika Johnson
Licensed Therapist and Education Consultant, Ed.D. in Administrative Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction Concentration from Carson-Newman University
A young couple meets with the principal at school, all smiling.

Educational leaders are vital to the overall philosophy and integrity of schoolwide culture. They are the bedrock on which professional learning communities grow and perform (Krijnen, van Steensel, Meeuwisse, & Severiens, 2022). With impactful educational leadership, schools develop into student-driven incubators of learning and education zones for empowerment and encouragement. Positive school leadership strengthens parent and family partnerships, school-wide goals, and student learning outcomes.

Reciprocal Parent, Family, and School Partnerships

When educational leaders prioritize inclusive and culturally responsive school environments, parents and families develop a sense of community, transparency, and mutual trust among the faculty and staff. As a result of an inclusive and culturally responsive foundation, the following climate emerges:

  • The motivation and innovation of faculty and staff to embrace shared strategies to excel
  • Increased student engagement and motivation to achieve higher standards of learning
  • Supportive parents and families instill trust in the school’s mission and vision

Integrating parent and family engagement in school-wide compacts, policies, and procedures can elevate student performance and academic growth.

Parents and families are:

  • Mutual supporters of student learning
  • Influencers of grit and self-determination
  • Role models of lifelong learning journeys
  • Advocates of their children’s and adolescent’s academic competencies and efficacy for learning

Bridge Building Among Parents, Families, and Schools

Parent, family, and school ties significantly contribute to successful educational leadership, exceptional faculty, community and stakeholder engagement, learner-centered classroom environments, and contributory instructional guidance for staff. The true essence of bridge building is identifying the ever-changing needs of parents and families and promoting child-rearing in communities that advance every learner’s health, safety, and learning (Hine, 2022).

Bridge building includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Joint accountability and decision-making of the school, community, parents, and families
  • Stakeholder awareness of each member’s various interests, heritages, cultures, and academic levels
  • Conflict resolution strategies that involve equitable processes for mediation, negotiation, and compromise

An all-encompassing and inclusive partnership comprises parent education, family empowerment and support, public service, effective communication, equal decision-making power, and home-school strategies for student learning.

Schools that nurture parent and family-oriented environments and family partnerships create the following:

  • Parent, family, school events, and social activities
  • Parent and family education centers and literacy programs
  • Community engagement and parent and family-driven after-school programs
  • Linkage of parent and family to community mental health, healthcare, and social services (Hine, 2022).

Levels of Parent, Family, and School Partnerships

At the core of parent, family, and school partnerships are parenting practices, communication styles, public service and servitude, home learning environments, key decision-making, and community collaboration. Home learning environments enhance the following:

  • Supportive and optimistic attitudes toward student learning and educational leaders, faculty, and staff
  • Responsive learning tools differentiated for every learners’ needs and interests
  • Accountability of homework assignments and classroom activities and projects
  • Collaborative conversations for accelerating academic growth and student achievement

Action-Oriented School Climates and Parent and Family Engagement

Educational leaders, faculty, and staff prioritize parents and families with action-oriented school climates. As it relates to accountability and shared decision-making, parents, families, and schools can commit to the following action steps.

Communication Channels for Positive Partnerships

Educational leaders, faculty, and staff must consider value-added partnerships with parents and families. Each parent’s and family’s remarkable talents, skill sets, and resources can be exceedingly helpful for organizing, planning, and executing their child’s education program.

In the facilitation of positive partnerships, educational leaders, faculty, and staff should embrace multiple communication channels:

  1. Email
  2. Phone calls
  3. Text messages
  4. Print materials
  5. ClassDojo
  6. Remind Hub
  7. Surveys
  8. Interviews
  9. Focus groups
  10. Parent and family rooms
  11. Parent-education workshops
  12. Parent and family support groups
  13. Informal parent and family meetups
  14. Pre-parent and teacher conference planning
  15. Parent-teacher conferences

When educational leaders, parents, and families band together, there becomes a greater appreciation and respect for responsive school climates, warm and inviting classroom environments, daily learning opportunities, and parent-child conversations.

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Krijnen, E., van Steensel, R., Meeuwisse, M., & Severiens, S. (2022). Aiming for Educational Partnership between Parents and Professionals: Shared Vision Development in a Professional Learning Community. School Community Journal, 32(1), 265-300.
Hine, M. G. (2022). Words Matter: Differences in Informative and Negative School Communication in Engaging Families. School Community Journal, 32(1), 157-186.
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