In most cases, students have limited connections with parents and teachers, especially when they reach adolescence. During this phase, learners tend to repel against established standards; thus, they need proper engagement to develop strong relationships with their surroundings. Dr. Joyce Epstein formulated a six-type program to facilitate the involvement of families, schools, and the community to ensure middle and high school students achieve higher performance. Based on Epstein’s framework, it is easier for the parties involved to establish an effective partnership that influences successful learning outcomes in the school.
Type One – Parenting
The parenting program involves parents understanding teenagers, enhancing adolescent nurturing skills, and setting conducive home environments to support their learning. Another undertaking in this approach is organizing workshops for teachers to attain the necessary knowledge to understand every child’s background, goals, and culture since they may differ (Epstein, 2018). It strengthens the responsibilities that parents and instructors have in developing learning in students. However, the main challenge associated with parenting is that most parents who wish to attend school workshops may not be able to do so, thus lacking the vital information that may have been given to others.
Type Two – Communication
The communication approach involves activities that enable ease of two-way communication from school to home and vice versa. This includes communication media such as emails, newsletters, phones, notices, memos, online student portals, report cards, and social media, thus allowing parents to track students’ progress and other school programs (Ihmeideh et al., 2020). One major challenge that faces this approach is unclear communication and lack of understanding because schools may not consider those people who do not know how to read and speak English.
Type Three – Volunteering
The volunteering perspective involves activities such as organizing and recruiting new individuals to provide support and help to parents. Some of the practices under this approach include managing classroom programs to help guardians, educators, and administrators in identifying available talents through annual postcards. One major challenge this technique has is that the developers might fail to recruit volunteers from all families; hence, talented children may not be recognized. Some programs may not be flexible enough and lack training for helpers, hence limiting their participation.
Type Four – Learning at Home
The learning-at-home program is concerned with how families help children at home with curriculum activities, homework, and other tasks, including planning and decision-making. It involves monitoring schoolwork, information on required skills for teenagers in all subjects, student and parent calendars of activities away from school, and informing guardians on how to enhance skills. The shortcoming includes difficulties in designing a regular schedule allowing students to discuss learning issues with their parents and linking homework tasks in case they have several tutors.
Type Five – Decision Making
The decision-making is where parents are included in school decisions and encouraged leadership by choosing their representative. It involves activities such as motivating an active committee that improve their participation and creating advocacy groups that inspire student improvement. The issues arising from type five are the difficulty in involving students in significant school decision makings and the high cost of training to enhance servicing of family representatives.
Type Six – Collaborating with the Community
The collaboration entails identifying essential services and resources existing in a society that can strengthen student learning, school programs, family practices, and development. This would result in students’ enhanced skills and family interactions during community meetings (Thomas et al., 2019). The challenges include the difficulty in collaboration of parents and teachers outside the school, assisting adolescents in understanding the community, and the activities that they participate in to enhance their learning experiences.
Based on Epstein’s framework, the six types of involvement are essential in enhancing the relationship between schools, families and communities. The connection enables students to freely share their concerns with parents and teachers without fear. Even though implementing the approach seems easier, a number of challenges hinder their efficiency. Therefore, it is necessary for all the parties to formulate effective ways of enacting the programs to gain from techniques.
Epstein, J. (2018). School, family, and community Partnerships: Your Handbook for action (4th ed.). Corwin Press.
Ihmeideh, F., AlFlasi, M., Al-Maadadi, F., Coughlin, C., & Al-Thani, T. (2020). Perspectives of family–school relationships in Qatar based on Epstein’s model of six types of parent involvement. Early Years, 40(2), 188-204.
Thomas, V., De Backer, F., Peeters, J., & Lombaerts, K. (2019). Parental involvement and adolescent school achievement: The mediational role of self-regulated learning. Learning Environments Research, 22(3), 345-363.