ERG SES G 09, Leadership and Education
In the last two decades, school, community, and family relations have evolved from traditional model of provider-receiver to model of partnership and collaboration, and this purposeful transition is much stressed in education reform efforts (Stein, 2009). In addition, there seems to be a growing interest in the extant literature about the importance of partnership and collaboration of schools, community, and families (Gestwicki, 2015; Sanders, 2008; Williems & Gonzalez-DeHass, 2012). Local businesses, universities, national franchises, police and fire departments, volunteer organizations, libraries, museums, and zoos are listed in relation to the possible community partners of schools (Sanders, 2006). According to the theory of overlapping spheres of influence (Epstein, 1995), cooperative effort and support among school, family, and community are very influential for students’ success (Epstein, 1995). Hence, the partnership of these three major institutions may make a substantial difference for school improvement with a better socialization and education process (Sanders, & Harvey, 2002) by extending the classroom curriculum to the outside of the school (Ferreira, 2001). According to Williems & Gonzalez-DeHass (2012), school-community partnerships may also help students’ meaningful learning process by providing more authentic instruction, problem-based learning environment, and service learning. Regarding the importance of the partnerships of three institutions, school administrations can carry out critical roles for the establishment of the partnership because Moris and Vrabel (2001) emphasized that principals must take the lead in establishing good public relations with the community. Also, the arguments of principals about which principals are often indirectly held accountable to the retention of quality teachers and the welfare of the school community (Preston, Jakubiec, & Kooymans, 2013) support the fact that an immediate three-way communication (school, family, and community) should be established in order to respond to the shifting attitudes and demands from the public. In this research study, we sought to understand 1) what school principals were doing for the establishment of the partnerships among their school, community, and the families, and 2) how policy documents addressed these issues, and supported principals for better school community relations. While exploring these matters through document analysis and in-depth interviews, we also documented the comparison of two different national contexts, the United States and Turkey, in terms of their varying policy documents and applications at school settings. It is also critical to note that comparative approach in education gains significance not just for education researchers but also for politicians since “politicians are seeing for “international educational indicators”, in order to build educational plans that are legitimized by a kind of “comparative global enterprise” (No´voa & Yariv-Mashal, 2003). Considering the emphasis of the European Commission about the policy dialogue with specific countries around the world for the sake of exchanging best practices (European Commission, 2015), this study serves as a collaborative and cooperative research with a country (the United States) outside of the EU area.
Joy Epstein’s popular theory of overlapping spheres of influence explains the interdependency of school, family, and community in terms of achieving educational goals. In relation to the shared responsibility of these stakes, she offers a framework describing 6 types of involvement and partnership practices (parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision-making, collaborating with the community) for school, family and community (Epstein, 1995). This framework gives us a road map in order to better assess practices of school, community, and family relations.
Bearing all these in mind, exploration of how two national contexts differenciate may provide implications for practitioners, and policy-makers.
1. How do education policies encourage school leaders for school-community relations?
2. How do the school leaders interpret government policies regarding school-community relations?
Epstein, J. L. (1995). School/family/community partnerships: Caring for the children we share. Phi delta kappan, 76(9), 701. Ferreira, M. (2001). Building communities through role models, mentors, and hands-on science. School Community Journal, 11(2), 27–38. European Commission (2015) Education and training. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/international-cooperation/world-policy- dialogue_en.htm Gestwicki, C. (2015). Home, school, and community relations (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning. Hoepfl, M. C. (1997). Choosing qualitative research: A primer for technology education researchers. Journal Of Technology Education, 9(1), 47-63. MEB. (2009). Basic Law of National Education. Retrieved from http://mevzuat.meb.gov.tr/html/temkanun_0/temelkanun_0.html Morris, R., & Vrabel, G. (1979). The Role of the Principal in Public Relations. Theory Into Practice, 18(1), 50-52. No´ Voa, A. N., & Yariv-Mashal, T. (2003). Comparative research in education: A mode of governance or a historical journey? Comparative education, 39(4), 423-438. Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA). Retrieved from https://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/gacode/ Pawlas, G. E. (2013). The administrator's guide to school-community relations. New York, NY: Routledge. Preston, J. P., Jakubiec, B. A. E., & Kooymans, R. (2013). Common challenges faced by rural principals: A review of the literature. Rural Educator, 35(1), 1-12. Sanders, M. G. (2006). Missteps in Team Leadership The Experiences of Six Novice Teachers in Three Urban Middle Schools. Urban Education, 41(3), 277-304. Sanders, M. G. (2008). Using diverse data to develop and sustain school, family, and community partnerships. Educational Management Administration Leadership, 36(4), 530–545. Sanders, M., & Harvey, A. (2002). Beyond the School Walls: A Case Study of Principal Leadership for School-Community Collaboration. The Teachers College Record, 104(7), 1345-1368. Stein, L. B. (2009). The influence of parent and community involvement on local school councils in Massachusetts. Open Access Dissertations. Willems, P. P., & Gonzalez-DeHass, A. R. (2012). School-Community Partnerships: Using Authentic Contexts to Academically Motivate Students. School Community Journal, 22(2), 9-30.
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