School, Family, and Community Partnerships

Preparing Educators and Improving Schools


Joyce L. Epstein

Second Edition • November 1, 2010 • 656 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813344478 • $59.00 USD$56.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813391861 • $36.99 USD$42.99 CAN

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How can teachers and administrators be prepared to create partnerships with families and communities? Nationwide, rhetoric in favor of parent involvement is high, but the quality of most programs still is low. Part of the problem is that most teacher education, administrative training, and other education of school professionals omit topics of school, family, and community partnerships. Instead, educators are prepared in limited ways to deal with parents when problems occur.

Well-known and respected author Joyce Epstein updates her acclaimed School, Family, and Community Partnerships to reflect the past ten years of study and advancements. New readings address this growing field and offer expanded consideration of district leadership and its impact on school programs. Epstein contends it is now possible to prepare teachers and administrators with a solid base of knowledge on partnerships. Theoretical perspectives and results from research and development can and should be shared with educators. As partners, parents and teachers share responsibility for the education and development of their children. Common messages and collaborative activities of home and school help to promote student success, prevent problems, and solve those that arise. Epstein provides the material needed to help current educators and educators in training think about, talk about, and then act to develop comprehensive programs of school, family, and community partnerships.

This collection is designed for use in courses of teacher education, preparation of school administrators, and other courses that prepare professionals to understand and to work in schools and with families and students. It is a definitive resource both in and out of the classroom with comments, discussion questions, activities, and field experiences in each of the chapters.


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Joyce L. Epstein is director of the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships and National Network of Partnership Schools, principal research scientist at the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk, and research professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of more than 100 publications on the nature and effects of family involvement.

Part One. Understanding School, Family, and Community Partnerships
1. Introduction
2. Theory and Overview
3. Research

Part Two. Applying Research on School, Family, and Community Partnerships
4. Policy Implications
5. Framework for Developing Comprehensive Partnership Programs
6. Practical Applications: Linking Family and Community Involvement to Student Learning
7. Strategies for Action in Practice, Policy, and Research

“Education reforms come and go, but the need to connect families, communities, and schools in productive ways is an enduring challenge. This text is an invaluable resource for educators, researchers, and policymakers who care about creating schools that authentically engage families and communities. By pulling together several decades of sustained, high quality research in one volume, Epstein offers persuasive analytic perspectives and presents a clear evidence base for her ideas and suggestions. This book should be required reading in any course on school improvement or school leadership, and for anyone seeking to look beyond quick fixes towards more durable supports for student learning. Epstein’s open, invitational, empowering approach to family and community engagement is much needed in an era when educators are distracted by the pressures of high-stakes testing and accountability. Epstein is correct: teachers and administrators are not well prepared to advocate for stronger forms of parent and community involvement in schooling. Recent federal policy initiatives underscore the importance of strengthening linkages among schools, families, and communities, and this text will help prepare educators and others for this important work.” —Carolyn Riehl, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University

Praise for the first edition:

“Provides a firm foundation for the challenge inherent in implementing the complex process of school, family, and community interaction.” — Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk

“Offers educators a framework for thinking about, talking about, and actually building comprehensive programs for school and family partnerships.” — Hispanic Outlook

“The strengths of this book are: 1) its extensive research on parents and their perceptions of school involvement; teacher perception and understanding of parent involvement; and students’ thinking about family involvement, 2) its combination of research and application, and policy initiatives in one text, 3) the clear, matter-of-fact writing style, which draws the reader into the work, and 4) the detailed history of the theories and practices of the family-school relationship in children’s learning.” — Teachers College Record

“Well-organized and contains activities based on theory and research that all school leaders can really put into practice.” — NASSP Bulletin

“Epstein has her hand on one of the most crucial levers for improving our educational system. The definitive sourcebook for teachers and scholars.” — Kevin Ryan, Boston University

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