- Building Relationships
- Linking to Learning
- Addressing Differences
- Supporting Advocacy and
- Sharing Power
The Come-if-We-Call School
The Fortress School
By its very nature, a fortress is most difficult to access. There's a whole community up there behind those walls, but unless you work here, or go to school here, you are not welcome - and you will be seldom invited in. The school thinks that if students don't do well here, it's because their families aren't giving them enough support - because the school is already doing all it can. The principal will select a few "cooperative parents" to help out at times. And families are afraid to complain fearing reprisals on their child.
A key to understanding partnership, is to see it along a continuum. Some schools may be Open Door Schools, yet still have some Fortress classrooms. How will you ensure your school's culture is open to embracing true partnership with families and the community?
As a first step, take a welcoming walk-through of your building with an eye for any unintentional barriers; consider how you will engage your families in that process. And then, once you identify barriers, what's your process for removing them?
In education, what will be effective depends on your goal and how it's measured. Schools cannot do this work alone - it's a shared responsibility of schools, families, and communities to ensure all students succeed. This means looking beyond parent volunteer and fundraising stereotypes to build inclusive and effective partnerships for student success.