and Community Involvement in Your School
Family and community involvement is an important aspect of
a health education program. Research is clear on the benefits
of strong home and school relations. Not only do students
achieve more academically when families and community members
are involved, but the involved adults also report more positive
feelings toward the school.
Types of Family and Community Involvement
Parenting. Offering workshops on home management,
child rearing, communication, social services, and other issues
benefit families. These services increase parents' self-confidence,
provide them with information, and assist them in establishing
home conditions that foster learning.
Communicating. Effective communication assists
families in understanding school programs and policies, helps
in their interaction with teachers, and enables them to monitor
their children's progress. Communication includes newsletters,
report cards, parent/teacher conferences, and home-and-school
nights. School staff must be sensitive to the different family
cultures and be prepared to communicate by using appropriate
language and activities.
Home learning. Home learning involves providing
families with educational activities to do at home with their
children. These activities allow families to act as partners
with teachers and actively participate in their children's
Parent Representation. Parents and other
community members can serve on community advisory committees.
Such committees may have a voice in school policies, curricula,
and budgets. School health advisory committees focus specifically
on coordinating efforts for a comprehensive school health
program. Family representatives develop increased feelings
of control over their children's environment and greater confidence
in their ability to affect change.
Improving Your School's Family and
Community Involvement Program
The first step in improving your school's program is to assess
current family and community efforts. What is working well?
Where are the gaps? How do staff members feel about the current
level of family and community involvement?
Based on your findings, introduce activities over the next
few years. Send a letter home explaining the role of the family
in teaching health and other topics. Remember to develop activities
for both home and school that take into account the many demands
family members face. Following are some additional ideas for
improving parent involvement at your school.
Making Home-and-School Nights Work
Tips for Involving Families in the Classroom
- Provide food.
- Offer both a day and an evening meeting time.
- Have a student performance.
- Include parents in the planning process.
- Phone/e-mail families prior to the meeting.
- Combine home-and-school night with parent conferences.
- Solicit help from your PTA or home-school club.
- Write invitations in languages family members can read.
- Send out flyers through several organizations, such as
- Offer a raffle prize.
- Bring in a well-respected community speaker.
Tips for Enhancing Home-and-School Cooperation
- Use the talents of family members (e.g., nurse, carpenter,
artist) at the school.
- Encourage students to bring in family artifacts, pictures,
- Invite family members to share information about their
- Ask family members to tutor students.
- Ask for specific help (e.g., one field trip or party)
rather than a long commitment.
- Ask family and community members to translate materials
or interpret for others.
- Keep families informed (newsletters, bulletins, e-mails).
- Let students make invitations to events.
- Provide a preview time for parents and other community
members to become acquainted with new materials.
- Ask for help on a personal contact level.
- Consider creating a position for home/community liaison.
- Establish an advisory committee with representatives from
- Offer workshops that parents and other community members
- Offer your school as a community center.
- Be sure family and community members have a meaningful
role in decision making.