The Australian Government’s Family-School Partnerships Framework identifies seven dimensions as guidelines for planning partnership activities, with each dimension described in some detail.
- connecting learning at home and at school;
- building community and identity;
- recognising the role of the family;
- consultative decision-making;
- collaborating beyond the school; and
My book Creative Ways Of Communicating With Parents On The Web imagines these dimensions within the context of a digital age in which schools and homes face unprecedented technological change. The family-school relationship is, therefore, needed like never before in preparing children for a future which teachers and parents face with a sense of uncertainty. What skills are needed for the future to have a happy life and a decent income?
In this sample first chapter “Family – School Interactions”, I address what it means if school leaders use digital technologies to maximise access and interactions with existing school plans and key policy documents for parents. Rather than viewing these formal documents as dead attachments on school websites, I explore content strategies to bring them alive.
I base this view on three sources of research: two published by the Australian Council of Education Research in 2008 and 2010 by authors Mal Lee, Glen Finger and Michael Gaffney on the networked school community and the digital school and one published in 2015 by the University of South Australia around the work of its Wellbeing Research Group within the Centre for Research in Education. The former sources show the importance of school leaders sticking to their strategic plans in order to manage the complexity of digital technologies together with their relationships with parents: the latter source shows the importance of a holistic view in order to arrive at a framework for evaluating school websites.
Above all, the blending of hard evidence with imaginative ways of creating content on school websites to support family-school relationships rests on the proven research which shows that
…effective schools have high levels of parental and community involvement. This involvement is strongly related to improved student learning, attendance and behaviour. Family involvement can have a major impact on student learning, regardless of the social or cultural background of the family. Family involvement in schools is therefore central to high quality education and is part of the core business of schools.
Dr Josey De Rossi