Featured Article

Examining family-school partnerships

Effective family-school partnerships are a key way in which teachers and caregivers collaborate to address children's needs and promote positive academic, behavioral, social and emotional outcomes.

By Michael J. Coutts, Shannon R. Holmes, Sonya A. Bhatia, and Amanda L. Moen

This article identifies family-school partnerships as a distinct form of family involvement in which teachers and caregivers collaborate to address children's needs. From an ecological perspective, the authors propose some defining features of family-school partnerships. These include collaboration on child-focused goals, shared responsibility and decision making, inclusion of all pertinent parties, building strengths and promoting skills, and an emphasis on continuity across systems (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001; Clarke et al., 2010; Crosnoe et al., 2010; Daniel, 2011; Garbacz et al., 2008; Jones, 2010; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 2008). Current research is described, which indicates that family-school partnerships have a significant effect on children's academic, behavioral, social and emotional outcomes. Practice implications, the need for consensus regarding the features of family-school partnerships, and the importance of developing consistent methods for measuring the effectiveness of family-school partnerships is addressed. Limitations to current research and suggestions for future research are also presented.