Book Reviews

School, Family and Community Partnerships

by Joyce Epstein, et. al.

Reviewed by Marc Space
Superintendent, Taos Public Schools, Taos, N.M.

Some texts, by their very structure, invite the reader to flip back and forth between chapters rather than read in published order. School, Family and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action is that type.

Authors Joyce L. Epstein, Mavis G. Sanders, Beth S. Simon, Karen Clark Salinas, Natalie Rodriguez Johnson and Frances L. Van Voorhis, all affiliated with the National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University, have provided a template for school administrators. They offer realistic approaches for involving communities and families in the educational process, providing in many cases tangible results of success.

The text describes several models used by school districts to encourage such involvement. Especially well done were the descriptions of the state’s innovative role in parent and community involvement in Connecticut, Ohio and Wisconsin.

I also appreciated the section on involving parents at the secondary level. Experienced administrators know how difficult it is to substantially engage parents in their teen-agers’ education. The authors identify several replicable techniques.

The authors describe qualitative and quantitative results from some practices, notably gains in student achievement.

This is neither scholarly research nor an educational treatise but rather a programmatic, hands-on resource providing realistic strategies.

(School, Family and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action, by Joyce Epstein, et. al., Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2002, 380 pp. with index, $36.95 softcover)