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Family Engagement in Secondary Schools: Building Teacher and Family Efficacy (Australian Paper

An investigation of the programs and strategies to develop the capacity and outcomes of students through engaging with families - USA

by John O'Meara, Principal of Yea High School, Victoria, Australia - 2007-08 ASPA / MSP Travelling Fellow

John was awarded the 2007 ASPA / MSP Award for his submission on this topic. He delivered a concurrent workshop session at the recent 2008 ASPA Conference in Perth, and he has produced this paper for ASPA members.

The paper begins:

"The more educators engage families in the academic lives of their children, the more likely our students will perform at higher levels. For this project a three tier (Contact/Inclusion/Action) model of family engagement is used as a way to investigate the operation of family engagement practices in the identified schools and districts in the USA.

"The project offers a model for secondary schools to use to tackle the issue of successfully engaging families in their child’s education. In addition, the project identified a number of strategies to assist secondary schools in their development of a comprehensive strategy to engage all families. Critical elements of the Contact/Inclusion/Action model are:

  • Provision of a welcoming and family friendly environment;
  • Building relationships with families;
  • Shape attitudes and develop shared understandings;
  • Create trust; and
  • Work in close partnership."

The investigation program was completed in 26 days between April 12th and May 8th 2008 across five states in the USA. It included:

  • 30 documented visits, activities and meetings;
  • 1 international conference;
  • Shadowing two high school principals in their daily roles;
  • Meetings and contacts with leaders and educational representatives from 5 school districts; and
  • Consultations with representatives of the Big Picture Company, Family Friendly Schools, National Network of Partnership Schools and Northern Illinois University.

Click here to download the complete paper (895Kb pdf file).

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