Family-School Collaboration
into PBS
2009 National PBIS Leadership Forum:
Implementing a Continuum of
Effective Systems & Practices
Debby Boyer and Kathleen Minke
University of Delaware, Center for Disability Studies
Family-School Relationships
• Families have a profound impact
on academic, social, and
emotional development of their
children (Parke & Buriel, 2006).
• Positive school-home relations are
an important characteristic of
effective schools; instrumental in
comprehensive school reform
efforts (e.g., Comer, Haynes, Joyner, & Ben-Avie,
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Family-School Relationships
• There is increasing evidence of a
CAUSAL relationship between parents’
participation and achievement
• Parents’ efforts increase child
engagement in academics that, in turn,
leads to improved achievement
Minke & Boyer, 2009
PBS Training in Delaware
Targeted Team
Developing Self-Discipline in the Classroom
Family-School Collaboration
Creative Response to Conflict: Bias Awareness
School-wide Team Training
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Family Collaboration at all Levels
Problem solving
Family-School Conferences
Family participation in planning,
implementing, and evaluating Schoolwide program
Information sharing to and from families
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Overview of Skills/Strategies
The CORE Model of Collaboration
Ecosystemic approach
CORE Model
7 Communication Strategies
Proactive outreach strategies
Conferences and Problem-solving Meetings
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Overview of Skills/Strategies
The CORE Model of Collaboration
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Thinking Differently
• Systems Theory/Principles
o Wholeness
 Each member affects, and is affected by, every other
 When a member is added, subtracted or changes behavior in
some way, the entire system must reorganize to
accommodate the change.
 System as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts
Patterns of Interaction
 Behavior occurs in circular patterns with each person
 Circularity = Repetitive cycles in which the same outcomes
occur repeatedly a to b to c to a
 Punctuation = View of reality reflected by arbitrary starting
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Behavior Problem from a Systemic View
A to B to C to D to A
Teacher criticizes
Child misbehaves
in class
Child complains
about teacher to
Parent criticizes
Minke & Boyer, 2009
CORE Model:
Talking Differently
7 Communication Strategies
Attend to non-verbal communication
Listen to understand: reflecting and
Model the collaborative role: avoid labeling,
jargon and advice giving!
Search for strengths
Delivering/Receiving negative information
Blocking blame
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Behaving Differently
• Proactive Outreach Strategies
• Conferences and Problemsolving Meetings
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Proactive Strategies:
The School-wide Team
• Family members as participants?
• School climate data from families?
• Input from families in planning,
implementing, and evaluating the schoolwide discipline plan?
• Sharing information about the program with
all families?
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Proactive Strategies:
The Physical Plant
How welcoming to families does the
school appear?
Are visitors a priority?
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Proactive Strategies:
Written Communications
• Forms and policies
• Personal communications
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Written Communications:
Forms, Policies and General
• What reading level is required to interpret the
• Is there jargon that can be removed or better
• How do we ensure that families with limited written
English literacy have access to this information?
• To what extant do these documents encourage:
• Parental choices and options (indent)
• Two-way communication
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Written Communications:
• “Good news” notes are usually
welcome and helpful.
• Avoid using notes home or emails to
communicate about problems.
• Communicate about concerns early and
• Concentrate on your main goals.
• Consult with others when needed.
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Proactive Strategies:
Activities at School
• Examine Current Activities for
Opportunities for Relationshipbuilding
• Needs Assessment/Evaluation
• Build in Options
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Behaving Differently:
Routing Conferences and
Problem-Solving Meetings
• Two types of conferences are
o Routine
o Problem-solving
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Conferences and Meetings
• 5 ways family-school conferences
are different
All parties prepare in advance
Students are active participants
Educator concentrates on receiving rather
than giving information.
o Educator acknowledges, expands and
underscores the strengths of the family.
o The conference is a “conversation.” At no
time is the educator the “presenter.”
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Conferences and Meetings
• Outcome goals
o A plan
is developed collaboratively for
supporting the student’s continued
success, including plans to remediate
identified difficulties
o All participants leave feeling hopeful
about their participation and future
o Students leave feeling greater
ownership of their own learning
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Conferences and Meetings
• Process goals
o Each
participant has ample time to
share thoughts in the conference
o Shared expectations for the child are
developed by the group
o Each participant is both a teacher and
a learner
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Traditional Conferences
“…it’s just you start at 8 in the morning,
and that’s where you stay, parked at your
table, just pulling folders and papers and
talking, and then that person leaves,
pulling folders, papers again. So it’s like
being a mannequin or a robot, I guess...I’m
lucky if I can talk after the second day. It’s
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Family-School Conference
“My students were active participants in
the conferences. I solicited information
from parents prior to the meeting. All
parents attended. About 95% of the
students attended the conference with
their parents. I plan on doing this again
with every family in the spring!”
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Family-School Conference
“I felt more relaxed . . .I felt less like [my
son’s] defender . . . and I felt [the
teacher] was less defensive. I thought
she was more open . . . I don’t know if it
was her tone or her mannerism or her
body language . . . it just felt less like
something you want to go smoke a
cigarette after.”
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Professional Development
Evaluation Data
• Does participation in collaboration
training have a positive effect on
o Beliefs about parent involvement
o Practices (e.g., number and type of contact
with families)
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Reflections Activities
Systems Principles
CORE Elements and Beliefs
Communication Strategies
The School-wide Team and Families
Physical Plant
Written Communications
Relationship-building opportunities
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Reflections Data
• Most frequent positive comments concerned
communication strategies
Increased positive contacts
More attention to wording of notes home
Increased effort to translate documents and positive
Greater attention to seeking information and limiting
advice giving
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Reflections Data
• Meeting changes were discussed frequently
 Avoiding jargon
 Avoiding advice
 Listening more carefully
 Including positive information
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Reflections Data
• Innovative strategies
Welcome back activity for “frequent flyers” and
their families
o Using email to elicit parent ideas on the Schoolwide program
o Creating a spreadsheet to monitor positive
o Using the district’s world languages teachers to
help with parent contacts
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Planning and
Planning and Evaluation Tools:
Family School Collaboration
• Delaware Self-Assessment
• School-wide Evaluation Tool, Delaware version
• Delaware School Climate Survey (students, staff
and families)
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Highlights from
Key Features
• Prevention of problem behaviors includes promoting
positive teacher-student, student-student, and
school-family relations
• Uses problem-solving team process for planning,
development, implementation, and evaluation across
all three levels (primary, secondary, and tertiary). The
team is representative of the school staff and
community including students and parents as active
• PBS requires sensitivity to individual and cultural
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Five Components of the Self
1. Promoting Positive Behavior with Effective
Classroom and Schoolwide Management
2. Developing Self-Discipline
3. Correcting Behavior Problems
4. Addressing the Needs of Students Who are
Currently Exhibiting Serious and Chronic
Behavior Problems (or who are at-risk of such)
5. Program Development and Evaluation
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Family Collaboration embedded in
the Self Assessment
• Families are informed about SW programs
and are given multiple opportunities to engage
with school
• Families receive more positive contacts home
then negative contacts
• Collaboration with family and community for
individual student support
• Families are part of the PBS leadership team
Minke & Boyer, 2009
• Revised version of the SET
• Some items added to highlight
important elements of PBS in Delaware
Minke & Boyer, 2009
New SET-D Items Related to
Family-School Collaboration
• D. On-going System for Rewarding Behavioral
– “Do 90% of staff asked indicate that they have
contacted a parent about positive student behavior in
past 2 months?”
• F. Monitoring, Evaluating, & Decision-Making
- “Does the administrator report that program evaluation
includes teacher, parent, and student surveys of school
- “Is there a documented system for involving families in
the development and evaluation of the school discipline
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Delaware School Climate Surveys
• Survey of students, staff and families
• Used in grades 3-12 (may use home
and staff version at all grade levels)
• 37-50 items
• Administered in January and February
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Home School Climate Survey:
Rules and Expectations Subscale
1. The school rules are fair.
3. Consequences of breaking school rules are fair.
4. The rules in this school are too harsh. *
13. The school’s Code of Conduct is fair.
19. The rules in this school are clear.
26. Students know what is expected of their behavior.
29. Students understand what the rules are.
30. The school makes it clear how students are expected to
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Home School Climate Survey:
Teacher Relations with Students and Home Subscale
5. Teachers do a good job communicating with parents.
7. Teachers are fair when correcting misbehavior.
9. Adults who work in this school care about the students.
11. Parents are informed not only about their child’s
misbehavior, but also about good behavior.
12. Teachers care about their students.
15. Teachers work closely with parents to help students
when they have problems.
17. Adults in this school treat students fairly.
18. Teachers listen to the concerns of parents.
21. Teachers show respect toward parents.
23. Teachers treat students with respect.
25. Teachers listen to students when they have a problem.
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Use of Positive and Punitive Techniques
For each item, the parent is asked how often the given behavior has
happened during the past week
Positive Techniques (3 items)
2. I was informed about my child's good behavior.
6. My child told me that he or she was recognized or praised by a
teacher or other school employee for good behavior.
7. My child told me that he or she was rewarded by a teacher or
other school employee for good behavior.
Punitive Techniques (4 items)
1. I was informed by the school that my child violated the Code of
3. My child was suspended out of school.
4. I was informed that my child was sent out of class because of
5. I was informed that my child received in-school suspension
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Overall comparison of surveys
• Student and parent perception of
climate was very consistent
• Some discrepancies between staff
perception and students/parents
Minke & Boyer, 2009
Contact Information
Kathleen Minke: minke@udel.edu
Debby Boyer: dboyer@udel.edu
Website: www.Delawarepbs.org
For Further Reading
Minke, K.M., & Anderson, K.A. (2003). Restructuring
routine parent-teacher conferences: The family-school
conference model. Elementary School Journal, 104(1),
Vickers, H. S., Minke, K. M., & Anderson, K. A. (2002).
Best practices in facilitating collaborative family-school
routine conferences. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.).
Best practices in school psychology –IV (pp. 431-449).
Bethesda, MD: National Association of School
For Further Reading
Minke, K. M. (2000). Preventing school problems
and promoting school success through familyschool-community collaboration. In K. M. Minke
& G. G. Bear (Eds.). Preventing school problems
– promoting school success: Strategies and
programs that work (pp. 337-420). Bethesda,
MD: National Association of School
Good resource for Relationshipbuilding Opportunities
Christenson, S. L., & Sheridan, S. M.
(2001). Schools and families: Creating
essential connections for learning. New
York: Guilford.