Family-School Collaboration:
Building Positive ParentTeacher Relationships at the
Schoolwide Level
Kansas Association of School Psychologists
October 29, 2009
Kathleen Minke, Ph.D., NCSP
University of Delaware
Minke, 2009
Objectives
Review strategies for teaching systems concepts and
encouraging a positive approach to families.
Review communication strategies that teachers can use
to support development of good working relationships
with families.
Review schoolwide strategies that make a school more
“family friendly.”
Minke, 2009
Family Collaboration at all Levels
PCP
Wraparound
FBA/BSP
Problem solving
meetings
Family-School Conferences
Family participation in planning,
implementing, and evaluating Schoolwide program
Information sharing to and from families
Involvement vs. Collaboration
Unidirectional
Transactional
Educators:
Educators:
– design family-school
activities, without parent
consultation, to help the
school achieve its goals.
– work together with families to
develop plans that advance the
shared goal of school success.
– summon parents to school
to hear information, not to
contribute information.
“We want you
to....”
– acknowledge and consider the
beliefs, and preferences of
children and their families.
“How can
we....”
Minke, 2009
Involvement vs. Collaboration
Expert-Driven
Educators:
Multiple Expertise
Educators:
–are experts about the child
and the child’s problems;
parents are learners.
–presume that each person,
including the child, has important
information to share.
– tell parents how to assist
the school in fixing the child
and/or how they should assist
with homework.
–accept that each individual may
have different, and equally valid,
perceptions of the same
situation.
“I will tell you
how...”
Minke, 2009
“Help me
understand..”
Involvement vs. Collaboration
Universal
Educators:
– recommend to families
how to improve family
participation in school; these
apply to all families.
Individualized
Educators:
– know that each family, teacher,
classroom, and child is different.
They respect these differences
when planning interventions.
– assume that families who do not
participate care about their
children’s education and have
good reasons for their behavior.
“One size
fits all.”
Minke, 2009
“Each child, family,
teacher, classroom is
unique.”
Main message…
Without first learning FROM
families about their strengths,
resources, beliefs, and needed
supports,
no programs FOR families will
be successful.
Minke, 2009
Overview of Skills/Strategies
The CORE Model of Collaboration
Connected
Optimistic
Respected
Empowered
Minke, 2009
Overview of Skills/Strategies
The CORE Model of Collaboration
THINKING DIFFERENTLY
Ecosystemic approach
CORE beliefs
TALKING DIFFERENTLY
7 Communication Strategies
BEHAVING DIFFERENTLY
Proactive outreach strategies
Conferences and Problem-solving Meetings
Minke, 2009
Minke, 2009
Thinking Differently
Systems Theory/Principles
Wholeness
Each member affects, and is affected by, every
other member
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
Minke, 2009
Thinking Differently
Systems Theory/Principles
Patterns of Interaction
Behavior occurs in circular patterns with each
person contributing
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 point
Minke, 2009
Behavior Problem from a Systemic View
A to B to C to D to A
Teacher criticizes
child
Child
misbehaves in
class
Child complains
about teacher to
parent
Parent criticizes
teacher
Minke, 2009
Behavioral Patterns of Interaction
Significance:
Intervention possible at any point in the
circle
“how” not “why”
No Blame!!!
Minke, 2009
CORE Model:
Talking Differently
7 Communication Strategies
Attend to non-verbal communication
Listen to understand: reflecting and summarizing
Model the collaborative role: avoid labeling, jargon
and advice giving!
Search for strengths
Reframing
Delivering/Receiving negative information
Blocking blame
Minke, 2009
Skill#2
Listen to understand:
reflect/clarify/empathize
An empathic response:
Helps the other feel heard and
understood
Usually involves both content and
affect
NEVER involves judgment
Does not introduce the speaker’s
point of view
Build Empathic Responses
Main content (what the person said or implied):
____________________
Affect/Feelings (stated or implied):
_____________________
Combine content and affect into brief response
(paraphrase):
______________________
Add “checkout” (Is that right?), if needed (invite
the other to keep talking)
Empathy Practice
Mom (speaking quickly and in great distress):
My son is driving me crazy. At ten years old you would
think he could be responsible for himself at least a little
bit! He can’t accomplish a single thing unless I’m
standing right there, nagging him all the way through.
Homework is a nightmare! I feel like I’m the one with
homework and we struggle for at least two hours
before it is done. This can’t go on. He’s not learning
and I’m out of patience!
How can I help him?”
CORE Model:
Talking Differently
7 Communication Strategies
Attend to non-verbal communication
Listen to understand: reflecting and summarizing
Model the collaborative role: avoid labeling, jargon
and advice giving!
Search for strengths
Reframing
Delivering/Receiving negative information
Blocking blame
Minke, 2009
CORE MODEL:
Behaving Differently
Proactive Outreach Strategies
Conferences and Problemsolving Meetings
Minke, 2009
Proactive Strategies for
Reaching Out to Families
overview
The School-wide team
The physical plant
Written communications
(policies and personal)
Activities at school
Minke, 2009
Proactive Strategies:
Getting information FROM
families
Family members as participants on the
school-wide team?
School climate data from families?
Input from families in planning,
implementing, and evaluating the
school-wide discipline plan?
Minke, 2009
Proactive Strategies:
The Physical Plant
How welcoming to families does the
school appear?
Are visitors a priority?
Minke, 2009
Proactive Strategies:
Written Communications
Forms and policies
Personal communications
Minke, 2009
Written Communications:
Forms and Policies
What reading level is required to interpret the
documents?
Is there jargon that can be removed or better
explained?
How do we ensure that families with limited written
English literacy have access to this information?
To what extent do documents encourage:
Parental choices and options
Two way communication
Minke, 2009
Written Communications:
Personal
“Good news” notes are usually
welcome and helpful.
Avoid using notes home or emails to
communicate about problems.
Communicate about concerns early and
directly.
Concentrate on your main goals.
Consult with others when needed.
Minke, 2009
Proactive Strategies:
Activities at School
Examine Current Activities for
Opportunities for Relationshipbuilding
Needs Assessment/Evaluation
Build in Options
Minke, 2009
Behaving Differently:
Routing Conferences and
Problem-Solving Meetings
Two types of conferences are
discussed
Routine
Problem-solving
Minke, 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.
Educator acknowledges, expands and
underscores the strengths of the family.
The conference is a “conversation.” At no
time is the educator the “presenter.”
Minke, 2009
Conferences and Meetings
Outcome goals
A plan is developed collaboratively
for supporting the student’s continued
success, including plans to remediate
identified difficulties
All participants leave feeling hopeful
about their participation and future
success
Students leave feeling greater
ownership of their own learning
Minke, 2009
Conferences and Meetings
Process goals
Each participant has ample time to
share thoughts in the conference
Shared expectations for the child are
developed by the group
Each participant is both a teacher
and a learner
Minke, 2009
Family-School Conferences
Outcomes
Participating parents and teachers
agreed that the conferences were
beneficial and they wanted to
continue using the FSC style.
Children were active participants.
Parents and teachers valued
watching each other interact with the
child
Family-School Conferences
Outcomes
FSCs took roughly the same amount of
time but participants felt more
information exchange occurred.
Teachers felt they needed lots of
practice and feedback to do the process
well.
Evaluation Data
Does participation in collaboration
training have a positive effect on
teacher:
Beliefs about parent involvement
Practices (e.g., number and type of contact
with families)
Minke, 2009
Required Reflection
Think about the operation of your school-wide
team. Describe:
the ways in which your practices have changed as a result
of what you learned in the family-school collaboration
workshop (if any);
your plans for further development of family-school
collaboration in your practice (if any);
barriers that must be overcome in order for change to
occur
Minke, 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 notes
Greater attention to seeking information and
limiting advice giving
Minke, 2009
Reflections Data
Meeting changes were discussed frequently
Avoiding jargon
Avoiding advice
Listening more carefully
Including positive information
Minke, 2009
Reflections Data
Innovative strategies
Welcome back activity for “frequent flyers” and
their families
Using email to elicit parent ideas on the Schoolwide program
Creating a spreadsheet to monitor positive
contacts
Using the district’s world languages teachers to
help with parent contacts
Minke, 2009
Reflections Data
Barriers to change
Time (teachers and parents)
Language
Lack of support from administration
Minke, 2009
Contact Information
Kathleen Minke: [email protected]
Website: www.Delawarepbs.org
Minke, 2009
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Family-School Collaboration & Problem Solving