Epstein Model for School, Family, and Community Partnerships

1) Category:
• General program

2) Issues Behind the Program:
• School leaders are becoming ever more aware of the importance of positive parent involvement in education. However, some teachers need help to create programs that foster student success and that involve family and community partners.

3) Objectives:
• • • • • • Help children succeed in life and in school Improve school programs and atmosphere Provide families with support and services to help parents improve their skills and spirit of initiative Bring together family, school and community, and provide help to teachers Encourage students to graduate from secondary school Involve parents and give them more power

4) Environment:
• Primary and secondary schools

5) Target Group:
• Students from 6 to 16 years old

6) Key Words:
• Epstein Model, coeuréaction, school-family-community partnership, general program, supervision, communication, volunteerism, learning at home, parent involvement, district leadership, academic success, collaboration, National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS), John Hopkins University

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/.

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7) Program Description:
• • Epstein proposed that children learn and grow around three interdependent spheres of influence, namely school, family and community. The model is based on eight essential elements: 1) leadership 5) finances 2) teamwork 6) evaluations 3) yearly planning 7) college support 4) well-applied activities 8) ongoing planning Six fundamental components of the Epstein Model and examples of the action taken: o Helping parents:       o help parents be parents; help schools better understand parents; educate parents (e.g. classes); organize work sessions, video workshops, etc., according to the level of schooling of the parents; offer families health and nutrition support as well as other services; organize meetings at home during transition periods (e.g. from primary to secondary school). effectively inform families about the school program and their child's progress; organize yearly conferences with parents; hire a translator for immigrant families; give parents a monthly report on their children’s work; regularly send out memos, do house calls, write letters, and post information about the school on the school's website. improve recruitment, training and better manage schedules to favor parent collaboration so parents can better help their children succeed academically; introduce a school and volunteer classes program; reserve a parent/family center for volunteer work, meetings and family services; conduct a yearly survey to determine potential volunteers, their place of residence and their schedule; create a telephone chain; organize a parent patrol or other activities that ensure student safety and the success of activities. encourage families to participate in learning activities at home. Show parents how to help with homework; give parents the skills required to transmit knowledge about a given subject; inform parents about homework policies and about how to approach homework; assign homework that enables parents to play a role in student success;

Communication:     


Volunteering:      


Learning at home:    

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 o

establish a calendar proposing possible family activities, at home and in the community. involve families in school decisions and in leadership; encourage parent leadership; set up parent meetings and Parents’ Committees where issues like safety or school programs can be discussed; form independent parent groups that work on school reform and school improvement; form a neighborhood council to encourage family and community participation; encourage networking and ties between families and parent representatives. coordinate community, student, family, and school resources with those of entrepreneurs and other groups; inform students and their families about cultural, social, recreational, and health services, among others; inform students and their families of community activities aimed at students and families that match student skills and talents, including summer programs; encourage students, families, and the school to offer a community service (recycling, art, music, etc.).

Decision making:      


Working with the community:    

The model includes plans for an Action Team for Partnership (ATP) composed of six to 12 people (school administrators, teachers, parents, community members, students) tasked to create a caring school environment founded on partnership. The Epstein Model is an approach that facilitates partnerships between school, the family and the community.

8) Steps:
I. Create an ATP: o o The team approach is an effective way to create school-family-community ties (S-FC). The ATP should be composed of two or three teachers who teach different grades or who have different specialty areas; of two or three parents from different environments, cultures or who are parents of students in different grades; and of at least one administrator. The team can also include a community member and two students who are in different grades. A significant budget is required. Some revenue sources are available: Provincial and federal governments, regions, RCMs, local agencies, etc. At the regional level, financing is necessary to cover the salary of the person in charge of helping schools create S-F-C ties.


Obtain grants and other support: o o o

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Determine starting points: o The ATP starts by taking inventory (through questionnaires, interviews, discussion groups on the subject, etc.) of any existing action by the school, the family, or the community led by various members of the school staff. These starting points address the ideologies, experiences and wishes of teachers, parents, school administrators and students concerning S-F-C partnerships. The questions and discussions of the ATP should focus on the current strengths of the school and on desired changes, expectations, feelings of belonging to the community and elements related to achievement of the objectives of the educational project. With the help of the information gathered, the ATP can table a detailed action plan that covers the year. The plan includes objectives; desired results; the measures needed to get results; participation activities to undertake, improve or maintain; a timetable; examples of participation; the steps to follow for the activities; a list of the people responsible for the activities; and information on the required funding and resources, as well as other important elements. When presented, the action plan is adapted to the audience, whether the Parents’ Committee, parents, teachers or students. In order to inform students, families and teachers of the successes of the program and the improvements that it has made in the school, the ATP presents this information as part of an annual event. Over the course of the year, conferences can also be organized for people in the neighborhood to inform them of the preceding points. During meetings held at the end of the year, ATP members should ask the following questions: How could the ATP increase the number of families who participate actively in the education of their children? What tools do teachers, parents and students possess that can encourage learning and development? How will the ATP evaluate, reinforce and maintain the S-F-C partnership and continue to support academic success?

o o


Establish a yearly action plan: o o

o V.

Continuation of program planning, evaluation and improvement: o

o o

9) Activities/Actions:
• The following are examples of activities that address the six components of the Epstein Model:

1. Guide to post-secondary studies and career choice : At Napierville North High
School, a guide to post-secondary studies and career choices intended for secondary school students and their parents was created (information on study programs, financial aid, admission exams, etc.). teachers are invited to come together to discuss the program during a picnic at the beginning of the school year. This helps create a feeling of belonging to the community.

2. Back-to-school picnic: At Longfellow Elementary School, students, parents and

3. Extracurricular activities: At Spooner Elementary School, parents and
community volunteers work with teachers to organize clubs and extracurricular enrichment activities.

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4. Family mathematics evening: In a school in Washington County, family math

evenings are organized where students are given extra math hours in the company of their family and classmates. invited to have breakfast with the principal and other staff members. Various subjects are discussed and parents are free to ask questions. The goal is to create a feeling of belonging to the school. League) football players and various community groups meet with parents and students and take part in various activities such as races, football skills, healthy snacks, walking with a pedometer, etc.

5. Breakfast with the principal: At Berendo Middle School, each month parents are

6. Health and well-being with the Buffalo Bills : Buffalo Bill (National Football

(For many more examples, see the annual collections of Promising Partnership Practices on the NNPS website at http://www.partnershipschools.org under Success Stories.)

10) Resources Required:
• Human resources: o o • o School personnel, families, and community Social services, governments, etc. Operating budget

Financial resources:

11) Roles of the Participants:
The ATP and its members have the following roles: • The ATP (the whole team): o o o o • evaluates community partnership practices; creates projects; sees to it that the activities and projects are carried out; evaluates the steps to take to make activities and projects come to life and continues to improve and coordinate practices for the six components of the model. supports and guides the members of the ATP; coordinates objectives and determines the direction taken by the school’s personnel. play a leading role for the ATP committee for certain specific objectives and activities, etc.; can play a role in ensuring that teachers, parents, students and community members work together effectively. express their ideas about the type of S-F-C partnership activities to organize; act as a go-between for the ATP and other teachers at the school.

The school principal: o o

Counselors and specialists (psychologists, social workers, etc.): o o

Teachers: o o

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/.

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The parent leader: o o establishes ties between teachers and families; gets involved with workshops or other activities. contribute to the ATP thanks to their expertise, their connections to the community and their services; can work with the municipality, the school, etc., to establish a variety of programs (sports, safety, health, etc.). organize leadership plans; guide all schools to develop plans and programs for goal-linked partnerships.

Community partners: o o

State and district leaders: o o

12) Scientific Basis or Validity:
• Studies show that school-family-community partnerships have positive outcomes on many levels. School results improve (literature, mathematics, sciences), school attendance is better, and student behavior improves. Following application of the Epstein Model, students in the Los Angeles Unified School District had improved results in reading (+6 percentile) and in art (+5 percentile) on the Stanford Test. Several studies show that family involvement improves children's reading and writing abilities. Joyce Epstein, Ph.D., is a researcher at John Hopkins University and founder of the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS). Her model is based on various studies done by researchers at John Hopkins University: o o http://www.csos.jhu.edu/P2000/pdf/NICHD%20Progress%20Report%20Summary %2007.pdf http://www.csos.jhu.edu/p2000/pdf/Research%20Summary.pdf

• •

13) Program Material:
• School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action, Third Edition, Westview Press, 2009. A guide to enable educators, districts, and policy leaders to plan, implement, evaluate, and improve goal-linked family- and communityinvolvement programs that contribute to student success. (Approximately US$45) Website: http://www.csos.jhu.edu/P2000/

14) Additional Information:
• The information contained in this factsheet was taken from: o o o o o http://www.csos.jhu.edu/p2000/nnps_model/school.htm ; http://www.naperville203.org/parents-students/EpsteinModelPS.asp ; http://fortworthisd.org/boe/_presentations/2006-09-12_Epstein%20ModelDGuzman.pdf; http://www.csos.jhu.edu/p2000/sixtypes.htm; http://www.csos.jhu.edu/p2000/index.htm.

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/.

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15) Contacts:
• National Network of Partnership Schools Johns Hopkins University 3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 200 Baltimore, MD 21218 Tel: (410) 516-8800 Email: nnps@csos.jhu.edu

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/.

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