How is it defined?
The parents feel welcome measure asks parents what they think about the communication between school staff and parents. Communication is an important part of strong partnerships between schools, families and communities, which can benefit students (Epstein et al., 2002). The likelihood of forming home-school partnerships varies based on the socio-economic background of families involved (Lareau & Benson, 1984) and Swick (2003) observes, ‘it is important to recognise the behaviours and processes that facilitate strong and healthy parent-teacher and family-school partnerships.’
The Learning Bar’s Parent Survey is based on a framework developed by Joyce Epstein designed to foster positive relations between school and community (Epstein et al., 2002). The survey covers parents’ perceptions of their children’s experiences at home and school, as well as the extent to which parents feel the school supports learning and positive behaviour and promotes a safe and inclusive environment.
Why is it important?
- School practices can either encourage or discourage family involvement (Simon, 2004). Parents perceive active listening, an empathic, non-judgmental form of listening, to be effective in parent-teacher interactions (Castro, Cohen, Gilad, & Kluger, 2013; McNaughton, Hamlin, McCarthy, Head-Reeves, & Schreiner, 2008).
- Providing families with teacher contact information is perceived to be helpful in facilitating student achievement (Sheldon & Epstein, 2005).
- The socio-economic background of families can produce social and cultural differences that can account for varying levels of parental involvement (Lareau & Benson, 1984).
- Teachers must explore a variety of partnership options in order to establish home-school relationships with families from lower socio-economic backgrounds (Lareau & Benson, 1984).
How do we measure it?
In Tell Them From Me, parents respond on a five-point scale which is scored as follows: 0 (Strongly Disagree), 1 (Disagree), 2 (Neither Agree nor Disagree), 3 (Agree), and 4 (Strongly Agree). The data are scaled on a 10-point scale and the results are reported as ‘the average score for parents feel welcome’.
Castro, D. R., Cohen, A., Gilad, T., & Kluger, A. N. (2013). The role of active listening in teacher– parent relations and the moderating role of attachment style. International Journal of Listening, 27(3), 136-145.
Epstein, J. L., Sanders, M. G., Simon, B. S., Salinas, K. C., Jansorn, N. R., & Van Voorhis, F. L. (2002). School, family, and community partnerships: Your handbook for action (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Lareau, A., & Benson, C. (1984). The economics of home/school relationships: A cautionary note. Phi Delta Kappan, 65(6), 401-4.
McNaughton, D., Hamlin, D., McCarthy, J., Head-Reeves, D., & Schreiner, M. (2008). Learning to listen: Teaching an active listening strategy to preservice education professionals. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 27(4), 223-231.
Sheldon, S. B., & Epstein, J. L. (2005). Involvement counts: Family and community partnerships and mathematics achievement. The Journal of Educational Research, 98(4), 196-206.
Simon, B. S. (2004). High school outreach and family involvement. Social Psychology of Education, 7(2), 185-209.
Swick, K. J. (2003). Communication concepts for strengthening family-school-community partnerships. Early Childhood Education Journal, 30(4), 275-280.