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ERIC Number: EJ1046328
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1553-541X
Why Community Engagement Matters in School Turnaround
McAlister, Sara
Voices in Urban Education, n36 p35-42 Win-Spr 2013
Research shows that an authentically engaged community improves schools--not just by participating in school events, but also by helping to shape reform. Family and community engagement is a proven strategy for strengthening schools. There is also ample evidence that schools serving large populations of students of color and students living in poverty have historically been the least successful at such engagement. These schools--often, the lowest-performing public schools--are precisely the ones that the Obama administration has targeted for turnaround over the past four years through Title I school improvement grants, the Race to the Top Competition, and state-by-state waivers of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act accountability provisions. Because of this, the administration has a special responsibility to ensure that its turnaround initiatives treat family and community engagement thoughtfully. In December 2012 the Department of Education released a new framework for family engagement drafted by Karen Mapp (2012), a prominent family engagement expert. This framework is solidly grounded in research and practice and emphasizes capacity building for districts, schools, and families. It calls for sustained investment in strengthening home-school partnerships and for schools and districts to treat engagement as a core strategy for school improvement. It emphasizes helping families take an active role in schools, building families' and educators' sense of efficacy through skill development, and creating multiple opportunities and invitations for engagement. Mapp grounds homes-school partnership in relational trust and shared decision-making. This new framework would provide an excellent basis for re-casting family and community engagement as a core priority in federal school turnaround policies.
Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. Brown University, Box 1985, Providence, RI, 02912. Tel: 401-863-7990; Fax: 401-863-1290; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A