The development of children in terms of educational outcomes could be determined considering a complex interaction of biological and eco-systemic variables. To better understand the educational success of children, both aspects of home and school context need to be analyzed, since they are the two most influential context in a child’s life (Sheridan, Clarke, & Ransom, 2014). Among ecological variable, essential indicators for the children’s academic success include the family-school partnership and, consequently, the family engagement within the school (Christenson, 2004). Children, families and schools’ benefits from that partnership, once it provides the appropriate engagement in supportive practices for children’s learning (Owens et al., 2008). Important educational institutions, such as Harvard Family Research Project, The Office of Head Start, and the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement, have recognized the relevance of families’ educational influence. Additionally, some federal policies, such as No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 directed to expand the role of families in the education system and enhanced the family-school partnerships.
Many authors use different expressions and words to refer to that area of study. Some use the word involvement, others prefer to use relationship. And others raised the word partnership. According to Merriam-Webster (2004), a partner is “one that shares; one associated with another especially in an action”. Considering the context of families and schools, a partnership is a relationship involving close cooperation between parties. The parties have clearly specified and joint rights and responsibilities. The focus of family-school partnerships is to improve the experiences and outcomes for children, including those that are academic, social, emotional, and behavioral in nature (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001). Table 1 exemplifies the differences between taking a traditional orientation and using a partnership orientation in the family-school relationship. In the traditional orientation, the learning goals, strategies, activities and desired outcomes tend to be school-determined. On the other hand, a partnership orientation defends these concepts are mutual, bidirectional shared influences that affect learning and are jointly-determined.
Table 1. Partnership orientation versus traditional orientation
|Partnership orientation||Traditional orientation|
|Commitment to working together on behalf of the child’s performance or achievement is clear||Emphasis on what schools do to promote learning|
|Communication is frequent, positive, bidirectional||Infrequent, one-directional, or problem- centered communications (school -> home)|
|Relationship is characterized by cultural sensitivity; cultural differences are respected, appreciated, and recognized as contributing to positive learning climates||“One size fits all” orientation; cultural differences are perceived as challenges to overcome|
|Different perspectives are valued as important||Different perspectives are seen as barriers|
|Roles are clear, mutual, and supportive||Separate roles distance participants|
|Goals for students are mutually determined and shared||Goals determined by school personnel and sometimes shared with parents|
|Plans are co-constructed, with agreed upon roles for all participants||Educational plans devised and delivered by teachers|
Source: From Sheridan, S.M. (2004). Family–school partnerships: Creating essential connections for student success. Keynote presented at the Resource Teacher: Learning and BehaviorConference, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Considering the introduction presented above, this current essay describes a literature review about family-school partnership in two sessions. First, the importance and benefits of that relationship and partnership are discussed. Foundation about why is important to work with parents, reflection about past research, theoretical foundations and what are the benefits for all different contexts (families, schools and children) are presented. Second, an evidence-based approach created to build that family-school partnership and improve the outcomes in all the possible contexts is presented. This approach was selected since it has been widely and extensively studied over the years and all the findings from those studies demonstrated a significantly positive impact in both children’s social-emotional and academic outcomes.
The Importance and Benefits of Family-School Relationship
The literature on family-school relationship, as well as the life experience that people accumulate, reminds that the humans are always learning in the most diverse situations that life presents. Therefore, the role of the family in the child learning process is essential, since the family is the context that early decides about what their children need to learn, which institutions they should attend are, and what is necessary to know to make decisions that will benefit them in the future (Reis, 2008). Children spend most of their time under their parents’ supervision, which positions parents in an important place as modelers of behavior (Walberg, 1984), and also evidence the impact of parents on children’s life success (Henderson & Mapp, 2002). Therefore, parental support for and involvement in schooling are important predictors of academic success (Fan & Chen, 2001).
Gervilla (2001), in your book Education and Family, refers and reinforces that the family is the fundamental pillar for the growth of the child. The author emphasized, yet, that if schools are seeking to provide a successful education it is necessary to provide help and support to those who have an active role in that educational process, such as family. When interacting with educators, many families feel unwelcome, misunderstood, and confused (Hill & Torres, 2010), leaving them disconnected and alienated from their child’s school. Teachers may fail to develop relationships with parents because they do not receive appropriate training on how to establish that, do not understand parent’s expectations, and view parents as part of the problem in educating students, rather than as a resource (Delgado-Gaitan, 1992; Hill & Torres, 2010). The negative interactions that these parents may have with schools can be a major barrier to involvement (Eccles & Harold, 1996). As a result, parents may be less likely to engage with teachers over time and are increasingly perceived as disinterested in their child’s education (Jones, 2003; Rodriguez & Lopez, 2003).
Parental involvement in education requires an understanding of the complex interactions between the strategies of intervention, the parents’ motivation, the dynamic of family interaction, the students learning process, the methodology followed by the teachers and the school climate (Colgan, 1997). Colgan (1997) conducted a study in which more than ten years of investigation about the parental involvement and the family influences at schools were synthetized. The author gave particular emphasis to the work developed by Conner (1990), Davies (1994), Davies and Johnson (1996), Epstein (1994), and Seeley (1989), all studies that were encouraging all schools to follow a policy of approximation to the families. The author concluded that education, family, school, society, environment and training are associated and linked areas. Further, it is not possible to offer a proper education without the connection with the family. Hence, the scientific community need to continuing investing time and efforts in conducting studies, besides enhancing the knowledge, making the general public aware that family problems are social problems and seeking to start some kind of family education practices from childhood, since the child will reach adulthood and created, in the right time, a new family.
The same notions are backed by Swap (1997), which considers that it is essential that parents and teachers mutually help each other. However, Swap (1997) expands the research that have been done in that period about the benefits of family-school partnership for both context and presents general considerations related to the social context. Accordingly, this collaboratively work provide benefits for the teachers in terms of increasing difficulties with teaching, besides helping them to achieve a better level of feedback from their superiors, once most of teachers see their professional status as being little recognized by the community as a whole. On the other hand, that partnership promotes parent strategies at home in terms of improving their coping strategies where confronting situations of divorce, unemployment, isolation and problems with the children (all problems that have been increasingly gaining space).
That mutuality, collaboration, involvement, engagement of parents with schools are all processes and concepts accomplished by that partnership, which can be understood as an umbrella that compiled all these other concepts inside. Two main characteristics of family-school partnership have been intensely studied and described in the literature (Sheridan, 2004; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 2007). First, family-school relationships are collaborative and interdependent. Collaboration means “an interactive planning or problem-solving process involving two or more team members” (West, 1990, p. 29). It involves mutual respect, trust, open communication and equality (the willingness to listen, respect and learn from the other person) and parity (the blending of knowledge, skills and ideas to improve the relationship and children’s outcomes). Second, family-school relationship embraces shared responsibility. Shared responsibility means that both parents and teachers have an active voice, equally contributing with unique perspectives, resources and values that will support and enrich the child development. The responsibilities and rights are seen as equals (Sheridan & Kratochwill, 2007).
The occurrence of family-school partnerships as both collaborative and shared responsibility are crucial for individual development. Understanding the theoretical framework behind that partnership is crucial to understanding the size effect and the impact of that in a child life. The child integration into the collective universe, the mediation between the child and the world and the knowledge, the child adaptation to the school environment, the relationship with all educational staff, and the relationship with their colleagues, are decisive factors for children’s social development and prevention of future problems (Reis, 2008). To understand this relationship is necessary to analyze all the potential influences, prioritizing the knowledge of the school and family contexts and their specific conditions (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998).
Three theories are underlying the family-school partnership. The first one, the Bioecological Model of Bronfenbrenner provides a conceptual vantage point for home-school partnership. It consists of a two-way process interaction, established between the person characteristics and the context, and developed through time and affected by influences that emanate from other contexts (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006). Therefore, both the person that is in developing change when getting in touch with the environment, and the environment also change through the interaction with the person, i.e., it is a bi-directional process. The Bioecological Model conceive, therefore, the development as being the producer and the product of the interaction processes – that must be reciprocated – between the human biopsychologically active and the multiple contexts, in which that development occurs according to a temporal perspective (Bronfenbrenner, 1996).
The bioecological theory is concerned with the multiple systems, environments and contexts in which a child function, besides being concern about the interconnections among those systems. These systems are inseparable and embedded within a framework where they influence each other. The primary and immediate system is the microsystem. The main microsystem in children’s life are both the home and school. The microsystem is concerned with the child relationship with the immediate ecosystem and setting (e.g. home or classroom). An example of a microsystem influences could be the child’s learning within home, such as actions like reading with a parent or helping parents prepare a meal. Experiences in the home setting influences the way that children behave in the classroom (Sheridan & Kratochwill, 2007). These interconnections among microsystems represent the mesosystem, which affects children through relationships, communication patterns, and other bidirectional influences such as receiving help from parents with the homework and the children’s academic functioning at school. The next system is the exosystem. This system is constituted by the situations that are falling short of the child, but they affect the child, such as the type of the parent job, time available, unemployment. The exosystem is related to those events that the child does not directly participate, such as influences from other contexts like the approach that parental work environments support their involvement in school. The last system is the macrosystem that is related to the overall cultural or subcultural patterns and forces that incorporate all other systems and subsystems, such as federal policy (e.g., No Child Left Behind), that influence school curriculum, homework, and home-school practices (Bronfenbrenner, 1977; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 2007). Hence, in addition to biological maturation, the environment, considered relevant to the process of human development, not limited to the immediate context of the subject, but encompasses a number of different levels, structures interconnected among themselves. According to Bronfenbrenner (1998), then, a child needs to develop a stable involvement of one or more adults, involving attention and joint activities-care and joint activity-with the child. In this sense, children need to have joint activities that provide a balanced development by establishing a strong affective relationship.
The bioecological model by itself presents some limitations to fully understand the family-school partnership. One notable omission of this approach is a practical framework for service delivery, i.e., little empirical evidence proved the efficacy of ecologically oriented service models (Sheridan & Kratochwill, 2007). On the other hand, the Behavioral Theory provide an evidence-based, technologically refined template for working within and between systems to effect change (Sheridan et al., 1996).
Behavioral Theory, the second theory underlying the family-school partnership, rests firmly on the assumption that “behaviors are learned as a function of their interaction with the environment” (Sheridan & Kratochwill, 2007, p. 6). Many approaches that derived from behavioral theory use learning principles to change behavior. Equally, behavioral approaches focus on behaviors that can be observable in children, parents, and teachers, rather than only looking for causation conditions. Instead of being concerned with the causes of a specific behavior or personality traits, the focus is on the “here and now” and investigating the environmental conditions that are in some degree contributing to a given situation. In addition, targeting specific behaviors, interventions usually have clearly and defined goals and are based on empirical support for treatment techniques. Although, behavioral theory presented some limitations over time. For example, behavioral therapists have traditionally considered only those stimuli that immediately precede and follow the behavior. This view causes prejudice in both the functional analysis and the measurement of the behavior (Cataldo, 1984). It is necessary, though, to investigate the distal reasons for a given behavior, besides put them in a temporal and contextual framework. Going beyond and considering a holistic view of a specific situation, including both bioecological considerations and behavioral stimuli and setting events enables for a bioecological-behavioral approach that is closely related to what family-school partnership should include in their implementation. This bioecological-behavioral focus requires looking for not only those variables related directly to the child, but also looking for those environmental variables and the level in which the child and the environment variables are overlapping and matching.
Beyond the bioecological model and behavioral theory, some elements of family-centeredness and family-centered services also contributes to the conceptual framework of family-school partnership. Family-centered services put more emphasis in supporting and improving family functioning. Services focuses on assessing family’s needs, weakness and strengths considering the family’s perspective (McWilliam, Tocci, & Harbin, 1998; Dempsey & Dunst, 2004). Family centeredness is conceptualized on several premises that form the basis of service delivery. The goals of these services are five interconnected: (a) family empowerment (proactively promoting an individual’s sense of control through their ability to use existing strengths) (Dempsey & Dunst, 2004), (b) enhanced functioning on the part of family members, (c) family-identified need, (d) the use of existing family strengths, (e) strengthening social supports. Rather than using strategies to “treat” problems, family-centered services seeks to enhance family acquisition of competencies necessary for problem solution and goal attainment. It is not simply solving problems but going deeply in the process of developing skills and resources (Sheridan, Warnes, Cowan, Schemm, & Clarke, 2004). This represent as effective approach to be part of the theoretical background of family-school partnerships, however it is important to recognize that family systems represent just one component of that partnership; educators and other specialists are coequal contributors.
Sheridan and Krochwill (2007) stated that the strategies usually used to develop skills and competencies in a “partnership-centered orientation” can be extended from family member to teachers. This is the third theory underlying the family-school partnership. In a partnership-centered orientation needs are jointly determined, in agreement and collaboration. “As a strength-based model, focusing on strengths of the partnership and not simply individual strengths (e.g., of the parent or teacher) can enhance outcomes” (Sheridan and Krochwill, 2007, p. 9). This conceptualization of family–school partnerships promote meaningful linkages between multiple bioecological systems to optimize learning and development.
The success of that emergent and necessary partnership between families and schools provide benefits for the main three context involved: students, teachers, and parents. Regarding the student’s benefits, the family-school partnership can be a predictor in both children’s social-emotional and academic outcomes (Sheridan et al., 2017). When parents are involved in the schools, students benefit academically, behaviorally, and socially. It is essential to work with children’s social and emotional development once the presence of social-emotional and behavioral challenges are particularly salient related to poor academic performance, besides being a predictive of later school drop-out, failure to attend college later in life, and socioeconomic disparities later in the adulthood (McLeod & Kaiser, 2004; Sheridan et al., 2017). Besides the benefits in the student’s achievement and academic performance, researchers have found improvements of that partnership in study habits, motivation to succeed, social skills, completion of secondary school, attitudes toward school, reduced behavior problems, homework habits and work orientation and education aspirations (Colton & Sheridan, 1998; Dearing, Kreider, Simpkins, & Weiss, 2006; Fan & Chen, 2001; Fantuzzo, McWayne, Perry, & Childs, 2004; Galloway & Sheridan, 1994; Senechal, 2006; Sheridan et al., 2012; Sheridan, Eagle, Cowan, & Mickelson, 2001; Weiner, Sheridan, & Jenson, 1998).
Additional to the student’s benefits, family-school partnership also provide benefits for teachers. Working with parents allow teachers to focus more on teaching effectively instead of dealing with behavior problems in the classroom. Teachers can allocate their time to instruction than to behavioral issue, they can become more involved with the school curriculum, besides receiving higher rating on teaching performance and indicate greater satisfaction with their jobs (Sheridan et al., 1990; Christenson, 1995; Sheridan et al., 2017).
Lastly, parents are also benefited. In general, they learn strategies to help their child at home, such as supporting appropriate behavior, building relationships, setting limits and monitoring. They also start showing a better support for their child at school, and demonstrating greater understanding of the work of schools. Ultimately, they increase their communication with teachers and become more involved in providing learning activities at home (Dishion & Stormshak, 2007; Sheridan, 2014).
Regardless of benefits, that partnership depends on the quality of the teacher-parent relationship (Sheridan et al., 2012). The quality of teacher-parent relationship is related to both the association between children’s personal characteristics such as gender and race, and both their engagement in the classroom (Hughes & Kwok, 2007). Garbacz and colleagues (2015) have found that the reduced capacity to intervene to promote children’s social and behavioral competence are associated with low quality teacher-parent relationship.
Family-school partnership are important, then, because children’s learning and development is the product of influences from any systems and settings (in and out of school), and educators and families have a share responsibility of helping children achieve to their fullest potential (Sheridan, 2014). A family-school partnership has a child-focused approach in which families and professionals cooperate, coordinate, and collaborate to enhance opportunities and success for children and adolescents across social, emotional, behavioral, and academic domains. Family-school partnership seeks for a relationship involving close collaboration between parents and schools that have clearly specified roles and responsibilities. Additionally, in a true partnership relationships are valued, balanced, cooperative and interdependent, they are based on mutual respect, trust, and communication. The actions are flexible, responsive, and proactive; the goals are mutually determined and shared; the roles are clear, mutual, and supportive; the different perspectives are values and important; communication is frequent, positive, and bidirectional; plans are co-constructed with responsibilities for all participants; and the relationship validates member contributions and create the opportunity for meaningful decision-making to support the child by building confidence and competence (Sheridan, 2014).
Seeking to achieve the mains goals (improve opportunities and outcomes for children, increase shared commitments to educational goals, promote shared responsibilities for student learning and development, increase understanding of problems and perspectives, address concerns across settings, and strengthen relationships), a simple framework was created to build the bridge with parents: the Five A’s (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001). The first four A’s – Approach, Attitude, Atmosphere, and Actions – emphasize how to work toward partnerships in which parents and teachers work in sync. When these four A’s are placed, infused into everyday classroom life, the fifth A – Achievement – is the result (figure 1). The Approach is related to the idea that the overarching perspective that schools and families are essential for student success. In that A there is a shared responsibility for educating and socializing children; the emphasis is on relationships, rather than separate roles. The Attitude firm belief that teachers and parents working together is more than working alone. It phase emphasizes that all families have strengths, that parents can help their child succeed, that there is no room for blame. The Atmosphere implies physical signs that convey interest in families (e.g. family-friendly boards, welcome sign in several languages, pictures of students and families), besides defending an affective climate (the “vibe”) that is inviting to families. The Actions means partnership (student-focused, but relationship-based; intentional) and brings the idea of working with actions instead of activities (activities emphasize things to do and are task-oriented; actions, on the other hand, are ways of doing business and are relations-based). The last A, Achievement, is the result of that partnership (Sheridan, 2014).
Figure 1. The Five A’s for a Family-School Partnership
The Five A’s “offers a process that ensure schools and teachers are ready for effective parent partnership” (Sheridan, 2014, p. 21). However, it is important to recognize that the most important ingredient for a successful and effective partnership is communication. It allows parents and teachers to understand each other needs and wishes. Communication is essential and fundamental to avoiding misunderstandings and misconceptions. Communication is a true partnership should convey three main points: (a) teachers and parents want to work together, (b) parent engagement is essential to child’s success, and (c) solutions are possible and will be more apparent if both context are committed to working as partners. Furthermore, an effective communication need to follow four principles. The first principle, Communicate Frequently and Clearly, is related to the fact that different forms of communications should be offer and all conversations need to be focused on the child, clarifying the purpose and details. The second principle, Ask Open-ended Questions and Listen, is related to the strategy of asking open-ended question to engage parents in the conversation and the ability to listen parents’ needs and concerns. The third principle, Express the Importance of Working Together, convey that partnership are powered by language that implies shared responsibilities and appreciations by highlighting mutual goals and interests. The fourth and last principle, Focus on Positives, is related to the use of positive messages for every negative one, as a form of reinforcement (Sheridan, 2014).
Interventions that address social-behavioral factors related to academic achievement (Becker & Luthar, 2002) and parent engagement (Herrold & O’Donnell, 2008) need to be implemented. Despite a history in education and mental health systems that recognize families as part of a child’s background, little concerted attention has been paid to establishing effective and reliable means for establishing partnerships beneficial to their care and socialization. Putting together the necessity to establish family-school partnership and the importance of establishing early interventions that will promote child development and avoid future problems, an evidence-based approach to build the bridge between schools and families is described below.
An evidence-based approach to create Family-School Partnerships
Conjoint Behavioral Consultation (CBC; Sheridan, Kratchwill, & Bergan, 1996; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 2008), recent known as Teacher and Parents as Partners (TAPP) is a strengths-based, indirect intervention dually focused on improving students’ social-behavioral and academic outcomes and fostering home-school partnerships. CBC promotes social-behavioral skills related to academic achievement through structured, data-based problem-solving and collaborative, consistent implementation of evidence-based interventions across home and school settings. Inherent within its design, CBC is responsive to individual student, family, and teacher strengths, needs, and values, which are identified and utilized within the process (Sheridan, 2000). Parents and teachers serve as joint consultees, and consultation is conducted with parents and teachers as partners in promoting student skills that support learning. Social-behavioral or learning difficulties are identified, defined, analyzed, and addressed through a structured, collaborative four-stage process and concomitant problem-solving meetings between parents and teachers with the guidance of a consultant trained in interventions and partnership-building strategies. Consultants, that can be the teacher, the school’s coordinator and an external professional, use specific relationship-building skills comprised of active listening, perspective taking, reflection, checking for understanding (paraphrasing and summarizing), reframing, and conflict management (relationally focused problem-solving; Sheridan & Kratochwill, 2008). These skills are effective at conveying genuineness and sincerity (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001), building trust (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001), demonstrating respect (Minke, 2006), establishing connections between home and school (Henderson et al., 2007), and promoting positive, bidirectional communication (Clarke, Sheridan, Woods, 2009). There is equal emphasis on process (how) and content (what) to support students and families as plans are co-constructed via parent and teacher collaborative behavior planning.
CBC operates through other mechanisms to produce direct outcomes on children’s behaviors. A specific theoretical model specifying the primary independent and dependent variables, potential mediators and moderators, and their hypothesized relationships within the CBC intervention was chosen to embrace the approach. Developing and testing theories in the social and educational sciences requires speculation and exploration of mechanisms of change.
Ecological-systems theory views children’s development within the context of interactions (e.g., the child/family system interacting with the school [the mesosystem]; Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta, 2000). Development is optimal when effective connections and continuities among these systems are created. A cultural-ecological frameworkrecognizes the pervasive role of ethnicity and cultural factors, such as immigration and acculturation, in shaping cultural ecologies and adaptive choices (Szapocznik & Coatsworth, 1999). Guided by these frameworks, CBC intentionally promotes a culturally responsive “match” among the child, home, and school systems by creating connections that are appropriate, coordinated, and supportive of optimal social-behavioral and educational outcomes for students (Figure 2)
Figure 2. Theory of Change
The CBC’s theory of change was guided by work on culturally-adapted, evidence-based interventions (Barrera & Castro, 2006; Cardemil, 2010; Castro, Barrera, & Martinez, 2004); Leong’s (1996) cultural accommodation model; and the empirically-supported proposition that interventions are likely to be more effective for Latinos if compatible with their language, goals, and values (Bernal et al., 1995).
The CBC’s theory of change includes components related to: (a) culturally-adapted engagement process (Box 1) to improve intervention access, recruitment, and retention for students and their parents and teachers (Box 2); (b) the change mechanisms (Boxes 4-6) targeted by core components of CBC (Box 3); and (c) interindividual variability in intervention effects (Boxes 7-8). In particular, CBC targets modifiable proximal mediators as indicated by prior research (Box 4): (a) parent-teacher relationships and (b) parent and teacher competencies (i.e., problem-solving, strategy use, and beliefs about parents’ self-efficacy and involvement in education). Positive family-school relationships and parent and teacher competencies lead to improved student behaviors (intermediate common student outcomes, Box 5) that promote achievement (long-term common student outcomes, Box 6). The efficacy of CBC on parent, teacher, and student outcomes vary (be moderated) by differences in ecological contexts (Box 7, 8). Information on interindividual variability in intervention effects provide critical translational evidence for whom CBC is most likely to be effective. Of particular public significance, a common finding for many interventions is that those who are at highest risk at pre-test (e.g., behavior severity, symptomology, low on protective resources) benefit most from interventions (Reid & Eddy, 2002; Sheridan et al., 2013).
Recent research has found that the parent-teacher relationship partially mediates the effects of CBC on the social and adaptive behaviors of students with externalizing concerns (Sheridan et al., 20l2). CBC directly influences parent and/or teacher practices, which leads to desired child outcomes (e.g., behavioral change). Improvements in teachers’ and parents’ engagement in CBC (e.g., active participation in the problem-solving sequence), changes in teachers’ skills (including improvements in instruction or classroom climate), or enhanced parenting practices (such as effective use of praise, contingent reinforcement, or precision commands) mediate the effects of CBC on student outcomes. Likewise, increased continuity in values, orientation, response style, and strategy use between home and school is partly responsible for (i.e., mediate) the observed effects.
More than two decades of rigorous empirical research has demonstrated CBC’s effectiveness at addressing a range of academic (Galloway & Sheridan, 1994; Weiner et al., 1998) and behavior problems (Sheridan et al., 2012; Sheridan et al., 2013) across settings (Sheridan et al., 1996) and disorders. Studies using experimental single-case designs (SCDs; Sheridan et al., 1990) and randomized control trials (RCTs; Mautone et al., 2012; Sheridan et al., 2012, 2013, 2014), as well as meta-analyses (Sheridan et al., 2001, 2006), report significant positive effects.
Two randomized controlled trials tested the effects of CBC for students at risk of developing social emotional disturbance across geographic locales. The first (Study 1) tested its effects with a sample of 207 students and their parents and 82 kindergarten through third grade teachers in 21 urban/suburban schools (Sheridan et al., 2012, 2013); the second (Study 2) was a replication in rural settings with a sample of 250 students and 146 teachers across 45 schools (Sheridan et al., 2015). Both studies utilized a multilevel modeling (HLM; Raudenbusch & Bryk, 2002) analytic approach accounting for their nested data structure (time points nested within students, nested within teachers), cluster-randomization of teachers, and missing data. Across both studies, CBC produced significantly greater gains in a number of student, parent, and teacher outcomes relative to a “business-as-usual” control group. Consistent with its theory, improvements in the parent-teacher relationship mediated the effects of CBC on child behavior change. In fact, in the absence of CBC, the relationship between teachers and parents of students with behavioral problems deteriorated over time. The effects of CBC were shown to be moderated by cumulative risk (Sheridan et al., 2013), such that student gains were greatest under conditions of higher levels of risk. Likewise, effects have been shown to be maintained one year following the intervention’s completion, including both child outcomes (social skills) and parent outcomes (competence in problem-solving; Sheridan et al., 2014).
Many CBC studies (Galloway & Sheridan, 1994; Sheridan et al., 2001; Wilkinson, 2005) have explored the effects of CBC as a global intervention on desired student outcomes, such as behavioral, academic, social-emotional, and health outcomes. However, more research need to be conducted to better understanding the potential mediators and moderators of this partnership. For example, the integrity of the problem -solving process (i.e., a consultant’s use of certain active ingredients that focus on problem-solving, such as selecting and defining a target behavior based on family and teacher priorities or supporting implementation of intervention plans across settings) may moderate parent and teacher skills and practices (Sheridan et al., in press). That is, improvements in teachers’ and parents’ practices may depend on CBC consultants’ adherence to or quality of the use of these and other active ingredients addressing the problem-solving objectives of CBC. In like fashion, the integrity with which parents and teachers implement behavioral strategies may moderate observed changes in student behavior across the home and school settings (i.e., effects may be amplified under conditions wherein parents and teachers deliver intervention strategies with fidelity).
Both school and family contexts are the two most important environments for child development, being essential having communication and collaboration between them in order to constitute beneficial environments for children and adolescents. Understanding the influences of both contexts are very important for the analysis of the interconnections between family and school, as well as for the understanding of the peculiarities of both institutions.
Working collaboratively, in a true partnership is the effective way to enhance and empower parents, teachers, and student’s outcomes. A true partnership can provide benefits for all participants and perhaps has positive impact in a broader environment.
Differences in expectations regarding roles and responsibilities (Ramirez, 2003; Yan & Lin, 2005), values (Hill, 2009), and student behavior (Trumbull et al., 2003) create sources of conflict and strain home-school partnerships. One limitations in schools systems is the lack of teacher training in how to partner with parents. Educators often do not receive training in building home-school partnerships or methods to engage families in schools (Hein, 2003). If the Universities and Colleges would provide an effective teaching training, teachers would be more prepared to conduct this relationship and could save time in learning about the principles of a family-school partnership. Instead of receiving training on this issues, they would need only to learn how to implement a given approach, such as CBC per example.
Effective intervention that support achievement through the creation of partnerships may contribute greatly to changing the trajectory students at risk school failure and/or social-emotional disturbance.
CBC has a long history of research and empirical evidence to support parents and teachers, providing positive outcomes in mainly social-emotional and academic outcomes for students. However, more research is needed to better understand the associations, correlations and connections of this approach with the potential outcomes.
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