Medium 9781475823875

Jspr Vol 28-N1

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The Journal of School Public Relations is a quarterly publication providing research, analysis, case studies and descriptions of best practices in six critical areas of school administration: public relations, school and community relations, community education, communication, conflict management/resolution, and human resources management. Practitioners, policymakers, consultants and professors rely on the Journal for cutting-edge ideas and current knowledge. Articles are a blend of research and practice addressing contemporary issues ranging from passing bond referenda to building support for school programs to integrating modern information.

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Notes From the Editor

ePub

THEODORE J. KOWALSKI

The relations that school personnel maintain with parents are arguably one of the most important facets of public relations. This issue provides several research articles that examine this topic. The first one, written by Thomas R. Guskey, Carolyn S. Ellender, and Sunwoo Kang, all at the University of Kentucky, reports the results of a 1st-year evaluation of a parent/family involvement program. Their findings raise insightful questions about participant attitudes and the nexus between attitudes and actual involvement with schools.

The second article, authored by Curt M. Adams with the San Miguel School of Tulsa and Patrick B. Forsyth from Oklahoma State University, examines the effects of formal and centralized school structures. More precisely, the researchers explore ways in which such structures can be modified to erect a culture in which parents trust school officials and are encouraged to collaborate with school personnel.

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Evaluating a Community-Wide Parent and Family Involvement Program

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THOMAS R. GUSKEY

CAROLINE S. ELLENDER

SUNWOO KANG

ABSTRACT: This article describes the 1st-year evaluation of a community-wide parent and family involvement program initiated in a midsized Southeast community and school district. The program consists of three major components: community-wide efforts, school–home communication, and home involvement. Formative and summative evaluation data were gathered through survey forms, telephone interviews, and focus groups involving parents, school administrators, teachers, and students. Results show that community-wide efforts were favorably regarded by participants but led to relatively few changes in parents’ levels of involvement. School administrators and teachers viewed most aspects of school–home communication as more positive and more effective than did parents. All stakeholders considered home involvement important, but discrepancies were evident among the responses made by teachers, parents, and students. Recommendations for improving parent involvement programs are discussed.

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Promoting a Culture of Parent Collaboration and Trust: An Empirical Study

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CURT M. ADAMS

PATRICK B. FORSYTH

ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effects of formalized and centralized school structures on 2 emergent concepts in the study of school reform, trust, and collaboration. Trust and collaboration were examined from the perspective of parents, as opposed to internal school agents such as teachers or students. Three hierarchical multiple regressions identified the effects of an enabling school structure on parent–school trust, parent–principal trust, and parent collaboration. The results suggest that rules and formal control structures can be applied in ways that foster a culture supportive of parent trust and collaboration. Further, such structures mitigate the negative influence of nonmanipulable contextual conditions.

Promoting parent–school partnerships is an effective means to enhance school and student performance, but shaping a culture supportive of such partnerships is not easy. It is challenging for school role groups (i.e., teachers, parents, students, and administrators) to deal with the numerous issues associated with operating schools collectively and effectively. Arguably, it is the responsibility of school leaders to create a social system that enables role groups to resolve differences openly and nonconfrontationally. Establishing such an environment requires an awareness of the challenges associated with building strong relational networks. Trust and collaboration are two organizational conditions that make it possible for parents and school personnel to develop strong and lasting partnerships. This being the case, it is important to explore how influential the contextual environment and structural framework are in producing interactions and experiences necessary for collaborative and trusting school relationships.

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Mind the Gaps: Exploring the Use of Technology to Facilitate Parental Involvement, Particularly for Historically Underserved Populations

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JONATHAN D. BECKER

ABSTRACT: Decades of research establishes positive associations between parental involvement and a number of important student outcomes, including student achievement. Furthermore, a number of technological innovations make facilitating parental involvement more possible than ever. Those possibilities, however, require varying levels of technological sophistication and infrastructure developments in the homes and communities. That a well-documented digital divide exists between low-income and more-affluent communities means that students and families who live in low-income communities—generally, people of color—can be denied access to opportunities for meaningful involvement in and engagement with the schools. To avoid creating an opportunity gap, school leaders must therefore understand and work with the families and communities whom they serve as they move toward technological facilitation of home–school–community connections.

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Proactive Administrative Ecology: Assisting Superintendents With Board and Public Relations Through the Use of Career Counselors

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AUGUSTUS C. MCGARITY III

RONALD A. STYRON

MIKE WARD

DAVID SCHOEN

ABSTRACT: This study examines the potential for educational services by career counselors within administrative relationship domains through a case example. It explores the usefulness of career counseling intervention to facilitate career progress through superintendent–school board relationship difficulties as the superintendent attempts to implement reforms and improve student achievement. Reflections and discussions are used at critical moments during the case study to examine factors that divert the superintendent’s attention from instructional matters and career goals by identifying effective community and board relationship strategies while addressing current contextually based relational perspectives facilitating career progress.

This study examines through a case example the potential for proactive services provided by career counselors within the administrative environment of superintendents. The usefulness of career counseling intervention to facilitate positive public relations as the superintendent attempts to implement reforms and improve student achievement while navigating superintendent–school board and superintendent–community relationship difficulties is evaluated. The focus is two pronged: first, to define pathways for career counselors to assist superintendents to function effectively with cumbersome political distractions by using positive public relational strategies; second, to provide superintendents with insight concerning the possible benefits of using a career counselor to proactively assist in public relations during career advancement. Even though all names have been changed within the study example, this case can be used through reflection and discussion to examine factors that divert the superintendent’s attention from instructional matters and career goals. Effective community and board relationship strategies are identified within current contextually based relational perspectives, thereby facilitating career progress and positive public relations for the superintendent.

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