In her presentation, New Directions: Programs of School, Family, and Community Partnerships for Student Success, Dr. Epstein will discuss seven principles drawn from her research that change the design and conduct of research on school, family, and community partnerships and that improve education policy and practice. These principles change old ideas about parent involvement to new ways of understanding programs of family and community engagement as a required component of school organization—not a topic that is external to the school, off the side, or on a back burner for school improvement. Rather, school, family, and community partnerships must be planned, goal-linked, evaluated, and continually improved to engage all families and community partners in ways that increase student achievement, attendance, good behavior, and postsecondary plans for college and careers.
Dr. Epstein has been conducting basic research, theory development, applied research, and program development on school, family, and community partnerships at Johns Hopkins University since 1981. She and colleagues studied school practices, parents’ responses, and results for students in the elementary, middle, and high school grades, followed by studies of district-level leadership to understand the components of effective partnership programs. In 1995, she established the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS), which provides professional development to enable school, district, state, and organization leaders to implement research-based programs of family and community involvement that contribute to student success in school.