School Family Community Partners (SFCP)

Middletown School District wins the National Network Partnership Award

Improving Student Achievement through Partnerships

Middletown's schools have long recognized the importance of community support and participation in our programs.

The district's Partnership Coordinator maintains a plan to create and sustain district level leadership and support for the school partnership efforts. The district plan includes creation of school-level Partnership Action Teams designed to engage families and the community in supporting student achievement. Research has conclusively shown the importance of family involvement in children's education to student success.

Students with involved parents, no matter what their income or background, are more likely to:
  • Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher level programs
  • Be promoted, pass their classes and earn credits
  • Attend school regularly
  • Have better social skills, show improved behavior and adapt well to school.
  • Graduate and go on to post-secondary education
Do Partnership matter?
  • Upgraded school facilities
  • Improved school leadership and staffing
  • Higher quality learning programs to students
  • New resources and programs to improve teaching and curriculum
  • Resource for after school programs and family support
  • Increased social and political capital of participants

The district is part of the National Network of Partnership Schools out of Johns Hopkins University and has adopted Joyce Epstein's framework for partnerships, which identifies six key types of involvement that schools and districts can use to plan and organize partnership activities:

1. Parenting - promote and support parenting skills and the family's primary role in encouraging children's learning at every age and grade level;

2. Communicating - promote ongoing, meaningful and effective two-way communication among schools, families and the community about school programs and children's progress;

3. Volunteering - provide appropriate training and involve families and community members in instructional and support areas both in and out of the school;

4. Learning at home - involve families in learning activities at home and in the community, including interactive homework and other curriculum-linked enrichment activities;

5. Decision making - provide opportunities for all families to develop and strengthen their leadership role in school decisions; and

6. Collaborating with the community - enable schools and families to access resources from businesses, social service agencies and other groups, and serve as resources to the community.

All schools have established school level action teams, received training on the project, and have launched initiatives around family literacy, school climate, supporting learning at home and promoting parent/adolescent communication.

The SFCP Project is a collaboration between the State Department of Education, SERC, and the Parent Information Resource Center (PIRC). Since 1995 the SFCP Project has been using this framework to support schools as they work to build and maintain partnerships that foster student learning and success. The SFCP Project's research revealed the importance of leadership and the significance of turnover of school leaders. District leadership for School Family comunity Partnerships has institutionalized support for school-level Partnership Action Teams.