A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Reaching All Families: Creating Family-Friendly Schools - August 1996


It is well known that when families, educators, and communities all work together, schools get better and students get the high quality education they need to lead productive lives. Education is about discovering the special skills and talents of children and guiding their learning according to high standards.

For me the important and positive news in education is the critical role parents have in developing their children's learning habits. A recent Department report, Reading Literacy in the United States, tells us that there is a substantial gap in the reading scores between schools that involve parents and schools that do not. Principals, teachers, and parents should take heed.

Parents are the essential link in improving American education, and schools simply have to do a better job of reaching out to them. Sending a report card home is not enough. Parents want to help their children succeed in school, and often need guidance on how to be most effective.

This publication is designed for school administrators and teachers, to help them involve parents and families as more active participants in their children's education. The strategies suggested here are appropriate for all students, including students with special needs.

A special emphasis is placed on making all school contacts friendly and welcoming to the diverse families being served. A variety of possible school strategies are discussed. Here are some straightforward suggestions for helping to involve families, both as partners at back-to-school time and throughout the school year.

Richard W. Riley
Secretary of Education


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This page was last updated January 8, 2002 (jca)