The Partnering for School Success (PSS) project is a collection of related programs and resources. Together they aim to:
Strengthen the interaction and partnerships between parents and children, and parents and schools.
Increase parents' knowledge and skills to navigate the school system.
Build parents' self-efficacy to help their children succeed in school.
Increase the number of students graduating from high school.
Increase the number of students continuing on to higher education.
The Partnering for school success project has been in development since 2000.
In 2000, Sandra Christenson, Ph.D., professor in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota, performed a literature review on student achievement. She asked: what is the influence of educators, families and community members on student achievement? Through that research, she identified six factors that are important for school success:
- Expectations (See more about the research: Standards and expectations.)
- Structure (See more about the research: Structure.)
Learning. (See more about the research: Learning.)
Support. (See more about the research: Support.)
Relationships. (See more about the research: Relationships.)
- Modeling. (See more about the research: Modeling.)
These factors show the important role that parents play in their children's education. An Extension Department of Family, Health and Wellbeing project team explored this topic with Dr. Christenson. The team developed a handbook for parents based on these factors. Learning from You: All Parents are Teachers was published late 2000.
In 2006, the team began a process to review and update the Learning from You: All Parents are Teachers publication. The team consulted with Dr. Christenson about her updates of the original research. The project team proceeded with revised the publication, renaming it Parenting for School Success: A Guide for Parents.
The team wanted to make sure the publication was valid and usable across cultures. Several multi-cultural focus groups were conducted. This research showed that some elements of the publication were not culturally appropriate. This was particularly true for those individuals who did not originate from the dominant English-speaking Western European countries.
It is well known that students of color are at risk for not doing well academically. (For a summary on how Latino students are doing in this area, see Why is the EOBL program important?) Despite this, much of the research on school success has been on the Caucasian population. There had been little research focus on students of color.
In 2007, the project team received multi-year funding from the McKnight Foundation to further explore this area. This project, Parenting for School Success, was later renamed Partnering for School Success. The funding was to:
Conduct a series of cultural-specific focus groups.
Develop appropriate educational resources to encourage school success.
During the five years of the original grant the project team:
Conducted focus groups with both the Latino and African American cultural groups (2007-2008). Get more information on the Latino focus group findings on Development of the EOBL program.
Conducted focus groups with agencies serving families in each cultural group (2008).
Published an updated version of the parent handbook. This was renamed Parenting for School Success: A Guide for Parents (2008).
Conducted focus groups with Somali and Hmong cultural groups (2009).
A follow-up grant was received in 2010 from the McKnight Foundation. This extra funding allowed the team to also conduct focus groups with the American Indian cultural group.
For all but the English-speaking groups, a cultural guide-led process was adopted. The team contracted with two individuals from within the cultural group. The cultural guides assisted with:
Establishing the focus group process.
Interpreting focus group results.
Presenting the results to the community.
Identifying any next steps needed for the community.
Identifying and assisting in development of education resources for the community. The goal of these resources would be to raise awareness of the issues and improve school success.
The team also partnered with the Cultural Wellness Center to help guide the process with the African American cultural group.
The Partnering for School Success work has continued.
The Education: Our Best Legacy (Educación: Nuestra mejor herencia in Spanish) program was developed. This program and curriculum is based on the work started with the Latino focus groups and cultural guides. There is a version for Latino families and another version for non-Latino mixed audiences.
In 2012 the team received a five year grant from Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR). This grant continued the work started with the Latino focus groups and Education: Our Best Legacy program. See more about the Partnering for School Success CYFAR (PSS CYFAR) project.
The team developed take-and-teach lessons based on the original research. These lessons help parents better support their children's education. See more about the Partnering for school success take and teach lessons.