“Strengthening School-Family-Community Cooperation for a Better Education and a Better Future for Children” is a comprehensive project that was implemented by CAF experts with the financial support of Open Society Foundation Albania (OSFA – SOROS) in two primary and secondary schools of Rubik and Polis in Mirdita and Librazhd Districts. The project started in June 2011 and ended in May 2012.
The project aimed at the establishment and strengthening of school-family-community co-operation and the increase of parents’ active involvement.
Implementation Methodology:The project was implemented through a participatory approach, which ensured an active involvement of all the beneficiaries and stakeholders.
Some of the main activities of the project were:
1-Preparation, publication and distribution of leaflets and posters on the School-Family-Community co-operation and the importance of parent involvement
2-Awareness-raising meetings with project beneficiaries and other stakeholders on the main elements of the project and the importance of their active involvement in its successful implementation
3-Awareness-raising workshops with 150 teachers, school directors/administrators, parents and students on the importance of S-F-C co-operation and partnership
4-Two-day training of about 60 teachers and school directors of the target schools on the effective communication, successful techniques and methods of parent involvement and S-F-C co-operation
This training was mainly focused on: • The importance and effective ways of parent involvement in the whole education process, • Teachers’ beliefs and practices of parent involvement, • Effective techniques of communication, co-operation and problem-solving with children and adults, • Some of the results of national and international studies and research on practices of parent involvement, • Effective methods of improving school-family-community partnership, • Six ways of parent involvement, and their impact on the students’ interest, motivation and results in school: 1)Parenting, 2)Communicating, 3) Volunteering, 4) Learning at home, 5) Decision making and 6) Collaborating with the community. • Various involvement techniques grouped into five categories.
The training was organized through a participatory approach that involved various participatory methods such as: Power Point presentation, free discussions, pair and group work and role play.
5-Training of 100 parents on effective techniques of communication and co-operation and on successful methods of involvement in their children’s education:
This specific training, which was conducted by CAF experts, was focused on: a) The importance of parent involvement and School-Family-Community cooperation; b) Effective techniques of communication, cooperation and problem solving c) Effective methods of parent involvement and importance of a comprehensive program of School-Family-Community cooperation.
All the parents expressed their high appreciation and emphasized the significance of this training to the increase of their awareness on the importance of their active involvement in their child’s education and to the improvement of their communication and co-operation skills.
6-Workshop with about 100 school children on the importance of parent involvement and strengthening of communication and co-operation among parents, teachers and students.
Children were actively involved in the whole project implementation process. In order for them to become important actors in the establishment and strengthening of this co-operation, we organized two workshops in the two target schools with 100 students altogether, where there were discussed different issues related to the importance of parent involvement and its positive impact on the achievement of this co-operation, on the improvement of communication and relationship between them, and on the improvement of the quality of education and students’ achievements.
7-Two workshops with 60 school administrators, teachers, parents, students and other actors to prepare a well designed school-family-community co-operation program and a one-year action plan.
Teachers, students, parents and local authorities were introduced to the importance of school-family-community co-operation and effective ways of parent involvement and worked together to share their opinion, ideas, suggestions and recommendations not only for the designing of a cooperation program, but also for its successful implementation. Establishment of the Action Team for Cooperation was a very important element of the workshop. Its 12 members (4 parents, 4 teachers and 4 students) were selected in a democratic way by all the participating parents, teachers and students.
8-Implementation of various activities that contributed to the improvement of parent involvement and strengthening of School-Family-Community Cooperation as an integral part of their Cooperation program and Annual Action plan:
• “Preparation and distribution of special invitations to all the families for participation in different activities”; • “Distribution of Wishing Cards to all the families of the community for the new Year’s Holiday”; • “Celebration of Mothers’ Day in the school environment”;
• “Organization of the Sports Day”, • “Organization of exhibitions” • “Preparation of wall paintings and various posters with strong messages on the importance of parent involvement and S-F-C co-operation”;
• “Painting of classrooms and cleaning of the whole school environment”; • “Planting of flowers and trees and placement of new stools in the school yard”
Along with these activities, designed, implemented and attended by teachers, students, school directors/administrators, parents and other community members in cooperation with the ATP, CAF introduced a few innovative ideas that were embraced and converted by them into very successful projects with highly positive results. They were: • Organization of the “Good Word Day”;
• Organization of the “Parents’ Day”; and
• “Establishment of Parents’ Room/Corner in the school building”.
The successful implementation of these and the other activities had a great contribution to the creation of a more welcoming school climate, better teacher-parent-student communication and relationships, higher parent involvement, hence better school-family-community cooperation.