Successful engagement between schools and parents, whānau and communities is largely influenced by the extent to which schools are aware of their community and responsive to it. West-Burnham and Otero (2004) suggest that:
a school that is visible in society can be seen as a ‘social school’, a school that is of the community not just in the community. 1
The eight schools in this report are working towards being schools ‘of their community’ not just ‘in their community’. This endeavour requires strong and committed leadership, where relationships are valued and set in a positive school culture. Partnerships with parents, whānau and members of the wider community are developed through effective community networks and the use of timely, useful and appropriate communication processes. A feature in all of these schools was the spirit in which everyone in the community worked together to develop and strengthen partnerships for the benefit of students’ learning and well-being.
Schools and parents, whānau and communities can use this report to review and reflect on the extent to which established partnerships contribute to successful engagement. A set of indicators, developed from this evaluation, is included inAppendix 1: Indicators of successful home-school engagement. These indicators reflect ERO’s findings about what works well in schools that are successful in engaging parents, whānau and communities.