When others were questioning whether schools would ever be suitable or willing partners in efforts to help distressed families raise healthy and literate children, the Harvard Family Research Project was busy tracking down programs that were already working.
The project, which set out in the late 1980s to study family-related programs linked to schools, has released its most comprehensive guide to school-community partnerships. The 540-page report explores research, relationships, organizations, and evaluation strategies that can pave the way for successful interventions.
It also profiles 73 community partnerships that work with families of young children. The profiles are organized by type of emphasis--such as family literacy, teen parenting, and children with special needs--and by characteristics, including funding sources, curriculum, and links to schools and community groups.
These efforts, the report says, can't succeed without teachers who grasp the importance of home and community and who work closely with family workers to build better parent-school bonds.
Copies of "Raising Our Future: Families, Schools, and Communities Joining Together," by Heather B. Weiss, are available for $30.54 each (including shipping) from the Harvard Family Research Project, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Longfellow Hall, Appian Way, Cambridge, Mass. 02138.
The National Community Building Network is always on the lookout for new members and ideas. The network, launched in 1993, is made up of people working in foundation-sponsored initiatives to reduce poverty and create economic opportunity in urban areas.
Its members, representing about 50 organizations in 21 cities, meet and maintain contact regularly to discuss common concerns about how to promote comprehensive community collaborations and stake out a role in related local, state, and federal policy.
One of the group's recent projects was to put together a "Community Builders' Guide to Telecommunications Technology." A draft of the report and information about the network are available from Ed Ferran, National Community Building Network, care of Urban Strategies Council, 672 13th St., Oakland, Calif. 94612; (510-893-2404), e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center for Family-Friendly Cities at the University of Akron is inviting mayors, city managers, and civic leaders to contribute to its new clearinghouse and database. The center is also launching an international electronic network on the Internet so that cities can compare notes on family-friendly programs.
More information is available from Helen K. Cleminshaw, Executive Director, Center for Family-Friendly Cities, University of Akron, Schrank Hall South 210, Akron, Ohio 44325-6103; (216) 972-8885, e-mail email@example.com.
--Deborah L. Cohen