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Standard 7

Family-School Collaboration

The program provides candidates with opportunities and experiences to display an understanding of the ways in which pupil development, well being, and learning are enhanced by family-school collaboration. The program requires candidates to work with parents to foster respectful and productive family-school collaboration.


PPS candidates are provided with the knowledge and experience to understand and appreciate the importance of family-school relationships to pupil development and learning. Candidates also develop knowledge and skills to overcome barriers to family development and apply family-centered approaches to collaboration. Demonstration that each content area has been satisfactorily learned and applied is evidenced by a passing grade in the relevant courses, an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and a grade of "Credit" for the field practicum. The courses that address each of the content areas are listed and discussed below.

Importance of family-school relationships

Candidates acquire foundation knowledge of the importance of the family andschool contexts to pupil development in S Wrk 212; Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multi Systems Approach. There is careful examination of the various developmental phases of school-age children and the necessary environmental supports to allow for healthy development and achievement of academic potential. For example, see course content on Theoretical Perspectives for Understanding Families.

S Wrk 227, Social Work Practice with Couples and Families, provides an in-depth exposure to the structure and functioning of families and effective methods of intervention in family systems. For families with school-age children, effective intervention includes the development and maintenance of positive family-school relationships. Both School Social Work/CWA courses, S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, provide practice content specific to the school setting. The central role of the school social worker as the link between home and school is emphasized. For example, see course content in S Wrk 275, Topic: ParentInvolvement.

The field practicum in the schools, S Wrk 282/283, provides the opportunity for candidates to apply classroom learning to practice in the schools. Candidates regularly participate in field placement learning assignments which facilitate positive family-school relationships, such as home visits, IEP meetings, and parent-teacher meetings.

Overcoming barriers to family involvement

S Wrk 213, Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Diversity and Oppression, provides foundation content for cross cultural competency that emphasizes: 1) the importance of understanding the role of oppression and social power in the lives of diverse groups, 2) the best practice methodologies for learning about diverse others, and 3) attention to the relevance of practice methods and approaches for diverse populations.

S Wrk 212, Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multi Systems Approach presents foundation content to understand the organizational factors that can interfere with parental involvement, ranging from physical structures, staff attitudes, and methods of communication. Using a multi-systems perspective, the advanced concentration practice courses (S Wrk 224, 225, 227, 246, 247) provide content on issues that may arise in engaging parents in educational efforts such as family perception of school activities and school support for parent involvement. They also learn practice strategies for facilitating family involvement, including building working relationships with families through outreach, support and cultural sensitivity. For example, see S Wrk 227 content on The Family as a Focus of Intervention. The School Social Work/CWA courses, S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, provide information on the public schools as a social work practice context which facilitates candidate understanding of barriers to family involvement. The concurrent field practicum in the schools, S Wrk 282/283, allows for the application and integration of classroom content in working to overcome barriers to family involvement. All PPS candidates are required to complete both organizational and family practice assignments.

Family-centered approaches to collaboration

A family-centered approach to collaboration is a natural "fit" with the values of the social work profession. PPS candidates gain foundation knowledge about methods of collaboration in S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221, Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II, and S Wrk 212: Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multi Systems Approach. Social Work Practice with Couples and Families, S Wrk 227, provides methods for effective intervention at the family systems level, including approaches such as family centered collaboration. The Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools courses, S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, present practice strategies specific to the school setting in work with pupils, families and school personnel. Theory and practice information is provided regarding collaboration with parents, families, school personnel and other relevant constituencies in support of pupil learning. For example, see course content from S Wrk 274 on Collaboration with School Personnel, Families and Community.

The field practicum in the schools, S Wrk 282/283, allows candidates to apply knowledge and practice strategies in family centered collaboration. For example, see the following learning assignment in the S Wrk 283 learning agreement: Provide advanced social work services to a minimum of 2 couples/familiesutilizing a family-centered approach to practice.

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