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Volume 13, Number 5
September/October 1997

Family Involvement in Schools


Sharon Williams considers herself a very lucky parent.

Her three children attend Boston's Patrick O'Hearn Elementary School, where parent involvement is a high priority. The principal and staff devote time and energy to encouraging parents to play an active role in the school, everywhere from the classroom to the school management council.

"Parents have a real voice here," says Williams, a single parent. "If you have a concern, they will listen. If there's something the parents really feel we want to change, we can usually work with the staff and get it changed."

But satisfied as she is, Williams does have a problem. Next year her oldest daughter will have to leave the O'Hearn to begin middle school.

"I'm looking at the middle schools now, and I don't see one out there with that same commitment to the parents," Williams says. "I need a school for my daughter that has that. I've had that at O'Hearn, and I guess you could say they spoiled me."

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.