A school and the community that it serves have a close, interrelated relationship. Every school should have three types of information about the community that it serves.¹
First, information about the composition of the community should be discovered. This can include income, education level, and occupations of most of the parents. The school should know what the community opinion is on broad educational issues. Finally, the school should also have familiarity with the educational resources available in the community.
Information about the community can be gathered in many informal ways. Some of these include reading the newspaper, talking with community members at shops and stores, or just walking down the street to observe the community atmosphere. Schools can also perform a community survey to gather information.
An individual school or a school board can carry out community surveys. The surveys usually investigate or cover major policy changes or study what the community believes to be the major goals of education.¹ Many school surveys cover specific problems such as smoking areas in schools or school policies concerning student absenteeism.¹
Some teachers and principles reach out further and perform home visits to individual students’ homes. Teachers and principles may visit homes because there is teacher-student hostility or a student does not feel comfortable meeting in the school,¹ If possible, when meeting a family at their own home the teacher or principle should ensure that they meet both parents at the same time.¹
1. Lucas, Barry and Loraine Thompson. School-Community Relations Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.saskschoolboards.ca/old/ResearchAndDevelopment/ResearchReports/SchoolImprovement/66.htm
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