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The community school as a means of involving parents and community in the education of children; an exploratory study
The purpose of this study was to assess the Community School Program’s effect on parent and community involvement in the schools, and parent participation in support of children’s learning. A secondary goal was to start to evaluate the Community School Program’s effect on the reduction of vandalism. Five hypotheses were identified: Hypothesis one was that involvement in the Community School Program would result in increased parent participation in activities that support children’s learning. Hypothesis two was that parent involvement in the Community School Program was related to the parents’ perception of improvement in their children’s’ grades. Hypothesis three stated that parent’s participation in the children’s learning results in improvement in the children’s grades. Hypothesis four was that existence of the community school results in greater parent and community participation in the schools. Hypothesis five states that existence of the community school causes reduction in vandalism. Four schools from the San Jose area with a similar socioeconomic population were selected for study. Data were gathered by means of a questionnaire to parents about their activities in the schools and with their children. A questionnaire was also sent to each of the four school administrators to obtain information about the population and figures on school vandalism. Data were placed on the computer program at California State University, Northridge. The first three hypotheses were analyzed with a Pearson r. A correlated t test was used for hypothesis four. Evaluation of hypothesis five was based on information obtained from school administrators. For hypothesis one a weak relationship was found between involvement in the community school and parent participation in support of children's learning. Significance at the p .05 level was found for the school longest in the program and with the greatest number of parents involved. No relationship was found for hypothesis two, that involvement in the community school is related to parent's perception of improvement in children's grades. It was noted that the need for improvement had not been established for the population studied. For hypothesis three, parents' participation in activities that support their own children’s learning is related to improvement in their children's grades, one school was at the p .05 level of significance. It was again felt that a more indicative result would be obtained in a school with a program to assist parents; and a corresponding population of children who need assistance. The fourth hypothesis, existence of the Community School Program results in greater parent and community participation in the schools, was supported at the p .05 level of significance in two schools and in the sum total of the four schools. Since the two schools that scored at significance level were the oldest in the program, it was felt that with time to develop, the Community School Program is capable of meeting this goal. The fifth hypothesis, existence of the community school results in a decrease of vandalism, was verified by the figures supplied. However, lack of an agreed upon definition of what constitutes vandalism made it impossible to state that this finding is conclusive. The object of this exploratory study was to become familiar with the goals of the Community School Program and delineate problems for further study. It was concluded that when the community school has existed for a sufficiently long time, support for hypotheses one, three and four appear. It was recommended that measurable data about the program be established by evaluating predetermined goals through pre- and posttesting of selected populations.