Foundational Aspects of Family–School Connections: Definitions, Conceptual Frameworks, and Research Needs

  • Elizabeth Moorman Kim
  • Susan M. Sheridan
Part of the Research on Family-School Partnerships book series (RFSP, volume 1)


Connections between families and schools are viewed as a key element of children’s positive adjustment, and are linked to children’s academic, social, emotional, and behavioral functioning. However, there is great variability in how these connections are defined and conceptualized. This chapter provides a brief description of some of the core features of family–school connections. The key elements of two commonly employed approaches to family–school connections are outlined. Structural approaches are conceptualized as those that focus on activities and behaviors of parents to promote their children’s development and learning. Relational approaches are conceptualized as those that focus on partnerships between families and schools to support children across social, emotional, behavioral, and academic domains. Although these two approaches share some core features of family–school connections, they are often undertaken in isolation. The goal of this chapter is to bring together these two approaches and orient them within the broader context of family–school connections. Building on this metamodel of family–school partnerships, a research agenda focused on a framework of relationally embedded family–school connections is offered.


Parental involvement Family-school partnerships Family-school connections Structural approaches Relational approaches Continuity Consistency Ecological models 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and SchoolsUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools, National Center for Research on Rural EducationUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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