Powerful Parent Partnerships : Rethinking Family Engagement for Student Success book cover
1st Edition

Powerful Parent Partnerships
Rethinking Family Engagement for Student Success

ISBN 9780815394457
Published August 27, 2018 by Routledge
120 Pages

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USD $34.95

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Book Description

It is essential that we work together to craft powerful parent-teacher partnerships that meet the needs of today’s students and schools. In this important new book, authors Robert Dillon and Melissa Nixon explain how schools and families can work together so that the needs of children are always met. Whether you’re a parent hoping to work more effectively with your child’s teacher, or a principal or teacher looking for ways to understand families’ needs, you’ll be able to use the strategies in this resource to improve your communication and build deeper connections.

Loaded with practical takeaways and sample stories, this book will help you:

  • Clearly communicate a child’s educational goals;
  • Make connections with other schools and school districts to build community and broaden your range of resources;
  • Hold educators accountable without alienating them;
  • Develop communication strategies to address difficult topics like underperformance and misbehavior;
  • Show compassion and gratitude;
  • And more!

With the practical suggestions in this book, you’ll be able to rekindle more engagement and excitement into students' learning at school and at home.

Table of Contents


Meet the Authors



Chapter 1: Forgetting About the Past

Chapter 2: Overcoming the Barriers of Partnership

Chapter 3: Trusting Your Learning Community

Chapter 4: Caring about the Right Things

Chapter 5: Holding Your School Accountable

Chapter 6: Asking the Right Questions

Chapter 7: Surrounding Kids with the Help They Need

Chapter 8: Apples to Apples to Oranges – Comparison Done Right

Chapter 9: Having a Plan B

Chapter 10: Dreaming Big

Chapter 11: Sharing the Excellent Part of the School



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Robert Dillon is an author, speaker, educator, and lifelong learner. His twenty plus years in education has seen him serve kids and families as a teacher, principal, technology director, and innovation leader. He has been honored by Common Sense Media, The Center for Green Schools, the dSchool at Stanford University, the Buck Institute for Education, and Future Ready Schools.

Melissa Nixon has served schools in central North Carolina for over 20 years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and as a district level administrator. Currently, she is a member of the International Board of Directors for Phi Delta Kappa and serves as an adjunct professor at High Point University in High Point, NC.


"The nature of School:Home Communications has shifted in just the last few years. Today educators, schools, districts and parents all have a myriad of options to share information. It can be challenging to find the best outlets, the right types of messages and communicate in the strongest way possible. Robert Dillon and Melissa Nixon lay out a simplified approach that not only can help schools and districts reach more parents but also solidify their place as the center of their communities. A must read for all educators."Steven W. Anderson, Founder and CEO of Web20Classroom

"Powerful Parent Partnerships provides actionable information for all members of your school community. The powerful case studies illustrate the concepts in a way that make each chapter ready to act on. This would make a great text for a book study if your school and district is committed to strengthening the link between families and schools." — Monica Burns, author of Tasks Before Apps and founder of ClassTechTips.com

"Finally, parents and educators have a practical, user-friendly book that tackles the ever evolving role of parents in schools! Powerful Parent Partnerships, which is written for parents first and educators second, gives parents the information and tools to get involved with intentionality, while also helping educators to better understand parents who wish to have an active role in their children's education. So many schools and districts would benefit from making copies of this book available to the community and/or leveraging this work for a book study. Highly recommended!"Ross Cooper, Principal of T. Baldwin Demarest Elementary School, NJ, and author of Hacking Project Based Learning

"As an educator and a mom, I work really hard to avoid earning the ‘that mom’ label while at the same time being a true partner in my children's education. I found the scenarios to be spot on, and a great place of entry for powerful discussions. Powerful Parent Partnerships is a must read book that will send you on a positive path to co-constructing a school experience that will best serve the children in our communities."Melissa Emler, Co-Owner of Modern Learners

"Robert Dillon and Melissa Nixon have crafted a solid resource for any stakeholder wanting to invest in the lives of our children. This book is a must read for any parent or educator seeking to forge a positive and proactive alliance in service and support of all kids. As a school administrator and parent, I am always looking for ways to better leverage the expertise of educators in concert with the first and most important teacher in a child's life--the parent. This book is a great resource for an educator/parent book study chock full of entry points for collaboration."Sean Gaillard, Principal at Lexington Middle School, KY

"Unlike most books written on this topic, Powerful Parent Partnerships is easily digestible. While the book can be read in a couple hours, I’m certain readers will find themselves revisiting chapters often. I found myself nodding my head in agreement with the authors the entire time—especially while reading the case studies that close each chapter. Dillon and Nixon have crafted a book that will be not only useful but necessary for educators and parents alike. I wish this book had been required reading when I was earning my degree."Jon Harper, Vice Principal, Sandy Hill Elementary School, MD

"Powerful Parent Partnerships is a must read for every family with children in school today. Robert Dillon and Melissa Nixon send a strong message about the important role parents play in a school's success. They give practical strategies to support parents in building powerful partnerships and the stories they share are ones that every parent can relate to. Understanding how a school system works can be a frustration of many parents and now there is a book written with passion, empathy and sound advice to engage parents in a way that empowers them and their children. I am excited about the impact this book will have and look forward to recommending Powerful Parent Partnerships to others." Amber Heffner, educator, instructor and executive director of Illinois Computing Educators

"Powerful Parent Partnerships is the book I wish I had when I began my career as a principal. And, now, it's the book I'm thankful I have as the parent of school-age children. The ideas shared in the book are inspiring, practical, and take into consideration the unique needs of school communities. The real-life stories interwoven into the content of this book allow readers to examine the assumptions and beliefs about school that have influenced their practices and reflect on how those beliefs shape their interactions in parent-school spaces. Robert Dillon and Melissa Nixon remind us that powerful parent partnerships are possible, through attention to strong communication, asking the right questions, crafting high expectations for learning, and providing equitable opportunities for all children. It sounds so simple to remind an educator to keep relationships first. But what this book offers are strategies for doing so, at a fundamental level that allow a school leader or classroom teacher to truly get to know and appreciate the parents who send pieces of their hearts into our schools each day. As a parent, I can use the insights, conversation starters, and strategies outlined in this book to approach teachers and administrators with questions or concerns in a constructive way. And, when conflicts arise, as they always do, the problem-solving techniques outlined in this book demonstrate that parent-school relationships are able to be repaired and strengthened moving forward. If you are an administrator or teacher looking to help parents become a more integral part of learning in your school, or a parent wishing to forge stronger connections with your child's learning community, this book is for you."Lyn Hilt, Modern Learners Community Manager and Educational Consultant

"Robert Dillon and Melissa Nixon have written an important book for both parents and educators (and those of us who are both) to read. The book is a thoughtful, practical guide to increasing trust and collaboration between home and school, and everyone involved in school will benefit from its wisdom."Chris Lehmann, Founding Principal, Science Leadership Academy, Philadelphia, PA 

"Robert Dillon and Melissa Nixon offer a powerful and practical approach for all parents who want to form strong relationships with their child’s school. Dillon and Nixon’s experience as both educators and parents gives them distinct insight into how to navigate the complex world of today’s schools. Through vignettes and specific advice, their approach to partnerships is invaluable to both parents and educators. Whether it’s asking the right questions, getting necessary resources and supports, overcoming barriers, or focusing on what really matters when assessing a school, Dillon and Nixon make it clear that we all have a story to tell. When we know each other’s histories, experiences, needs and dreams, our schools can provide the building blocks for children’s future. Dillon and Nixon give us a blueprint to build that foundation."Joshua P. Starr, CEO of PDK International

"When it comes to the "how to" in how to develop partnerships, look no further than Robert Dillon and Melissa Nixon's new book, written by professional educators who have devoted their lives to improving education. In Powerful Parent Partnerships, Dillon and Nixon turn tightly honed concepts into practice. They have a message for us all: 'You can be a part of the solution.' And with this book, they light the path for anyone to follow. This book will not only give you the 'why,' but also the how. As a practicing administrator, Powerful Parent Partnerships is definitely the roadmap to hone my leadership, allowing my parent partnerships and staff an environment where all can thrive."Amber Teamann, Principal, Whitt Elementary, Wylie ISD, TX

"This is a powerful book for educators and families. Powerful Parent Partnerships builds on the work of Joyce Epstein, a recognized pioneer in School-Family-Community Partnerships, and shares timely recommendations for supporting students and families. This book provides a starting point for transforming schools."Steven M. Weber, Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Fayetteville Public Schools, AR

"In education, an important truth is that students with parents who are actively involved in their school tend to have more success in school. As we strive for innovative pedagogy in our classrooms, it is more important than ever that we invest our students’ parents in the learning process. Powerful Parent Partnerships is a wonderful roadmap for doing just that. The authors cover a great deal of ground in this powerful book, showing how we can overcome barriers, build trust, ask the right questions, and deal openly with and learn from the mistakes we will inevitably make along the way. Dillon and Nixon have made a compelling case for strengthening the bond between families and schools." Jeffrey Zoul, Ed.D., Author, Speaker, Leadership Coach, and President of ConnectEDD