Families as Partners: The Essential Link in Children’s Education, by Andrea M. Nelson-Royes (Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland, 2018, 170 pages).
Book Review by Dennis Moore
May 5, 2018 (San Diego) - Andrea M. Nelson-Royes, EdD, an educational researcher and writer, and author of Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers: Promoting Literacy at School, at Home, and within the Community and Success in School and Career: Common Core Standards in Language Arts K-5, continues this trend in advocating for excellence in education, in her new book; Families as Partners: The Essential Link in Children’s Education.
Dr. Nelson-Royes, who holds a doctoral degree in educational and organizational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and her articles having appeared in the Reading Improvement Journal and Illinois Schools Journal, demonstrates in this book her grasp of the subject matter.
Having written reviews of two of the author’s earlier and aforementioned books, along with phone interviews and email communications, this writer has become intimately aware of her thoughts on education.
What struck me about this book is what she said in the preface of this book: “It takes a village to raise a child” is a popular proverb with a clear message that the whole community has an essential role to play in the growth and development of children. Families are the foundation on which our nation was built. Families are what make up our larger communities, and communities are what influence our children positively or negatively.
The essence of what the author attempts to convey in this well written and documented book, is actually demonstrated in the foreword to the book by Ronald W. Holmes, PhD, who states: “When parents are actively involved in the schools, they become more comfortable in working with their children, and students improve their academics, confidence, and attitude about learning. Parents’ involvement allows them to work collaboratively with schools to meet the needs of the academic curriculum and prepare their children for a successful future.”
What the author has written, and what Dr. Holmes has written in the foreword to this book, resonates with me and is like “preaching to the choir”.
The author relies on case studies and her own personal educational experiences in Families as Partners, as specifically stated: “In 1996, the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) was established at Johns Hopkins University to build the capacity of educators to work collaboratively with families and community members to develop comprehensive programs of school, family, and community partnerships that focus on student success.”
Dr. Nelson-Royes further points out in Families as Partners that: “The NNPS was created to meet the growing demand for best-practice models that gave access to expertise in developing partnerships and scale innovation quicker and with greater results. Elementary, middle, and high schools can use the NNPS. It provides professional development, tools, publications, and ongoing guidance to build leadership in partnerships.” The NNPS school model includes these four essential elements:
1. 1. Action team for partnerships
2. 2. Framework of six types of involvement
3. 3. One-year action plan for partnerships
4. 4. Program evaluation
There is a passage in this book; “CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY: IS THERE TOO MUCH TECHNOLOGY VERSUS TOO LITTLE?” that further resonates with me, in which the author states: “There is no answer to the question of whether there is too much classroom technology or too little. Some families and educators believe that children benefit more in school from technological learning devices. On the other hand, others have made convincing arguments against technology use in schools, especially in the early years. Most educators and parents find that technology is beneficial and can also be a distraction.”
Families as Partners: The Essential Link in Children’s Education is a book that parents and teachers alike, who are truly interested in the education and futures of our children, should include in their readings. College educators could also benefit from this book, as I am sure incoming freshman may be a product of its teachings.
The author gives readers of this book, and particularly parents, an opportunity to weigh in on the effectiveness and central theme of Families as Partners in a survey in Appendix B; “The Power of Partnerships Family Survey”. I would encourage everyone reading this book and who are interested in the education of our children to take this survey.
Dennis Moore has been the Associate Editor of the East County Magazine in San Diego and he is the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, as well as a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. Mr. Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.