About the Program
Minnesota ranks 37th in graduation rates for students of color. Research by Christenson & Sheridan (2001) showed that there are six factors that affect school success but it was unclear as to how approach these factors within specific cultural groups in Minnesota.
In 2008 the Extension Center for Family Development partnered with the Children, Youth & Family Consortium to explore culture and school success. Specifically we were interested about school success in the following cultural groups: Caucasian, Latino, African American, Somali, Hmong, and American Indian. Funding was partially provided by the McKnight Foundation.
A team of program educators and administrators, research and evaluation specialists, and cultural guides formed to research and address this topic. The cultural guide process is a unique approach that can provide valuable insight and connection when preparing culturally appropriate resources. The team members included the following people.
- Kathleen Olson, Team Leader, Extension Educator – Family Relations
- Colleen Gengler, Extension Educator – Family Relations (retired)
- Jo Musich, Extension Educator – Family Relations (retired)
- Patricia Stoppa, Extension Educator – Family Relations (resigned)
- Madge Alberts, Program Coordinator – Children, Youth & Family Consortium (retired)
- Cathy Jordan, Director – Children, Youth & Family Consortium
- Heather Lee, Project Manager – Extension Center for Family Development
Research and evaluation team:
- Mary Marczak, Evaluation and Research Specialist, Extension Center for Family Development
- Arthur Brown, Research Associate, Family Development (contract ended)
- African American project: Jessica Black and Jolene Mason (both through 2009)
- Latino project: Silvia Piccardo (through 2009) and Victoria Campoverde
- Hmong project: Pangjua Xiong, Pa Kou Yangx (through 2009), and Bounthavy “Vee” Kiatoukaysy
- Somali project: Abdullahi Sheikh, Farhiya Farah (through 2010), and Nadifa Osman
- American Indian project: Jeanine Downwind-Jubera and Luann Frazer (through 2011)
The team conducted a series of focus groups with parents and service providers in each of the cultural groups. The team then analyzed the results and made recommendations for the type of information the cultural group needed most as well as the best format to reach them through.
Where We Are Now
Partnering for School Success (PSS) is program that was developed as a result of these research and outreach efforts. PSS offers research-based training and practical ideas and tools for schools and parents to increase effective parent involvement with their children’s learning, both in school and at home. The core content that makes up the PSS program is more than culturally-adapted; it has been co-created with the target cultural group.
We continue to develop, test, and validate the training and/or educational resources that were created as part of the PSS project. Future work includes:
- Evaluate training from school trainings and establish “best practices.”
- Develop materials as a result of cultural focus groups, i.e. curriculum for parents in Spanish and English, videos for Hmong and Somali parents on school success, and a American Indian training.
- Evaluate the African American Educational Systems Navigator pilot position.
- Develop training for cultural specific classes, curriculum, or materials.
- Develop additional website resources for parents and schools.
- Share results with professionals working with families of other cultures.
As a continuation of this work, we started a five year CYFAR project to continue to expand the efforts of our Latino program. We are actively seeking other funding and partnerships to further develop our other cultural projects.
For more information on the Partnering for School Success program, Contact Us.
Research on the Factors for School Success — A summary of the empirical support for the six factors that emerged from a comprehensive literature review of the effect of family, school, and community influences on children's learning.
- Research: Introduction
- Research: Standards and Expectations
- Research: Structure
- Research: Learning
- Research: Relationships
- Research: Support
- Research: Modeling
Parenting for School Success: A Guide for Parents — Provides busy parents with practical ideas that support school success, parent involvement, and more effective parenting.
Children, Youth & Family Consortium — Aims to educate professionals, translate research, and generate knowledge to enhance practice and inform policies that positively influence the education and health of children, youth, and families.