Aligning theory with practice: Understanding school-family partnerships at an inner-city high school

Terrinieka T. Williams, Bernadette Sánchez, Jessica Hunnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Ideally, theoretical constructs and real world practice should be closely related. The aim of this study was to examine the ways in which ecological principles (i.e., cycling of resources, adaptation, interdependence, and succession) were reflected in school-family partnerships. Parents (n= 15) and school personnel (n= 10) at a predominantly African American inner-city high school participated in in-depth interviews regarding their conceptualizations of parental involvement, home-school interactions and strengths and weaknesses of home-school communication. Four major themes emerged to highlight the connection between the theoretical principles of ecology and the practice of parental involvement: effective communication, initiation of contact, provide and protect, and contextual conditions. Although theory and practice overlap, study findings suggest ways in which the ecological principals might expand to better align with the practice of school-family partnerships in inner-city high schools. Future directions for theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-697
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecological principals
  • Qualitative
  • School-family partnerships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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