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Number 8, Spring 2004
Harvard Family Research Project
Educational Policy and Social Capital
In Questions & Answers, Robert Putnam, professor of public policy at Harvard University, describes the educational policies that affect social capital in schools, such as busing and small schools. He also shares his ideas about the role of extracurricular activities in the formation of social capital, school–community connections to support students and families, and within-school relationships to create a positive school climate.
Catalyzing Social Capital Through Family–School Connections
Social capital, or the networks of trust and reciprocity among groups of people, can be a powerful force to transform education. Program Spotlight illustrates how a community-based organization can act as a catalyst of social capital by bringing together families and school people, and facilitating their dialogue and goal setting.
Empowering Parents as Leaders
The Parent Services Project (PSP) in San Rafael, California, works with several schools to engage parents as empowered members of the school community. In one school it facilitated parent leaders' efforts to strengthen the bonds among parents through a children's soccer game, and to bridge the relationships between parents and teachers of different sociocultural backgrounds through a garden project. Parent Perspective provides further insight into PSP's leadership development process by recounting personal transformation as parents organized a before school and after school homework club.
Connecting Families to Community Resources
Lessons From Leaders presents the insights of four program directors of Capital Kids in Columbus, Ohio, a citywide initiative that provides after school programs for poor children and support services to parents. These directors identify the principles of and activities for connecting families to after school programs and to other community resources.
Free. Available online only.