Conceptual and Theoretical

The Family-School-Community Alliance is grounded in the ecological systems theoretical model, applied behavior analysis, and research examining family-school partnerships (Bronfenbrenner, 1977; Christenson & Sheridan, 2001; Sugai & Horner, 2002).  Developed by Bronfenbrenner (1977), ecological systems theory proposes that an understanding of human development “requires examination of multiperson systems of interaction not limited to a single setting” (p. 514). Specifically, each individual is nested within a series of systems, which make up their ecological environment.  Within the widely practiced model of school-wide behavior support, “family support and communication” is cited as a crucial component of individual student support within the school system (Sugai & Horner, 2002). In sum, these theoretical models emphasize the dynamic and powerful relationship between schools and families within the context of youth development and functioning.


The Family-School-Community Alliance posits several key properties.  First, family-school partnerships improve youth social, emotional, behavioral and academic functioning by implementing evidence-based interventions at home and at school and through improving the family-school/facility/program connection (Dishion et al., 2008; McGilloway et al., 2012; Sanders, 2010; Sheridan et al., 2012; Smolkowski et al., 2017). Second, family-school partnerships improve family well-being and quality of life (Jeynes, 2012; Stormshak et al., 2011). Third, family-school partnerships build family and youth knowledge and skills in problem solving and evidence-based interventions by co-creating priorities and plans, carrying-out joint plans, and sharing in decision-making (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001; Sheridan et al., 2013). Fourth, family-school partnerships improve school/facility/program climate through improved community-family-educator-youth relationships and communication, and improved cross-setting congruence (Mapp & Hong, 2010; Weiss & Edwards, 1992).

Kid experimenting

FSCA is housed within Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. ©2019 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.

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