KINGSTON, Jamaica — With over 20 years experience as an education researcher in the United States, Andrea Nelson-Royes has shared her knowledge through numerous papers and five books. Her latest is Families as Partners: The Essential Link in Children’s Education.
Released in May, the book offers solutions to challenges students, parents and administrators face in secondary schools. ‘Families as Partners‘ primary focus is strengthening ties between families and the school which is not only relevant to North America, but Jamaica as well.
Nelson-Royes, who was born in Clarendon, is eager to introduce her book to Jamaicans.
“Being Jamaican, as I have with my previous books, I relish the opportunity to make contact with the Jamaican education ministry to have this book implemented into their educational system,” she said.
Her extensive research drew data from respected think tanks like Harvard University, which shows how family still has an important role in developing a child’s confidence, education and life skills.
Jamaica’s education minister Ruel Reid has also made this argument. In July 2016, he stressed the importance of every school in Jamaica having a Parent Teacher Association. It is a recommendation of the government’s National Task Force on Education.
“The relationship between home and school is important because each reinforces the other. Parents need to know that their job does not end with just sending the child to school, but they need to be involved in every aspect of the child’s growth,” Reid said.
Families as Partners is a contrast to Nelson-Royes’ previous book, the light-hearted Purr! A children’s book about cats. She was encouraged to write Families as Partners given the evolution of the nuclear family.
“As present-day families become far more diverse than those of the past, meaning there are single parents, families with two working parents, families with joint custody of their children, and stepfamilies, I am concerned about the decline in parent/child school coordination,” she said. “Therefore, programmes of school, family, and community partnerships are increasingly seen as critical elements of educational reform to advance student achievement.”
Nelson-Royes, who holds a doctoral degree in educational and organisational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, is from a family of educators. Her mother Dorothy taught at Glenmuir High School in Clarendon for many years.
Another of her previous books is Transforming Early Learners into Superb Readers: Promoting Literacy at School, at Home, and within the Community.