A multidimensional study of school-family-community partnership involvement: school, school counselor, and training factors.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Cooperation (Economics) (Social aspects)
Student counselors (Practice)
Student counselors (Social aspects)
Authors: Bryan, Julia A.
Griffin, Dana
Pub Date: 10/01/2010
Publication: Name: Professional School Counseling Publisher: American School Counselor Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Family and marriage; Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 American School Counselor Association ISSN: 1096-2409
Issue: Date: Oct, 2010 Source Volume: 14 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs; 200 Management dynamics
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 241277783
Full Text: A multidimensional study examines both the dimensions of school counselors' involvement in school-family-community partnerships and the factors related to their involvement in partnerships. The School Counselor Involvement in Partnerships Survey was revised and its factor structure examined. Principal factor analyses revealed three dimensions of partnership involvement. A national sample of 217 school counselors was drawn from the Common Core of Data, and hierarchical regression analyses indicated that collaborative school climate, school principal expectations, school counselor self-efficacy about partnerships, role perceptions, time constraints, and hours of partnership-related training were associated with school counselor overall involvement in partnerships. Implications for school counselor practice, training, and research are discussed.

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In the current education reform agenda, the authors of Blueprint for Reform (U.S. Department of Education, 2010)--guidelines for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also known as the No Child Left Behind Act)consider partnerships among schools, families, and community members and organizations as vital to supporting student success. The proposed reform will support innovative "strategies to better engage families and community members in their children's education" (U.S. Department of Education, p. 6). School counselors can play an integral role in building these innovative partnerships with families, schools, and communities.

Yet, research on school counselors' involvement in partnerships is scant (Bryan, 2003; Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2004, 2007; Griffin & Steen, 2010). Research on school counselors' partnership roles and practices and the factors that promote or hinder their partnership involvement could facilitate school counselors' ability to effectively implement the partnership strategies suggested in the extant literature (Bryan, 2005; Bryan & Henry, 2008; DayVines & Terriquez, 2008; Dotson-Blake, Foster, & Gressard, 2009; Griffin & Farris, 2010; Mitchell & Bryan, 2007; Trusty, Mellin, & Herbert, 2008). With this said, research on school counselor partnership roles and practices and potential influences is best approached from a multidimensional perspective, that is, within the context of multiple factors to capture the complexity of the real world in which school counselors deliver services. This multidimensional study not only examines the dimensions of school counselor involvement in school-family-community partnerships, but also the factors related to school counselor involvement in partnerships. In examining the dimensions of partnership involvement, we build on the groundbreaking work of a number of researchers (Epstein, 1995; Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2005). Epstein (1995, this issue) developed a model of six types of involvement that has been used extensively to research families' and teachers' involvement in school-family-community partnerships. Further, Hoover-Dempsey et al. developed a multidimensional model of parent involvement that examined the composition of parent involvement as well as the multiple variables that influence parent involvement.

Previous research has indicated that, in general, a complex interplay of external and internal factors influences school counselors' professional identity and daily roles (Brott & Myers, 1999). Bryan and Holcomb-McCoy (2007) utilized a conceptual framework that categorized the factors related to partnership involvement into school-related factors and school counselor factors. They found that school counselors' involvement in partnerships was related to one school factor, collaborative school climate, and a number of school counselor factors: role perceptions, attitudes about partnerships, and confidence in their ability to build partnerships. Our study extends Bryan and Holcomb-McCoy's study by further exploring the school and school counselor factors related to school counselor partnership involvement and includes other variables not previously examined in their model (i.e., principal expectations, time constraints, and partnership-related training).

The purpose of this study was to examine the dimensions of school counselor involvement in school-family-community partnerships and the factors that may potentially influence school counselor involvement in partnerships. To do so, we refined the School Counselor Involvement in Partnerships Survey (SCIPS) and examined its dimensions (factor structure). The following research questions guided the study:

1. What are the dimensions of school counselors' perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships (as measured by the revised SCIPS)?

2. What factors are related to school counselors' perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships?

In this study, the terms partnership involvement and involvement in partnerships both refer to school counselor perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships. The correlates of school counselor partnership involvement examined in this study were (a) three school factors (collaborative climate, principal support, and principal expectations); (b) seven school counselor factors (role perceptions, attitudes toward partnerships, attitudes toward families, commitment to advocacy, self-efficacy related to building partnerships, lack of resources, and time constraints); and (c) partnership-related training.

METHOD

Participants

Participants were 217 school counselors from across the United States. Most of the school counselors were female (77.4%) and White (83.9%), which is representative of the general school counselor population. Additionally, 8.3% were African American, 3.2% were Hispanic, 0.9% were Native American, and 0.9% were Asian/Pacific Islander. About a third of all participants (34.1%) worked in elementary schools, 24.4% worked in middle schools, 28.1% worked in high schools, and 11.9% worked in combination (grade K-6 or 6-12) schools. A considerable proportion worked in schools in rural settings (44.7%), 25.3% worked in suburban schools, and 24.0% in urban schools. In addition, approximately 37% had 1-5 years of experience as a school counselor, 21.7% had 6-10 years, 18.0% had 11-15 years, 9.7% had 16-20 years, and 11.5% had over 20 years of experience as a school counselor.

Regarding hours of partnership-related training received, over a third (39.6%) of the school counselors reported that they had received no partnership-related training, while 35.9% had 1-8 hours, 9.2% had 9-17 hours, 6.9% had 18-27 hours, 1.4% had 28-36 hours, and 5.1% had over 36 hours of training. Further, concerning the sources of the partnership-related training received, over 4% reported having received training at professional conferences, 9.2% in their graduate coursework, 15.2% at in-service workshops, 29% from a combination of these sources, and 37.3% reported that they had not received training from any source.

Procedures

A sample of 450 elementary, middle, and high schools (i.e., 150 schools from each level) was randomly selected from the National Center of Education Statistics Common Core of Data (CCD) database. The CCD database provided names and demographics of schools, addresses, and telephone numbers. A packet containing the revised School Counselor Involvement in Partnerships Survey, a cover letter, a stamped return envelope, and an announcement flier announcing a drawing for two prizes was mailed to each of the 450 schools. Follow-up was done via telephone during a 3-week interval after the initial mailing, and new surveys were mailed to all nonrespondents at 4 weeks and at 8 weeks after distributing the first packet. A total of 261 surveys were returned; 44 were incomplete and therefore unusable, leaving a total of 217 usable surveys. In most cases, notes accompanying the incomplete surveys indicated that there was no counselor at the school.

The School Counselor Involvement in Partnerships Survey

The School Counselor Involvement in Partnerships Survey was developed by Bryan (2003) to assess school counselor involvement in school-family-community partnership practices and factors that influence their partnership involvement. The details of the development and initial exploratory study are presented elsewhere (see Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2007). For the purpose of the current study, minor revisions were made to the SCIPS to better capture the school-related factors (here called school factors), new items were added to measure role perceptions, and some items were reworded to reduce ambiguity. These revisions were made in ongoing consultation with a panel composed of three counselor educators and two school psychologists who conduct research on school-family-community partnerships and two education researchers with vast experience in survey development.

Based on item analyses of the earlier version of the SCIPS, items with communalities less than .30, factor loadings less than .40, and multiple loadings were excluded. Additionally, items that increased the coefficient alpha if deleted were excluded from the survey. Using the literature on role perceptions, two new items were written (e.g., "I enjoy building school-family-community partnerships") to measure school counselor role perceptions. Minor word changes were made to improve the clarity of some items written to assess the school and school counselor factors. For example, "the school has a warm friendly atmosphere" was changed to "this school has a friendly atmosphere." Further, the stems of the 16 items intended to measure partnership involvement were reworded slightly so that they better captured the essence of partnership-related tasks: collaborating, coordinating, teaming, and training. For example "providing parent education workshops and seminars" was reworded to "coordinating parent education workshops."

The revised SCIPS was piloted on 30 practicing school counselors in Virginia, 10 each from the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The revised SCIPS comprises (a) an introductory page that stated the purpose of the survey and definition of school-family-community partnerships; (b) 13 items that measured demographics of interest (e.g., gender, years of experience, school level) and two additional items that measured sources of partnership-related training and hours of partnership-related training; (c) 16 items that were intended to measured school counselors' perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships (see Table 1); and (d) 65 items that were intended to measure the school factors (collaborative climate and principal support) and the school counselor factors (role perceptions, attitudes toward partnerships, attitudes toward families, commitment to advocacy, self-efficacy related to building partnerships, and lack of resources), including one item that measured principal expectations (i.e., "the principal expects me to be involved in school-family-community partnerships") and one item that measured time constraints (i.e., "I do not have the time to get involved in partnerships").

Two scales of measurement were utilized. Items that described school counselors' perceived involvement in partnerships were measured on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = not at all, 2 = rarely, 3 = moderate& 4 = frequently, 5 = very frequently). Items that described the school and school counselor factors (see Table 2) were measured on a 4-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = agree, 4 = strongly agree). By using different scales to measure items that serve as dependent and independent variables in subsequent analyses, we minimized common method bias (i.e., variance due to the measurement method used; Doty & Glick, 1998; Podsakoff, Mackenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff, 2003; Spector, 2007). Common method bias (also called common method variance) occurs when measures of two or more variables are collected from the same source, measured at the same time, or collected using the same measurement method as is often the case in self-report studies. Common method bias can be addressed by collecting measures of the dependent and independent variables from different sources (e.g., principals, teachers), using different methods (e.g., self-report, interviews, observations, archival data), varying response formats (e.g., Likert, semantic differential, open-ended questions) or scales, or collecting data at different times.

RESULTS

Factor Analyses

Two principal factor analyses (PFAs) with oblique rotation (direct oblimin) were performed on the survey items to determine the factor structure of the survey. Principal factor analysis (or common factor analysis) was used because we wanted to represent the common variance in the set of items and because PFA is frequently used in exploratory factor analysis (Floyd & Widaman, 1995). An oblique rotation was used to rotate the factors because it was assumed that the factors would be correlated (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2001). The first PFA was performed on the 16 items that intended to measure perceived involvement in partnerships. The second PFA was performed on the set of 65 items intended to measure the school and school counselor factors. The sample size of 217 was adequate for performing factor analysis. Although the subject-to-variables ratio was less than 5 to 1, it has been generally accepted that a sample size of 200 is adequate to conduct factor analysis (Floyd & Widaman; Gorsuch, 1983). Each set of items subjected to a PFA was suitable for factor analysis as indicated by the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy, which was greater than .80, and the Bartlett's test of sphericity, which was significant. Kaiser's criterion of eigenvalues equal to or greater than 1, Catell's scree test, and the comprehensibility of the factor solution (i.e., the conceptual meaning of the items) were used to make decisions regarding the number of factors to retain (Tabachnick & Fidell). Items with communalities less than .30 and factor loadings (pattern coefficients in a PFA) less than .30 were excluded from the final factor scales.

What are the dimensions of school counselors' perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships as measured by the revised SCIPS? The PFA of the 16 involvement items revealed three dimensions of involvement in school-family-community partnerships: (a) involvement in school-home partnerships (eight items with pattern coefficients ranging from .34 to .79, 34.62% variance, [alpha] = .84); (b) involvement in school-community collaboration (five items with pattern coefficients ranging from .35 to .70, 4.12% variance, [alpha] = .75); and (c) involvement on collaborative teams (three items with pattern coefficients ranging from .34 to .90, 5.04% variance, [alpha] = .68). In addition, a composite measure of overall perceived involvement was derived by creating a composite of the 16 items ([alpha] = .89). Table 1 contains the means, standard deviations, and pattern coefficients of the 16 involvement items. All 16 items were retained for the final survey. The three dimensions of partnership involvement plus the measure of overall perceived involvement made up the dependent variables in the subsequent regression analyses.

What dimensions underlie the items intended to measure the school and school counselor factors? The resulting factors and single item indicators made up the independent variables in the regression analyses. After examining a number of factor solutions of the 65 items written to measure the school and school counselor factors, eight factors were retained. The school factors were (a) collaborative school climate (seven items including "this school has a friendly atmosphere," with pattern coefficients ranging from .41 to .76, 8.9% variance, [alpha] = .89); and (b) principal support (nine items including "the principal supports those who lead partnership activities," with pattern coefficients ranging from .63 to .82, 10.66% variance, [alpha] = .94).

The school counselor factors were (a) role perceptions (six items including "I think that counselor involvement in community partnerships is important," with pattern coefficients ranging from .42 to .65, 4.5% variance, [alpha] = .81); (b) self-efficacy about partnerships (six items including "I lack the training necessary to build effective partnerships with the community," with pattern coefficients ranging from .48 to .90, 4.38% variance, [alpha] = .84); (c) commitment to advocacy (five items including "I feel a need to advocate for disadvantaged families," with pattern coefficients ranging from .41 to .75, 4.54% variance, [alpha] = .79); (d) attitudes about partnerships (six items including "school-family-community partnerships are important for an effective school," with pattern coefficients ranging from .70 to .85, 7.08% variance, [alpha] = .92); (e) attitudes about families (11 items including "parents become involved in their children's education when teachers invite them to," with pattern coefficients ranging from .47 to .72, 8.24% variance, [alpha] = .90); and (f) lack of resources (two items including "in this school, there are insufficient resources for building partnerships," with pattern coefficients .83 and .87, 3.45% variance, [alpha] = .87).

Factor scores were computed for the subscales of each school and school counselor factor derived from the PFA. These eight factors were the independent variables in subsequent regression analyses. Two additional items were retained: one that measured principal expectations and one that measured school counselor time constraints. These single item indicators also were used as independent variables in the subsequent regression analyses.

Hierarchical Regression Analyses

Four hierarchical (or blocked) regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationships of the school variables (collaborative school climate, principal support, and principal expectations), school counselor variables (role perceptions, attitudes toward partnerships, attitudes toward families, commitment to advocacy, self-efficacy related to building partnerships, lack of resources, and time constraints), and partnership-related training to each dimension of perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships and to overall perceived involvement. It is important to note that the independent variables of principal expectations, time constraints, and partnership-related training were single item indicators while the other independent variables and the dependent variable in the regression models were factor scores derived from the factor scales. The factor scores and the single item indicators were all standardized variables with a mean of 0 and a standard deviation of 1.

Hierarchical regression analysis allows one to determine whether variables entered at later steps or blocks of the regression model contribute significantly to predicting the dependent variable (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2001). Previous researchers have indicated that institutional characteristics have a greater effect on role performance in schools than individual characteristics (Mawhinney & Smrekar, 1996). To assess whether this was the case for school counselors' involvement in partnerships, we entered the school variables in the first step of each hierarchical regression model followed by the school counselor variables in the second step. Further, to determine whether partnership-related training contributed to explaining involvement in school-family-community partnerships above and beyond the school and school counselor variables, we entered partnership-related training in the third step of each model (see Table 2).

Prior to conducting the regression analyses, we assessed the data for multicollinearity by examining the Pearson correlations, tolerance levels, and variance inflation factors (VIFs) because the independent variables were expected to be correlated. Most of the correlations among the independent variables were statistically significant with the highest correlation, r (217) = .66, p < .01, occurring between principal support and collaborative school climate. In spite of the moderate correlations among some of the independent variables, they were not high enough (i.e., r > .80) to suggest a threat from multicollinearity (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2001). Additionally, the tolerance levels (all greater than .40) and the VIFs (all under 2.50) did not indicate a threat of multicollinearity.

What factors are related to school counselors' perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships? Descriptives: types of involvement. Table 1 presents the means, standard deviations, and pattern coefficients for all three types of partnership involvement. School counselors reported moderate levels of involvement on all three types of involvement--involvement in school-home partnerships (M = 2.62), school-community collaboration (M = 2.91), and involvement on collaborative teams (M = 3. 29)--as well as on overall involvement (M = 2.86). Average involvement on the 16 items measuring partnership involvement ranged from 2.24 (i.e., teaming with staff or parent liaisons to conduct home visits) to 3.79 (i.e., teaming with school, family, and community professionals, e.g., on mental health teams).

Involvement in school-home partnerships. The school variables contributed to a significant proportion of the variance in perceived involvement in school-home partnerships, [R.sup.2] = .229, F (3,213) = 21.027, p = .000, adjusted [R.sup.2] =.218 (Step 1). The school counselor variables contributed significantly to explaining school counselor perceived involvement in school-home partnerships above and beyond the school variables, [DELTA][R.sup.2] = .123, F (7, 206) = 5.577, p = .000, adjusted [R.sup.2] =.320 (Step 2). After controlling for the school and school counselor variables, hours of partnership-related training contributed significantly to explaining school counselor perceived involvement in school-home partnerships, A[R.sup.2] = .017, F (1,205) = 5.444, p = .05, adjusted [R.sup.2] = .335 (Step 3). The beta coefficients in the final step of the model indicated that collaborative school climate, [beta] = .206, t = 2.381, p = .018; principal expectations, [beta] = .244, t = 3.291, p = .001; school counselor role perceptions, [beta] = .155, t = 2.124, p = .035; self-efficacy about partnerships, [beta] = .225, t = 3.397, p = .001; and hours of partnership-related training, [beta] = .143, t = 2.333, p = .021, were significantly positively related to school counselors' perceived involvement in school-home partnerships. Once the hours of partnership-related training was entered into the regression model, the beta coefficients of self-efficacy about partnerships and role perceptions were reduced, suggesting that hours of partnership-related training may have indirect effects on involvement in school-home partnerships through role perceptions and self-efficacy about partnerships.

Involvement in school-community collaboration. The school variables accounted for a significant proportion of variance in school counselor perceived involvement in school-community collaboration, [R.sup.2] = .164, F(3,213) = 13.960, p = .000, adjusted [R.sup.2] =. 153 (Step 1). The school counselor variables contributed significantly to explaining school counselor perceived involvement in school-community collaboration above and beyond the school variables, [DELTA][R.sup.2] = .137, F(7, 206) = 5.752, p = .000, adjusted [R.sup.2] = .267 (Step 2). After controlling for the school and school counselor variables, hours of partnership-related training did not contribute to explaining school counselor perceived involvement in school-community collaboration (Step 3). The beta coefficients in the final step of the model indicated that principal expectations, [beta] = .230, t = 2.955, p = .003; school counselor role perceptions, [beta] = .170, t = 2.232, p = .027; and self-efficacy about partnerships, [beta] = .200, t = 2.878, p = .004, were significantly positively related to perceived involvement in school-community collaboration. Time constraints, [beta] = -.194, t = -2.4808, p = .005, was significantly negatively related to perceived involvement in school-community collaboration.

Involvement on collaborative teams. The school variables accounted for a significant proportion of variance in school counselor perceived involvement on collaborative teams, [R.sup.2] = .151, F (3, 213) = 12.605, p = .000, adjusted [R.sup.2] = .139 (Step 1). The school counselor variables contributed significantly to explaining school counselor perceived involvement on collaborative teams above and beyond the school variables, [DELTA][R.sup.2] = .067, F (7, 206) = 2.515, p = .05, adjusted [R.sup.2] = .180 (Step 2). After controlling for the school and school counselor variables, hours of partnership-related training contributed significantly to explaining school counselor perceived involvement on collaborative teams, [DELTA][R.sup.2] = .016, F (1,205) = 4.277, p = .05, adjusted [R.sup.2] = .193 (Step 3). The beta coefficients in the final step of the model indicated that collaborative school climate, [beta] = .247, t = 2.589, p = .010, and hours of partnership-related training, [beta] = .139, t = 2.068, p = .040, were significantly positively related to involvement on collaborative teams. Once the hours of partnership-related training was entered into the regression model, the beta coefficient of self-efficacy about partnerships was reduced, suggesting that hours of partnership-related training may have an indirect effect on involvement on collaborative teams through self-efficacy about partnerships.

Overall perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships. The school variables accounted for a significant proportion of variance in school counselor overall perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships, [R.sup.2] = .256, F (3,213) = 24.407, p = .000, adjusted [R.sup.2] = .245 (Step 1). The school counselor variables contributed significantly to explaining school counselor overall perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships above and beyond the school variables, [DELTA][R.sup.2] = .152, F(7, 206) = 7.573, p = .000, adjusted [R.sup.2] = .379 (Step 2). After controlling for the school and school counselor variables, hours of partnership-related training contributed significantly to explaining school counselor overall perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships, [DELTA][R.sup.2] = .019, F (1,205) = 6.625, p = .05, adjusted [R.sup.2] = .396 (Step 3).

Table 2 presents the regression results for overall perceived involvement in partnerships in the final step of the model. The beta coefficients in the final step of the model indicated that collaborative school climate, [beta] = .230, t = 2.479, p = .006; principal expectations, [beta] = .249, t = 3.523, p = .001; school counselor role perceptions, [beta] = .165, t = 2.371, p = .019; self-efficacy about partnerships, [beta] = .232, t = 3.676, p = .000; and hours of partnership-related training, [beta] = .150, t = 2.574, p = .011, were significantly positively related to overall perceived involvement in partnerships. Time constraints, [beta] = -.156, t = -2.481, p = .016, was significantly negatively related to overall perceived involvement in partnerships. In addition, hours of partnership-related training appeared to have indirect effects on overall perceived involvement in partnerships through school counselor role perceptions and self-efficacy. This was indicated by the reduction in the regression coefficients for both role perceptions and self-efficacy about partnerships after hours of partnership-related training was entered into the model.

DISCUSSION

The purpose of this study was to examine the dimensions of school counselor partnership involvement and factors related to school counselor perceived involvement in school-family-community partnerships. To do so, it was necessary to refine the SCIPS and test its factor structure. Below, we discuss the three dimensions or types of partnership involvement. Next, we discuss the results regarding which school and school counselor factors are related to school counselor involvement in partnerships. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of the results for school counseling practice, training, and research, and limitations of the study.

Dimensions of Partnership Involvement

The results of this study suggest that school counselor involvement in school-family-community partnerships is multidimensional, comprising three types of involvement (see Table 1). The first type of involvement, involvement in school-home partnerships, describes partnership practices that connect the home and school. This involvement comprises bridge-building and gap-closing activities designed to build relationships and understanding between school personnel and families and entails direct, hands-on services such as workshops for families and school personnel, home visits, and helping families to access services in the school and the community. The second type of involvement, involvement in school-community collaboration, consists of activities in which school counselors collaborate with community members and organizations (e.g., volunteers, businesses, mentors, tutors) to deliver support programs and services (e.g., mentoring, tutoring) to students and families. The third type of involvement, involvement on collaborative teams, consists of partnership activities in which school counselors lead, coordinate, initiate, and collaborate on teams of professionals, parents, and community members (e.g., mental health team, partnership action team) to deliver services and care and implement programs for students and families.

Factors Related to School Counselor Involvement in Partnerships

The results of this study support earlier findings that a complex interplay of factors affects school counselors' role performance (Brott & Myers, 1999). In general, school counselor involvement in partnerships appears to be related to a collaborative school climate, school principal expectations, school counselor role perceptions, self-efficacy about partnerships, time constraints, and partnership-related training. These relationships also vary by the types of partnership involvement in which school counselors engage.

The school's collaborative climate appears to play an important role in whether school counselors become involved in school-home partnerships as well as whether they become involved on collaborative teams with school, family, and community members; however, the collaborative climate does not seem to be related to their involvement in school-community collaboration. Consistent with previous findings (Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2007), these results indicate the importance of the school's context in school counselors' work and the need for school counselors to examine how they can assess and affect school climate. We speculate that involvement in school-community collaboration may not be influenced by the climate of the school because for school counselors, these partnerships with community members may emerge outside of the school while school-home partnerships and collaborative teams tend to be initiated from inside of the school. Further, it is not surprising that principal support was not related to partnership involvement because principal support and collaborative climate may be highly related as suggested by the fairly high correlation between the two variables in this study. Previous research (Sergiovanni, 2001) supports the view that principals have a direct influence on the school climate.

Principal expectations appear to be a significant predictor of school counselors' involvement in school-home partnerships, in school-community collaboration, and in their overall partnership involvement, but not to their involvement on collaborative teams. Indeed, principal expectations was the strongest predictor of these types of partnership involvement. These findings are supported by research that indicated that teachers' involvement in partnerships (Griffith, 2001; Sanders & Harvey, 2002), and school counselors' performance of their daily roles, is heavily influenced by school principals' conceptions and expectations about what tasks school counselors should perform (Amatea & Clark, 2005; Fitch, Newby, Ballestero, & Marshall, 2001). The relationship between principal expectations and school counselors' partnership involvement is supported by recent research about the importance of principal perceptions of the school counselor's role in the principal-school counselor relationship (Finkelstein, 2009).

School counselors' self-efficacy about partnerships is related to their involvement in school-home partnerships, their involvement in school-community collaboration, and their overall partnership involvement, but not to their involvement on collaborative teams. School counselors' involvement on collaborative teams (e.g., mental health teams, action teams) may be less reliant on their self-efficacy about partnerships, because this type of partnership involvement tends to occur more readily in schools. These findings corroborate previous research that indicated that school counselors' confidence in their ability to build partnerships was related to their overall involvement in partnerships (Bryan, 2003; Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2007). Self-efficacy beliefs or confidence that one is capable of performing a behavior or task exerts powerful influence on whether one actually attempts and persists in efforts to accomplish a difficult behavior or task (Bandura, 1977). Strong self-efficacy is related to approaching rather than avoiding a task (Betz, 2004). An examination of the regression coefficients in this study suggests that school counselors' self-efficacy about partnerships has effects on their partnership involvement that are similar in size to the school factors (i.e., collaborative climate and principal expectations). So while the school factors are related to partnership involvement, school counselors may be more likely to build partnerships with school stakeholders if they feel self-efficacious about building partnerships even when school climate and principal expectations act as deterrents to involvement in partnerships.

Similarly, school counselors' role perceptions regarding partnerships are related to their involvement in school-home partnerships, their involvement in school-community collaboration, and their overall partnership involvement, but not to their involvement on collaborative teams. These findings are consistent with previous research that found the same positive relationship between school counselors' role perceptions and their overall partnership involvement (Bryan, 2003; Bryan & HolcombMcCoy, 2007). Teachers, school psychologists, and school counselors all have indicated that their involvement in school-family-community partnerships is important to their role in schools (Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2004; Pelco & Ries, 1999; Pelco, Ries, Jacobson, & Melka, 2000). Regarding involvement on collaborative teams, school counselors may likely find themselves involved on these teams in schools regardless of their role perceptions, whereas involvement in school-home partnerships and school-community collaboration may not necessarily take place in schools without concerted efforts.

School counselors' perceptions about time constraints (i.e., lack of time) are related to their involvement in school-community collaboration as well as their overall involvement in partnerships but do not appear to be related to their involvement in school-home partnerships or involvement on collaborative teams. This is consistent with findings regarding barriers to school counselors' collaboration with school stakeholders including principals (Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2004; Finkelstein, 2009). Therefore, time constraints may present a barrier for school counselors especially when it comes to building partnerships that may require more out-of-school time such as those with community members or organizations. Nevertheless, school counselors reported moderate levels of involvement on school-community collaboration. Perhaps to some extent they have found ways to overcome time constraints in order to maintain some level of school-community collaboration. This topic warrants further investigation.

Finally, partnership-related training appears to be directly related to school counselors' involvement in school-home partnerships, their involvement on collaborative teams, and their general involvement in partnerships, but not to their involvement in school-community collaboration. In addition, partnership-related training appeared to have indirect effects on involvement in school-home partnerships, involvement on collaborative teams, and overall partnership involvement through self-efficacy and role perceptions. These results are not surprising because, generally, training experiences have been found to influence school counselor self-efficacy (Barnes, 2004; Tang et al., 2004) and role perceptions (Brott & Myers, 1999). It is interesting that partnership-related training was not related to school counselors' involvement in school-community collaboration, yet their self-efficacy about partnerships was related to this type of involvement. We speculate that school counselor involvement in school-community collaboration that involves reaching out beyond the school and beyond families may be motivated by additional factors not captured in this study. This relationship warrants further investigation.

Further, it is important to note that partnership-related training was related to school counselor involvement in school-home partnerships, involvement on collaborative teams, and overall partnership involvement above and beyond all school and school counselor factors, which underscores the importance of counselor educators providing curricular content and experiences specific to partnerships. Given this finding, it is disturbing that 37% of school counselors in this study reported that they had no partnership-related training. This may account for the moderate levels of partnership involvement that school counselors report.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE AND TRAINING

This study provides an empirically based conceptual model to facilitate the implementation of innovative strategies for building school-family-community partnerships suggested in the extant literature (Bryan, 2005; Bryan & Henry, 2008; Day-Vines & Terriquez, 2008; Dotson-Blake et al., 2009; Griffin & Farris, 2010; Griffin & Steen, 2010; HolcombMcCoy, 2007; Mitchell & Bryan, 2007; Trusty et al., 2008). While such partnership strategies are pertinent to school counselors' efforts to improve student outcomes, their implementation may be hindered by the collaborative nature of the school climate, principal expectations, school counselors' role perceptions and self-efficacy about partnerships, time constraints, and lack of partnership-related training. Below, we discuss strategies for addressing the school and school counselor factors that promote or hinder partnership building in school counseling.

Facilitating a Collaborative School Climate

As school counselors seek to build partnerships, it seems important that they consider how to assess and facilitate a collaborative school climate. Indeed, school counselors can impact the level of collaboration that takes place in the school (for an example, see Bryan & Henry, 2008). One strategy is to raise their own level of collaboration with student services professionals, teachers, and principals. For example, school counselors can initiate a collaborative team with the school psychologist, behavioral specialist, social worker, school nurse, parent liaison, or other school professionals who deliver social and psychological services to students. School counselors must ensure that the collaboration is based on strengths-based and culturally competent practices, mutual respect, and a shared vision.

Another strategy is to actively reach out to teachers and families to seek their insights about the needs and strengths of the school and community and to garner ideas about ways to improve family involvement. Strategies such as community asset mapping and forming relationships with cultural brokers provide school counselors with useful information and resources and opportunities to connect with families and communities and increase their presence in the school (Bryan & Henry, 2008; Griffin & Farris, 2010; Mitchell & Bryan, 2007). More formally, the school counselor could work with teachers, family, and community members to form a partnership action team (Epstein, 1995) that works to increase family and community involvement in the school to meet identified student and family needs. Initial small actions to team and reach out to the school's stakeholders may have a snowball effect that leads to a more collaborative climate and increased collaboration among school, home, and community. To create and maintain a collaborative environment, school counselors will need to help families and school professionals understand and trust each other. Trust-building activities, training for families and staff, parent education workshops, and an emphasis on culturally competent outreach to families and community members will enhance collaboration that could lead to improved outcomes for students (Bryan, 2005; Trusty et al., 2008).

Influencing Principal Expectations

Given that school counselors seem more inclined to build partnerships when their principals expect it, school counselors must consider how to influence principals' expectations of their partnership roles. It is important that they consider what leadership, advocacy, and collaboration strategies work best in gaining principal buy-in for building partnerships. One school counselor aligned her school counseling program with the mission of the school and sold the principal on the vision of a partnership-based comprehensive school counseling program for improving student outcomes (Bryan & Henry, 2008). Leadership and advocacy strategies that school counselors should use to influence principal expectations include participating on the school leadership team and in faculty meetings. These meetings provide school counselors with opportunities to share the mission and vision of the school counseling program and promote partnership initiatives that meet students' needs and enhance student achievement and college readiness. Leadership and faculty meetings also provide opportunity to engage in decision-making that impacts school policies and programs.

School counselors will need to use data and research to show the benefits of partnerships to student outcomes (Bryan, 2005). School counselors should become familiar with stories of successful partnerships and how schools use them to improve student outcomes (for example, see Henderson, Mapp, Johnson, & Davies, 2007, and the promising partnership practices website at www.csos.jhu.edu/P2000/PPP/index.htm). School counselors may find that presenting data on the outcomes of partnerships that they have implemented may be particularly powerful in winning buy-in from principals, family members, and other stakeholders. School principals care about academic achievement and in this era of reform (see Blueprint for Reform, U.S. Department of Education, 2010) are particularly concerned with innovative programs that promote academic achievement. School counselors should ensure that they work with partners to tie any partnership initiatives that they implement to academic achievement and achievement-related goals (e.g., improving attendance, college readiness, and academic enrichment and reducing bullying, behavior referrals, and dropout rates). Further, they should use data to show how these goals have been met.

Responding to Time Constraints

When school counselors recognize the power that school-family-community partnerships have to bring together people to create or channel innovative programs that enhance students' academic, personal/ social, college, and career outcomes, they will negotiate time to implement these partnerships (Bryan & Henry, 2008). The time constraints that exist for school counselors are not overcome haphazardly. School counselors must respond to these time constraints intentionally through advocating for time to implement the programs and practices that are congruent with their role perceptions and best practices. To do so, they will need to show principals how scheduling, testing, and other noncounseling duties detract from partnership projects and other activities that promote academic achievement. Further, school counselors must be intentional in integrating partnerships and incorporating time for partnerships into their yearly and 5-year school counseling plans and include them in their data and accountability plans.

School counselors cannot build partnerships alone (Bryan & Henry, 2008). Thus school counselors should create a network of volunteers composed of school staff (including custodial), who team with them to coordinate and implement partnership programs and initiatives. Creating co-leaders for each initiative will ensure the viability of partnerships even when the school counselor is not present. Parent and community volunteers can be extremely helpful at all stages from planning partnerships programs to everyday tasks that go into implementing programs. Cultural brokers or people of influence from the community can play a valuable role in helping school counselors identify citizen leaders, that is, parent and community volunteers who can take leadership roles in school-family-community partnership initiatives (Bryan, 2009; Doherty, Mendenhall, & Berge, in press; Mitchell & Bryan, 2007).

Building Role Perceptions and Self-Efficacy Through Partnership-Related Training

A major implication of this study is that counselor educators should carefully sequence and infuse partnership-related training across the curriculum. School counselor self-efficacy is enhanced by intentional training experiences and interventions that provide vicarious learning, social or verbal persuasion, mastery experiences, and management of anxiety states (Betz, 2004). Furthermore, school counselors' role perceptions and professional identity also are influenced by their professional training (Amatea & Clark, 2005; Brott & Myers, 1999). Therefore, counselor educators should consider integrating content about partnerships into curricula to enhance school counselor trainees' role perceptions and self-efficacy about partnerships. Counselor educators will need to place school counseling trainees with practicum and internship supervisors who are actively involved in partnerships so that trainees can learn vicariously as well as implement partnership initiatives that provide mastery experiences. Additionally, counselor educators must provide trainees with knowledge and strategies for impacting school climate, influencing principal expectations, and negotiating time constraints.

LIMITATIONS

The findings of this study must be interpreted with caution in light of the existing limitations. First, the data were self-reported and may have been affected by participants' desire to give socially desirable responses. The assumption was made that school counselors' perceptions of their involvement in partnerships are congruent with their actual behaviors. Self-report bias should be addressed in future research by obtaining reports of school counselor involvement in partnerships from principals, peers, and parents and through interviews and direct observations of school counselors as they engage in partnership activities. Second, nonresponse bias also may limit the generalizability of the study. One cannot assume that nonrespondents would have responded to the revised SCIPS survey in the same way that respondents did. It is possible that factor analyses for nonrespondents could result in a different factor structure and observed relationships among the variables. Third, the study may be limited because partnership-related training was measured with a single indicator that measured amount of training. However, other aspects of partnership-related training such as the type and quality of training may affect school counselor involvement in partnerships. Also, one cannot infer causality from this study because it is a cross-sectional study. One cannot be sure that the occurrence of the independent variables preceded or caused the dependent variable. However, the fact that the observed relationships among the dependent and independent variables are supported by studies of other school professionals' partnership involvement lends support to the findings.

FUTURE RESEARCH

This study provides a useful conceptual model for predicting and guiding school counselors' and, possibly, other professionals' involvement in partnerships. Further research should examine the applicability of the multidimensional model of partnership involvement to other school and mental health professionals (e.g., school psychologists, community counselors, social workers, teachers, principals) because involvement across disciplines may be substantively different. Future research should utilize structural equation modeling and a mixed-methods approach or qualitative research (e.g., case studies, grounded theory) to explore direct and indirect influences on school counselor involvement in school-family-community partnerships and whether school counselors' self-efficacy allows them to overcome barriers (e.g., school climate, principal expectations, time constraints) to involvement in partnerships. Further, while these results provide preliminary support for the validity and reliability of the revised SCIPS, further validation studies are necessary to determine whether these factors replicate across independent samples (Smith & McCarthy, 1995). Future validation studies also should examine the convergent and divergent validity of the factors measured by the SCIPS.

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Julia A. Bryan, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Personnel Services, University of Maryland at College Park. E-mail: jabryan@umd.edu Dana Griffin, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the School of Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Table 1. Means, Standard Deviations, and Pattern Coefficients for
Dimensions of  Partnership Involvement

Dimensions of Involvement                        M       SD      P

Involvement in School-Family
Partnerships/Collaboration

Training staff to build partnerships             2.28    1.17    .79

Coordinating programs to help staff              2.32    1.06    .72
understand families

Training parents to access services in the       2.81    1.17    .62
school and the community

Coordinating programs to help families and       2.55    1.13    .54
community understand the school

Locating community resources and services for    3.77     .96    .41
needy students

Teaming with school personnel or a parent        2.24    1.21    .38
liaison to conduct home visits

Coordinating school-community outreach efforts   2.57    1.13    .36

Coordinating parent education workshops          2.39    1.17    .34

Average school-family partnership involvement    2.62

School-Community Collaboration

Collaborating with business and industries       2.30    1.12    .74

Collaborating on community work committees       2.39    1.22    .56
(e.g., task force)

Collaborating to deliver services to students    3.20    1.19    .49
(e.g., advisory team, volunteers)

Collaborating to organize student support        3.30    1.19    .47
programs (e.g., tutoring, mentoring)

Collaborating with community agency              3.37    1.10    .35
professionals

Average school-community collaboration           2.91

Interprofessional Collaboration/Involvement
on Collaborative Teams

Teaming with staff, family, and community        3.79    1.21    .90
professionals (e.g., mental health team)

Teaming with school, family, and community to    3.21    1.19    .50
increase parent involvement (e.g., action
team)

Coordinating the integration of community        2.86    1.36    .34
services in the school

Average interprofessional collaboration          3.29

Overall involvement                              2.83     .70

Table 2. Hierarchical Regression for Correlates of School
Counselor Involvement in Partnerships

Overall Involvement in Partnerships

Predictor Variable                B       SEB    [beta]      [R.sup.2]

Step 3                                                         .442

Collaborative school climate       .231   .083    .230 **
Principal support                 -.120   .078   -.123
Principal expectations             .239   .068    .249 ***
Role perceptions                   .171   .072    .165 *
Self-efficacy about partnerships   .238   .065    .232 ***
Commitment to advocacy            -.017   .066   -.016
Attitudes about partnerships      -.045   .066   -.046
Attitudes about families          -.051   .071   -.050
Lack of resources                  .016   .059    .016
Lack of time                      -.150   .061   -.156 *
Partnership-related training       .143   .056    .150 *

*p < .05. **p < .01. *** p < .001.
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