Communities and Schools Together (CAST)

CAST is a comprehensive plan to support the involvement of families and communities in the education of urban students.  It is being implemented by three School of Education faculty members:  Dr. Tondra Loder-Jackson, Dr. Michael Brooks, and Dr. Andrew N. McKnight.  CAST faculty also collaborate with the staff of the Birmingham City Schools Family Involvement Program.

The core activities of CAST include: 

  • Research on current national and local trends in parent involvement and home-school relations.
  • Training of education professionals who work closely with urban parents and families.
  • Serving as a coordinating entity to bring together families, educators, community representatives and agencies.

Thus far, 60 participants have been interviewed, including parents, teachers, and district administrators from Birmingham City Schools.  Findings from these interviews were presented at a meeting of district stakeholders through a reader’s theater format.  These findings also were disseminated in the following publication:

Loder-Jackson, T.L.,  McKnight, A.N., Brooks, M., McGrew, K., & Voltz, D.  (2007).
Unmasking subtle and concealed aspects of parent involvement:  Perspectives from African American parents in the urban south.  Journal of School of Public Relations, 28, 350-378.