2- Communities/Partner

Communities/Partner Lesson 2

How do I begin formulating strong community partnerships?


In lesson 1 we showcased:

  1. Three types of community partnerships
  2. The importance of partnerships for developing quality PBE experiences
  3. The added value partners offer to student outcomes and learning
  4. Examples of quality PBE projects involving partners

Now that you have seen a sample what a solid community partnership may look like, and understand the benefits of formulating partnerships, here are some recommendations for getting started:

Communicate and Build Relationships

  • Invite partners to an after-school partnership meeting
  • Ask your students’ parents for connections to local businesses
  • Create a partnership team/committee including PTSA/Staff
  • Have a potluck for local businesses and NPOS to learn about what you do and what they do

Identify Expertise, Similar Interests, and Set Goals

  • Compile partners’ missions or goals into a database
  • List expertise and partners’ interests
  • Align lists to instructional and learning goals for the school
  • Brainstorm ways to meet learner needs as a team
  • Set goals that are reciprocal

Plan to Meet Goals Together

  • Set aside time to meet and plan how a partner can work with the school or class – don’t fit it into “extra” minutes in the day
  • Create timelines for implementation and stick to them
  • Think about what students can do for the partner

Find Opportunities to have Shared Experiences

  • Attend partner workshops or visit their workspace as an individual or with your students
  • Invite partners to school or district professional development
  • Design field experiences facilitated by the partners

Take a Leap and Do it!

  • Take a risk, invite a partner to teach a part of your course/unit
  • Help a partner with a project, let your students work alongside the experts
  • Facilitate the experience instead of leading the experience

Evaluate your successes and failures

  • Track your progress and record what works and what does not
  • Meet with your partner before and after collaborative experiences to prepare or think about what worked and what could be better
  • Plan for a second project! Meaningful and quality partnerships take time to develop and require many iterations and attempts to get into the groove

Head over to communityschools.org to find resources about developing community partnerships to enhance your school environment. This download includes a fantastic checklist developed by the Community Schools Network to assess your initial partnership development. It includes other checklists to help guide your own partnership formation and management as well. Page seven has a comprehensive list of resources focussed on helping you improve community partnerships with your school as well.

Partnerships are one of the most important components of quality place-based education programs. They add critical insight and meaning to our students' experiences and provide support to teachers and their teams in the form of expert knowledge and, at times, an extra pair of hands to help. Find those partners that want to work with you for the long-haul. You won't regret it!

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