Strong learning communities are made up of more than just a school, its staff and students. Rather, they pull from throughout the community, creating a thriving network centered on creating the best learning opportunities for students. Creating school partnerships is only the first step, though. It’s essential to make your school partnerships effectively benefit the learning community.
Here are six ways to maximize your school partnerships and create a thriving learning community[i]:
Effective partnerships invest in the professional development of their personnel. Community and business partnerships with your school expand learning opportunities for both students and staff. Take advantage of professional development opportunities that exist as a result of the partnership.
Partner institutions learn and change. Just as your community will continue to evolve and change, so will your learning community. Regularly assess the makeup of your school partnerships and make sure they are meeting the needs of your current and future goals.
Evaluation and documentation helps achieve partnership goals. Every business has its own culture and key to a successful partnership is bridging the cultural divide. One way to achieve this is consistent documentation and evaluation of progress towards goals. This helps keep the lines of communication open.
Sustained partnerships create an infrastructure that supports community / school learning relations. An important benefit of creating partnerships between community businesses with school is that the communication between the community and the school becomes more meaningful and relevant to all parties. Make sure processes are in place to help this communication happen.
Effective partnerships attract sustained funding. Different types of business have access to different types of funding. It may sound elementary, but by combining forces, school and community partners grow their funding sources exponentially.
Distributive leadership exists throughout strong partnerships. When you create a strong community of partners in your learning community, you are also expanding your opportunities for distributed leadership. So how can you possibly do more in your school? By recognizing the power of your staff and partners, you can use their strengths along with yours to become a high performing school.
Read about examples of school partnerships happening in four different school districts.