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Achieving Results Through Community School Partnerships: How District and Community Leaders are Building Effective, Sustainable Relationships


"This paper outlines how school and community leaders develop a common vision for a community schools strategy and explores six key strategies that successful community school initiatives use to build effective partnerships with local government agencies, teachers unions, and other organizations. It begins by describing the elements of a community school strategy, then draws on the experiences of several community school initiatives that use the following strategies to form and maintain key relationships:

  • Ensure that all partners share a common vision. The entire community and all involved partners should agree on the same goals and expectations.

  • Establish formal relationships and collaborative structures to engage stakeholders. Initiating and sustaining stakeholder participation often requires creating structured opportunities ranging from developing taskforces to creating formal agreements.

  • Encourage open dialogue about challenges and solutions. To foster shared ownership, stakeholders must engage honestly and constructively with each other to solve problems and make midcourse corrections.

  • Engage partners in the use of data. Sharing data enables all stakeholders to understand where things stand and hold each other accountable for making measurable progress.

  • Create and empower central-office capacity at the district level to sustain community school work. Continued capacity can be created through establishing a high-level management position within a districts central office or through creating an office dedicated to supporting a community school agenda.

  • Leverage community resources and braid funding streams. Community schools capitalize on the financial assets of community partners and funding streams to support programs and activities aligned with their common vision."