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The Importance of Creating Valuable Partnerships With the Community

Community partnerships are essential to today’s education system. These partnerships foster engagement, mutual support and shared responsibility for students' success. They can also contribute to student academic outcomes. Shareholders can include individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies or other entities. Community partnerships can take many forms, including:


Businesses may offer students internships, job-shadowing opportunities or career mentorship. They can also provide financial support or resources for school programs.

Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations often partner with schools to offer after-school programs, tutoring, health services and family support groups.

Universities or Colleges

Higher education institutions can collaborate with schools to provide advanced coursework, teacher professional development, research alliances or opportunities for students to explore post-secondary education options.

Government Agencies

Local, state or federal government agencies can provide schools with services, programs, funding or policy support.

Parents and Families

Parents and families can be significant partners in supporting student learning and school activities. Their involvement can range from volunteering in classrooms and participating in school governance to supporting homework and at-home learning.

Community Members

Individuals in the community, including retired professionals and community volunteers, can support schools in many ways, like mentoring, tutoring or volunteering their time and skills.

These partnerships are driven by a common purpose: shared goals, mutual trust, respect and a commitment to improving student educational outcomes. In addition, these partnerships aim to create a more supportive, engaging, and inclusive learning environment by bringing together diverse community resources.


Key Benefits of Community Partnerships in Schools


Improves Student Performance

Studies reveal that community engagement in schools often leads to higher student achievement. With local businesses, professionals and organizations involved, students receive access to additional resources and real-world learning experiences that may be unavailable within a traditional classroom setting.

Fosters Parental Involvement

Community engagement can be crucial in promoting parental involvement in their children’s education. Research published by the National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools revealed that schools with high community engagement had a more substantial rate of parental involvement.

Enhances School Resources

Schools can augment their existing resources by partnering with community organizations. For example, partnerships may include additional learning materials, tutoring services, funding for extracurricular activities and facilities for school events — all resources that significantly contribute to the overall education experience for students.

Supports Community Development

Community partnerships in education also stimulate local development. Schools act as a hub for community activity, promoting engagement, unity and shared responsibility. These partnerships can lead to a stronger sense of community and improved local infrastructure.

Best Practices for Building Community Partnerships in Education

The question that arises for many educators and administrators is how to cultivate these partnerships. Community engagement in education is a multifaceted approach that necessitates consistent effort. While it involves an investment of time and energy, the outcomes significantly outweigh the investment, fostering a thriving educational environment that benefits students, parents, educators and administrators. Nurturing these relationships is a cornerstone of successful, community-focused education.

The following best practices can help schools establish and foster these important partnerships.

Identify Potential Partners

Start by identifying organizations, businesses, local government entities, nonprofit organizations and individuals in your community that might have an interest in supporting education. For example, libraries, universities, museums and community service organizations.

Define Clear Objectives

Before reaching out to potential partners, define what you hope to achieve through the partnership. For instance, your goal may be to improve student achievement, enhance curriculum content, provide experiential learning opportunities or improve school facilities and resources.

Establish Mutual Benefits

For a partnership to be sustainable, it must be mutually beneficial. Understand what potential partners might gain from the partnership, like positive publicity, workforce development or the opportunity to give back to the community.

Communicate Regularly

Ongoing communication is one of the cornerstones of maintaining a successful partnership. Establish a system to share updates and feedback, and consider having regular meetings or check-ins.

Involve Stakeholders

Involve as many stakeholders as possible in the partnership, including students, parents, teachers and school administrators. The success of the partnership will increase with buy-in from your school community.

Develop Formal Agreements

Developing a memorandum of understanding or other formal agreement that outlines the responsibilities of each party can provide clarity and prevent misunderstanding.

Provide Training

Partners may need training or professional development to effectively contribute to the educational process, for example, understanding the curriculum or integrating real-world experiences into classroom learning.

Celebrate Success

Acknowledge and celebrate the successes of the partnership. For example, sharing stories through newsletters, social media or local press or holding events to honor the partnership can showcase successful partnerships.

Evaluate and Reflect

Regularly evaluate the partnership to determine whether it’s meeting the objectives. Depending on the type of partnership, this might involve collecting data on student outcomes, surveying participants or holding reflection meetings. Use this information to make necessary adjustments.

Plan for Sustainability

From the outset, consider how the partnership can evolve or be maintained over the long term. For example, diversifying funding sources, developing a succession plan for leadership roles or building strong relationships with multiple contacts within partner organizations.

Building Strong Schools

Partnerships with the community are essential for schools. These collaborations provide myriad benefits, including improved student performance, enhanced school resources and community development. Schools can create effective and lasting community partnerships by identifying potential partners, setting clear goals and fostering communication.

The National Math and Science Initiative is another source to help empower teachers and administrators. Our programs, including curriculum supports, coaching and several other services, help build strong communities of educators who work together, practice together and reflect on their teaching and the needs of their students.

The programs and support offered by NMSI are designed to meet educators at the intersections where help is needed to become high-quality teachers who deliver better student outcomes.