School and community relationship fundamentals
What makes a good school and community relationship?
Trust, involvement, open communication and humbleness are just a few of the skills that are needed to build the basis of a successful partnership, but things don’t stop there. Some other important things that make up a great community-school partnership are:
- – Shared desire for learning and development
- – Involved Partners & clear communication strategy
- – Blended staffing – hiring licensed facilitators to bring some diversity into the implementation of the activities
- – Clear processes and agreements
Types of partnerships
When it comes to the types of partnerships that involve schools and communities we can differentiate 4 of them:
- Family and Interagency Collaboration – with the purpose of increasing family and community involvement in promoting student learning and development.
- Full-Service Schools – collaborations with community agencies to best meet the needs of students and their families.
- Full-Service Community Schools – families become essential, vocal partners and the schools don’t just get community resources but also open themselves up to the community
- Community Development – where schools turn into places for community members to deal with pressing political, economic, and cultural matters.
Importance of school-community partnerships
These relationships are important because they unite groups of people that would not necessarily meet in different contexts.
For example, most of the time parents only meet with teachers at parent-teacher conferences. This way, they could collaborate with their school’s teaching staff on how to make the educational plan better for their students.
These types of partnerships are also an ideal tool for teachers to form better relationships with their students and find out more about who they are outside of school – what their passions are, what they struggle with, and what they dream about.
For students, school-community partnerships are the best occasion to bond with the teaching staff and their parents at the same time, and in a more fun context.
Last but not least, school-community partnerships are also crucial for schools. They get recognition in their local communities, they also become a safe place for students and parents to come to and meet, welcoming everyone and offering opportunities to work together and change things in the community.
Benefits of school community relationships
Now that we talked about why school-community relationships are important and how many types of relationships exist, we are getting to one of the most exciting parts – the benefits!
Advantages for Students
- – Better quality teacher-student relationships
- – Parents’ involvement in various activities or school projects
- – Out-of-the-box learning opportunities
- – Personalised learning support
Advantages for Schools
- – Ability to implement extracurricular activities for students and parents that don’t fit into a traditional classroom
- – Better control over students’ transitions across the school years – the transitioning from middle school to high school is thought to be the key predictor of graduation
- – Improved school culture and community image – good news go a long way and positive actions bring positive reviews with them!
- – Networking opportunities – schools can get access to mentors, investors, afterschool staff, specialised personnel etc. from their communities
Strategies to Promote School and Community Relations
Now that we know the what and the why, it’s time to tell you more about the how – so how do we promote our school and community relations?
Reach Out to All Stakeholders
If we want to form a great relationship with someone – we have to meet them in the middle! Or at least, that is what we heard…
When meeting future stakeholders, it helps a lot to form a natural bond with them, and this happens best when meeting them in their own communities. Knocking on doors, meeting people at local events, organising open-door school days, and lots of other techniques that involve getting to know the community personally are the key.
Consider the School and Community Equal Partners
School should not be limited by the classroom walls – a teacher can be anyone who has something new and helpful to teach! Well, not exactly, but any insightful contributions from the community should be taken into consideration. Parents and students could be great storytellers in after-school activities, and teachers could also get the chance to learn something new!
Establish Community Building Activities
After getting to know our community we also need to nurture the relationship and keep them engaged. This is the perfect occasion to organise parent/kid competitions, give out projects that involve local resources, organise treasure hunts, and find ways to engage school staff, parents, locals, and students in various ways. This can also be organised with the direct help of the community – they are always a great resource for ideas!
Visit the Community and Participate in Events
To be able to engage the community, you also have to be a part of it. Find out what beliefs, interests, skills, and resources the people from your community have and build around that. Organise classes and events for them and with them – involve them in as much as possible to establish a partnership and help them put their skills and resources to good use.
Set up a Community Resource Map
If we’re talking about resources, the community is a greater resource than you’d think – to shake up the traditional learning experience from time to time and find ways to involve the people or businesses from your community in the curriculum. This would mean taking students on short field trips, inviting speakers to classes, or anything really that would involve people from the community in classroom activities.
Build Strong School-Community Networks
We already mentioned the power of networking as a benefit that schools have in these types of relationships. To give you some more context around that, building school-community networks could mean lots of opportunities opening up locally for the students to get involved in. Parents teaching kids a skill, teachers conducting book clubs with parents, or even professional future opportunities could open up if the networking is done right.
School-Community Relationship FAQ
What is the role of the school in a community?
Schools are essential for community involvement. They are the main point where families and children interact and learn how to be the needed successful members of society.
How do you build community-school relationships?
- Meeting stakeholders and getting to know them and their interests
- Considering school and community equal partners
- Involving the community in extracurricular & school activities
- Organising community meetings and events
- Creating opportunities that put the resources of the community to use
- Establishing a strong school-community network
How important is the relationship between the school and the community?
The relationship between school and community is very important because it brings together parents, teachers, students, and local members of the community who can do great things together but might not meet if this relationship would not exist.
How do you strengthen school and community relationships? (H3)
By organising recurring events and not stopping at the first success. Relationships need to be nurtured and we can only do that by keeping in touch with the community.