Engaged Families and Communities

Photo: Staci Maiers

10 Ways to Build Better Partnerships

Here are 10 key strategies for creating effective family- school-community partnerships that are focused on advancing student learning, taken from NEA’s Family-School-Community Community Partnerships 2.0: Collaborative Strategies to Advance Student Learning report.

Strategy #1 – Agreeing on core values: Taking time at the beginning to think deeply and reflect about what participants believe, and why they think the efforts will work.

Strategy #2 – Listening to the community: Identifying priorities and developing an action plan in a collaborative way that creates community consensus around what needs to happen and in what sequence.

Strategy #3 – Using data to set priorities and focus strategies: Looking closely at current achievement trends and addressing areas of weakness in students’ knowledge and skills.

Strategy #4 – Providing relevant, on-site professional development: Basing professional development on data and conversations among stakeholders, in a way that builds both educator-educator and educator-parent collaborations.

Strategy #5 – Building collaborations with community partners: Pulling in strategic partners and developing community buy-in—with colleges, social service agencies, community groups, faith-based organizations, local leaders, public officials, and businesses—to improve student learning and other outcomes.

Strategy #6 – Using targeted outreach to focus on high- needs communities, schools, and students: Identifying groups that need special attention, learning about their concerns and needs, and responding in culturally appropriate ways.

Strategy #7 – Building one-to-one relationships between families and educators that are linked to learning: Taking time to have conversations and reach agreement on how best to collaborate in order to improve student achievement.

Strategy #8 – Setting, communicating, and supporting high and rigorous expectations: Making it clear that success is the norm by creating pathways to college, especially for students at risk and those at the margins, and providing students with support to succeed.

Strategy #9 – Addressing cultural differences: Providing support for teachers and education support professionals to bridge barriers of culture, class, and language.

Strategy #10 – Connecting students to the community: Making learning hands-on and relevant to students’ lives while also showing that students and schools serve the community.

For more information on establishing family-school-community partnerships, check out NEA’s training resource manual.

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