Building Community-Schools Relationships (communityschools) Part 1

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Many of today’s leaders in education, business and community development are coming to realize schools alone cannot prepare our youth for productive adulthood. It is evident schools and communities should work closely with each other to meet their mutual goals. Schools can provide more support for students, families and staff when they are an integral part of the community. On the other hand, agencies can make services more accessible to youth and families by linking with schools, and they can connect better with and have an impact on hard-to-reach clients. Appropriate and effective collaboration and teaming are seen as key factors to community development, learning and family self-sufficiency.

Partnerships should be considered as connections between schools and community resources (Click on Image 1 – Above Right). The partnership may involve use of school or neighborhood facilities and equipment; sharing other resources; collaborative fund raising and grant applications; volunteer assistance; mentoring and training from professionals and others with special expertise; information sharing and dissemination; networking; recognition and public relations; shared responsibility for planning, implementation and evaluation of programs and services; expanding opportunities for internships, jobs, recreation and building a sense of community.

School-community partnerships can interconnect together many resources and strategies to enhance communities that support all youth and their families. They could improve schools, strengthen neighborhoods and lead to a noticeable reduction in young people’s problems. Building such partnerships requires visioning, strategic planning, creative leadership and new multifaceted roles for professionals who work in schools and communities.

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