From their inception, schools have been organised for preparing the younger generations for meaningful participation in society, not only by educating the youth but by fostering social interactions and continuous learning. To this end, teachers, school leaders, and various stakeholders in the broader society must work in concert to nurture children and youth’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. In this sense, school-community partnerships refer to “the connections between schools and community individuals, organisations, and businesses that are forged to promote students' social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development” (Sanders, 2001, p.20).
Meaningful partnerships between schools and different stakeholders are aimed to improve students’ performance and attend to additional needs of not only students, but also their families, communities, and even neighbourhoods (Wheeler et al. 2018). Synergy resulting from the collaboration between schools, families, and different institutions holds great potential in enhancing students’ welfare and performance, directly benefiting attendance, homework completion, cooperation, achievement, graduation rates, and educational aspirations (Blank et al., 2003). As a result of the multifaceted nature of school-community partnerships, there is a wide variety of collaborations involving parents (Harris & Goodall, 2008), families (Willemse et al., 2018), mentors (Mtika & Payne, 2014), government institutions (Wheeler et al., 2018), universities (Hamilton et al., 2021), and the private sector (Mohamed Anuar & Chankseliani, 2023), among others, for enhancing students’ performance beyond the limits of traditional classroom settings as exemplified by the available resources included here.
Success in these partnerships requires not only the active participation of dedicated parents and school leaders, but the implementation of school reform strategies that emphasise community development (Green, 2017). To this end, leader involvement is key for effective resource allocation, i.e., time, funding, staff, and cultivating a healthy environment for collaboration (Valli et al., 2016). Similarly, funding alone should not be taken as a one-sided solution to such partnerships. In fact, the success in promoting social transformation and student well-being, especially in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, results from cohesive efforts where leaders, teachers, curriculum, and policy align with the sociocultural context (Cano-Hila & Sánchez-Martí, 2022). Finally, besides economic, human, and material support, successful partnerships also require an action plan and evaluation framework that serve to continue productive partnerships (Epstein & Sheldon, 2019).
The Academy for Leadership in Teacher Education (ALiTE) has curated a list of resources for educators, researchers and the general public who are interested in education-related information and tools, including internet resources and scholarly contributions. The topic for August is “School-community Partnerships”. Check out the curated resources at https://www.alite.edu.hku.hk/post/school-community-partnerships and remember to bookmark it!
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