Six Tips for Building Strong Partnerships

Lucy FriedmanEllen Gannett, a leader in our field, says we’re in a “period of transition” from after-school as we have known it to expanded learning opportunities that accelerate student progress. In a newly published commentary for the Wellesley Centers for Women, she shares six ideas for schools and community agencies to build strong partnerships during this time of transition:

Hire campus-wide out-of-school-time directors under the direction of the school principal. These could be current or former teachers, Ms. Gannett suggests, who can quickly build trust with school colleagues and link academics with services provided by community partners after school and during summers. In TASC ExpandED Schools, two people play similar connective roles: the ExpandED Director, who is employed by the community partner, and an Instructional Coordinator who is typically a teacher or assistant principal.

Wellesley Research and Action Report Spring/Summer 2012Consider blended staffing patterns during the academic year as well as the summer, with teachers and community educators coming together as a faculty. That’s another hallmark of ExpandED Schools.

Bring together in-school and out-of-school staff for professional development and peer support meetings. In our experience, school and community teams who try this love it.

Promote accountability among partners. Establish a common vision for student success, plan together, share data and clearly define roles and responsibilities.

• Create an out-of-school time advisory committee where everyone – families, school administrators, community educators and others make their voices heard.

• Prioritize and strengthen summer programming. Amen. Happy Summer Learning Day Thursday.