There is an old African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” If we want to raise our school children properly, it will most certainly take the entire community. As a school, we can’t depend on the local, state, or federal government to take ownership of our school issues. It is imperative for the school to reach out and work with the community to nurture the children in the school.
If you want to transform any school, you must strengthen the relationship between the school and the community. That relationship must be strong, and the connection must be authentic. There is something special that happens when you can bring together families, community groups, businesses, and schools to support learning. Children achieve more academically, they stay in school longer, and they have a more enjoyable experience.
There are tons of school/community partnerships happening all over; however, there are not enough of them. We need more examples for us to use as models so we can replicate to ensure children succeed in all schools. Here are three tips for building a strong relationship between the school and the community.
Tip 1: Include the community in your school vision
When a school creates a school vision, and they do not include the community, how can the community say they are committed to forming that relationship? Before you can build a relationship, it is important that you create the vision around how the community plays a part in the overall success in school. The vision of a school is the compass and the North Star for success. If you want the community to be a part of that success, it is vital the vision creation includes the community.
Tip 2: Engage Stakeholders
One of the biggest mistakes a school can make is not reaching out to the community. Schools cannot expect community relationships will form without work. One of the best ways to strengthen this bond is for the school to go into the community. It is essential the school engages with the people who matter most and meet them on their turf. Schools can engage stakeholders by taking the time to find them and reach out to them. I encourage schools to get their teachers together and visit areas within the community and have conversations about what the community is looking for in the school.
Tip 3: Connect with Curriculum
Some valuable lessons can be learned from real-world experiences, peers, or mentors. Schools have to think about how the learning will create stronger relationships between school and community. How can schools connect today’s curriculum with the real world? This question is one that can be answered through a stronger relationship with the community. Schools should look for ways to work with local businesses and experts to connect the curriculum to engage students.
I truly believe schools become less successful when we forget that it takes a village. We need all hands on deck when we are educating our children