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Building Strategic Partnerships to Foster Community Engagement in Education

Webinar date: February 9, 2011, 2:00–3:30 p.m. (EST)

Strategic community partnerships are a key component of systemic family, school, and community engagement in education. These partnerships draw on the strengths of community groups as they surround students with an array of supports to enhance learning and prepare them for the 21st century. Strategic partnerships also create a culture of communication with each other and with families and schools to ensure the services they provide meet the needs of their communities.

This webinar will examine practical examples of how to build successful strategic partnerships that foster community engagement, including how to select the organizations, people, and services to be included; how to structure communications to ensure ongoing collaboration; and how to build connections with families and schools.

We will hear from a Promise Neighborhood grantee about the program’s vision and how it is forming partnerships to support students from birth through college and career preparation, from The Children’s Aid Society about why the community school model promotes strong families and successful students, and from the United Way of Lake County, Illinois about a community engagement planning process to ensure on-time high school graduation. The U.S. Department of Education’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships will also speak about what the initiative is doing to sponsor deliberate and ongoing partnerships.

Featured speakers include:

  • Moderator: Lindsay Torrico, Manager, Public Policy, United Way Worldwide
  • Reverend Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Director, Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, U.S. Department of Education
  • Jane Quinn, Director, National Center for Community Schools, The Children’s Aid Society
  • Irasema Salcido, Founder, Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy, Promise Neighborhood Grantee
  • Helen Westmoreland, Director of Program Quality, Flamboyan Foundation
  • Michelle Mittler Crombie, Vice President of Community Development, United Way of Lake County, Illinois


Presentation Materials

Research and Best Practices, Community Engagement

  • Chicago Promise: A Policy Report on Reinventing the Harlem Children’s Zone (2009)
    This policy report from the Chicago Policy Research Team provides detailed information on Promise Neighborhoods, a results-driven initiative to combat urban poverty in areas of Harlem with high rates of families in economic distress. This program incorporates a wide range of strategies to meet the needs of both students and families.

  • Selected findings from Education Renewal Zones: Increasing Partnerships and Sharing Resources for School Improvement (2006)
    This paper summarizes findings related to strategic community engagement from a 2-year evaluation of Arkansas’ Education Renewal Zones (ERZs), conducted by SEDL. The processes and collaborative efforts implemented by the ERZs can be applied more generally to establishing community engagement with schools.

  • Partnerships for Learning: Profiles of Three School–Community Partnership Efforts (2010)
    These three site-based profiles created by Harvard Family Research Project provide a snapshot of school–community partnerships in action and illustrate how diverse programs and models effectively build and sustain partnerships for learning.  Each profile highlights certain aspects of how the partnerships have been applied in the day-to-day lives of schools and community-based programs.

  • Community Partnerships to Support High School Success (2010)
    The Family Engagement for High School Success initiative, funded by AT&T, is part of United Way Worldwide’s national strategy to significantly reduce the nation’s high school dropout rate by 2018. This report from Harvard Family Research Project profiles how eight participating United Way chapters created action plans by engaging families, schools, and communities in the planning process.

Research and Best Practices, Out-of-School Time (OST)

Guidance on Implementation, Community Outreach

Guidance on Implementation, School Administrators

  • Connecting Schools, Families and Community
    This website describes specific concepts and actions that are essential for promoting family and community engagement in professional development programs for school administrators.

Guidance on Implementation, Out-of-School Time

  • Partnerships for Learning: Resource Guide to Building School–OST Program Partnerships
    This annotated bibliography from Harvard Family Research Project provides information on evaluations, reports, and case studies of school–OST program partnerships.

  • Principles of Effective Partnerships (2004) and Checklist
    Developed by National Collaboration for Youth, this handout describes a partnership strategy that will position schools and community-based organizations to successfully to support afterschool programs. The Children’s Aid Society designed this checklist to supplement Principles of Effective Partnerships and provide a clearer picture of the principles in action in a wider range of situations.

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