Teachers, administrators, and community agencies are always looking for ways to create and foster partnerships. School budgets are getting smaller and smaller. Therefore searching for additional resources is the norm these days. Schools need more money and services to improve the lives of their students. Here are a few ideas of where to search for additional community resources.
Your first resource is parents and community members. Parental engagement is vital to a successful school. Sometimes it is difficult to get parents to participate due to work schedules, childcare, and other obligations. However, for those parents who can participate welcome them with open arms. Also, reach out to community members to volunteer or donate resources to your school. The school is a big part of the community it is located, so developing relationships with your neighbors can reap excellent rewards.
Every community has social service agencies. They offer many different services that can benefit your students. Often, the institutions provide services for housing, mental health counseling, medical or legal services. Many of the agencies want working relationships with schools. They look at it as an opportunity to increase their outreach to community members.
Do not overlook colleges and universities. Like social service agencies, higher education institutions want to build external relationships with schools and community members. Many colleges require students to participate in community service projects. Some college departments require students to fulfill internships.
For example, students who major in social work must complete a counseling internship. If your students are in need of social work services, an intern may be a way to fulfill the need without breaking the bank. If you’re looking to market your school, marketing majors must complete portfolios. Perhaps the marketing student can be the senior project. Think about these two examples because they are free to you. Of course, you may have other ideas, but this is a start.
Another example that may be helpful is, in some states high school students are required to do community service. Your school and students are a part of the community! Recruit some high school students to become tutors for after school or extracurricular programs. Contact the local high school to get more information about the community service requirements for students. Also, don’t forget about your own student leaders. If you have a student council, give the kids a fundraising project.
Small business can provide some additional resources, too. Many small business owners are willing to help your school. Sometimes they’re willing to donate school or office supplies. They can provide raffle gifts for special events. Or they may offer an appreciation breakfast or lunch for the staff or parents. Many times, a small business will sponsor an event or sports team. Every act of kindness or donation helps.
Don’t forget about retired or senior members of the community. Senior Citizens are very giving of their time. They will volunteer in your school by helping teachers in the classroom, tutoring students, or helping in the main office. Most cities or states have a Department of Aging. This agency may be able to give you the contact information of retirement homes or groups you can speak with regarding volunteering.
Lastly, another resource is local churches. Congregations have a spirit of giving. There is an organization in Chicago called One Church One School. This group supports churches in developing relationships with local schools. Church members are willing to do coat drives, food drives, school supply giveaways and more. Research the names of nearby churches. Then call the church office or ministerial staff for more information.
Using community resources to support teaching and learning is a wonderful way to develop external partnerships and additional relationships. Think of your school as the hub of the community and connect to people, businesses, agencies, and organizations who believe in passing it forward.
The Handbook on Family and Community Engagement
Four Important Things to Know About the Transition to School Margaret Caspe, M. Elena Lopez, and Chalatwan Chattrabhuti Harvard Family Research Project March 2015
Youth Taking Leading Roles: Defining and Improving Family Engagement
August 1, 2017, by Heather Weiss And Linda Jacobson
The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments
One Church One School
Resources for Building Community Partnerships, Edutopia
Engage Every Family: Five Simple Principles 1st Edition
by Steven M. (Mark) Constantino (Author)
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