What Makes a Successful Partnership?
Posted by on August 06, 2012
Appreciation and respect for collaboration is key
“What is the relationship between strong community partnerships and strong professional learning communities?” asks Stephanie Hirsh of Learning Forward in Education Week. Where both exist, schools have high levels of success for both teachers and students, she writes. In a successful partnership of either kind, team structures and processes are valued. People must know their time will be respected and focus will be on work, she writes. In addition, action plans with measurable outcomes must guide work, ensuring everyone knows what’s expected of them and how their progress will be mentored. An appreciation and respect for collaboration is key. Both community partnerships and learning communities demand the support, understanding, and respect of a variety of stakeholders. Diversity also strengthens results — successful community partnerships and learning communities believe in tapping the “funds of knowledge, histories, and cultures” of team members. Professional learning especially is strengthened when it includes parents and community members in school-wide learning. Communication is essential, since all participants want a voice. Finally, partnerships must focus on “subjects” that matter. In neither case do people want to be forced to study something they view as irrelevant. Professional learning and parent engagement require careful attention to the needs of students, and adults who are equally committed to seeing all students successful.
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