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Building School-Community Partnerships

Building School-Community Partnerships
Collaboration for Student Success

Edited by:
  • Mavis G. Sanders - University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA, The Johns Hopkins University

Foreword by Joyce L. Epstein

November 2005 | 144 pages | Corwin

How can we partner with our communities to improve school programs and increase students' success?

This current era of high stakes testing, accountability, and shrinking educational budgets demands that schools seek bold and innovative ways to build strong learning environments for all students. Community involvement is a powerful tool in generating resources that are essential for educational excellence.

Building School-Community Partnerships: Collaboration for Student Success
emphasizes the importance of community involvement for effective school functioning, student support and well-being, and community health and development. This sharp, insightful book serves as an excellent resource for educators seeking to establish school-community partnerships to achieve goals for their schools and the students, families, and communities they serve. Schools can collaborate with a wide variety of community partners to obtain the resources they need to achieve important goals for students' learning. Some of these partners may include:

  • Businesses and corporations
  • Universities and other institutions of higher learning
  • National and local volunteer organizations
  • Social service agencies and health partners
  • Faith-based organizations and institutions

Work successfully with community partners to improve school programs and curricula, strengthen families, and expand your students' learning experiences!

Foreword by Joyce L. Epstein
About the Author
1. Community Involvement: Why and What?
Rationales for Community Involvement in Schools

Community Involvement in Schools: Form and Fashion

Obstacles to Community Partnerships


2. A Closer Look at Common Community Partnerships
Business Partnerships

University Partnerships

Service Learning Partnerships

School-Linked Service Integration

Faith-Based Partnerships


3. Components of Successful Community Partnerships
High-Functioning Schools

Student-Centered Learning Environments

Effective Partnership Teams

Principal Leadership

External Support


4. Building Capacity for Successful Community Partnerships: A Vignette
The School

The Goal

The Team

The Project

The Community Partners

The Results

Lessons Learned


5. Bringing the Community In: An Elementary School Story

Community Partners

Commitment to Students’ Learning

Principal Leadership

Action Team for Partnerships

Welcoming School Climate

Two-Way Communication


6. Creating Closer Community Ties: A High School Study

Principal Leadership

A Student Focus

Community Partners and Activities


7. Promising Practices for Community Partnerships
Activity 1: Goal--Improve Reading (2004)

Activity 2: Goal--Improve Math Skills (2003)

Activity 3: Goal--Increase Students' Awareness of Career Opportunities (2001)

Activity 4: Goal--Improve Ninth-Grade Performance on State Proficiency Exam (2002)

Activity 5: Goal--Improve Student Writing and Technology Skills (2002)

Activity 6: Goal--Improve Student Reading (2002)

Activity 7: Goal--Improve School Landscaping (2002)

Activity 8: Goal--Provide Community Service (2002)

Activity 9: Goal--Improve Student Oral and Written Communication (2004)

Activity 10: Goal--Improve Facilities for Students With Disabilities (2004)

Activity 11: Goal--Improve Student Science Skills (2000)

Activity 12: Goal--Provide Afterschool Activities for Middle School Students (2000)


8. Preparing Educational Leaders for Community Partnerships: A Workshop Agenda
Building Community Partnerships Agenda


9. Concluding Thoughts
Resource A: Sample Activities
Activity 1: Locating Community Partners

Activity 2: Improving the Partnership Process

Activity 3: Improving Community Partnership Quality

Activity 4: Garnering Principal Support for Partnerships

Resource B: Sample Letters
Sample Letter 1: Partnership Communication

Sample Letter 2: Partnership Activity Follow-Up


"A comprehensive guide to begin the process of involving community agencies and parents in the success of schools. Easy to read and gives step-by-step guidelines to making sure the pieces are in place for a successful community partnership."

Susan Catapano
PsycCRITIQUES, July 2006

"A broad and insightful overview of theory, research, and practice in the field of school-community partnerships. The author looks at common collaborations and a variety of goals, from improved math skills to better school landscaping."

Curriculum Connections, Fall 2006
School Library Journal

"The first comprehensive book written to guide educators and practitioners in the practical aspects of building school-community partnerships. Pushing us to move beyond a mere focus on parental involvement, Sanders calls for a broader understanding of engaging the community outside the school walls."

Harvard Educational Review, Summer 2006

Has been adopted as a recommended textbook.

Ms Veronica Mack
Curriculum Instruction Dept, Coppin State University
May 21, 2015
Key features

-          Practical guide to building strong and lasting school-community partnerships

-          "Real-life" examples to get school leaders started

-          Professional development tools to foster buy-in

-          Explores different types of school-community partnerships

-          Offers a model outline for effective implementation

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1



For instructors

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