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Karla Lewis & a colleague conducted a case study of three high school members that was facilitated with the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS). On a five point scale for at least two consecutive years prior to the start of the study NNPS annual survey ranged from good to excellent & potential sites were limited to those whose evaluations of their partnership program quality. Five out of the seven highs were members of the NNPS at the time of the study. One of these sites was located in a rural county in the Midwestern state. In this chapter Rural High is the county focused on specifically on activates implemented with community partnership.
Do to the district size the parent involvement coordinator that helped to develop the district’s partnership team decided that it would be more efficient & unifying to create on district wide partnership committee rather than five school-based teams.
Several businesses also supported the district’s newsletter through advertisements & provided student & family incentives at school events. With the partnership effort the district’s success led to a state award for community involvement in educational improvement.
The district’s partnership committee meets monthly & is made up of:
Community representatives from each school
Each of the members is dedicated contributors to the district partnership committee. Some members quote:
Phillip Brussels: “I think it is a very friendly group… a very open group & very easy to get along with, not a bunch of snooty people.”
James Fence (President of the Committee): “The one-on-one request seems to be best at getting people interested; they see what accomplishments that you have had. I would say that is about it, the one-on-one.”
Mr. Fence also committed on the support provided by district educational leaders: “We do our part but then we have the administration that is very active in helping au with partnerships with businesses & so forth in the district.”
Ms. Finn: “The most important thing to any community partnership, I think is the buy-in of administration.”
The high school is about thirty years old & needs renovation & additional space. Around the main building the school had portable units & the students for the high school had to share the cafeteria with the nearby elementary school. Facing these constraints, the school has made significant changes to provide students with the facilities & resources they needed to complete the educational & workplace setting.
Most of the equipment has been acquired through grants & community contributions coordinated by the district’s partnership team & school principal. The schools effort paid off due to the increasing standardized test scores.
The district’s committee was established before the principal of Rural High (Albert Harrison) was seated. But Mr. Harrison totally supports the committee’s work. He even acknowledges the importance of having a partnership committee. His comments are “You have to have a team. You have to work together as a team. Nobody can accomplish anything by themselves.”
District’s partnership views Rural High’s students as the nucleus in there efforts. With the help of the student leaders we planned & implemented partnership activities conducted in the district. These district activities have impacted the district in many different ways:
Have helped to bring the school’s adolescents closer to the community
Helped to close the generation gap between the district’s elderly members & its teenagers
Celebrating the students’ efforts, Rural High along with the partnership committee has established a scholarship program for graduating seniors.
The district had nearly twenty active community partners. Here are some the active community partners at Rural High:
Supporting health fair & other school events Community Individuals Helping to disseminate information about Health Fair Media Library assisting in organizing school events (e.g., book drive) Cultural & Recreational Institutions Students organizing social events for senior organizations Senior Citizens organizations Students collecting canned food & volunteering at shelter organized by faith organizations Faith Organizations Student supporting Untied Way through fundraising National Service & Volunteer Organizations Health Dept., fire Dept., City Council, Fire Dept. Police/Sheriff Dept. acting as volunteers & guest speakers for school programs Government & military Agencies Hospitals cosponsoring community health fair Health Care Organizations High school students tutoring at local elementary schools Universities & educational Institutions Providing students internships, refreshments for school events, student/family incentives Business / Corporations Rural High Partnership Community Partners
The community Health Fair was one of the district’s most successful community partnerships. The fair started with 100 participants & the increased up to 500 participants for this annual event. Several organizations contributed to make this event successful like:
A hospital, a local health care facility, & the county health department provide free screening for:
NNPS helps preschools, elementary, middle, and high schools organize research-based and goal-oriented programs of school, family, and community partnerships. NNPS also guides district and state leaders to encourage and guide every school to create a welcoming climate of partnership and to implement involvement activities linked to school goals for student success.
Center for Social Organization of Schools (CSOS)
The Center for Social Organization of Schools (CSOS) was established in 1966 as an educational research and development center at Johns Hopkins University. The Center maintains a staff of full-time, highly productive sociologists, psychologists, social psychologists, and educators who conduct programmatic research to improve the education system, as well as full-time support staff engaged in developing curricula and providing technical assistance to help schools use the Center’s research. The Center currently includes the federally-supported Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk, and the Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships.
American School Board Journal Building School-Community Partnerships By Bruce Buchanan
A federal mandate for school districts to adopt wellness policies sounds well and good -- after all, it’s hard to dispute the alarming rise in childhood obesity and an increase in the number of children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
But for overworked teachers, principals, and school administrators, revamping and overseeing student exercise and nutrition programs falls into the category of “other duties as assigned.” So when looking at efforts to improve student wellness, it makes sense for school boards to look beyond their own staffs and reach out to community organizations for help.