Building and strengthening school-business partnerships for mutual benefit
The Pikes Peak Gazette covers a conference between area education and business leaders. Participants noted the need for close working relationships between educators and business to prepare students for post-school transitions. One problem discussed is the lack of communication between the groups; businesses need to get timely information and have lines of communication to the schools, while schools need to have a strategy to get business and community groups interested and involved.
Bettina Lankard Brown, writing for the ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education in a 1999 publication, emphasizes the importance of providing and highlighting demonstrable value for businesses contributing to educational programs. Partnerships should be driven by consensus reached by negotiation to develop a close working relationship, rather than a one-sided “donor-charity” relationship.
1. Does your school or district have a point-of-contact or other channels of communication intentionally designed to communicate with community businesses and organizations? Do they meet regularly with partners and potential partners?
2. What economic, organizational, or structural benefits do your business partners reap from their partnership with you?
3. Do you have explicit goals for each partnership? Do business and community partners know what those goals are, and what they mean to your students?
4. Are all stakeholders (schools, businesses, parents, community members, students) involved in the partnership in a genuine way?