ENGAGE! In Partnerships for Student Success

partnershipPartnerships are a critical factor in student success. Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are often significant disparities in education funding, facilities, and instructional resources. While many communities have mobilized and advocated for education equity, we aren’t there yet. That’s why it’s so important for families, communities, and schools to work together to support better outcomes for all children.

According to Beyond the Bake Sale, there are five critical reasons that partnerships matter:

  1. Partnership and student academic achievement are closely linked.
  2. Partnerships help build and sustain public support for the schools.
  3. Families and the community can help schools overcome the challenges they face.
  4. Teachers can benefit from parent and community partnerships
  5. The No Child Left Behind Act (now referred to as ESEA) provides partnership opportunities that can help schools meet the requirements under the law.

The Harvard Family Research Project says that for children and youth to be successful from birth to adolescence, there must be an array of linked supports or to learning all around them. The connections should work together and be in place continuously, shifting over time as children grow.

Partnerships can connect schools with businesses, hospitals, colleges, service clubs, social service agencies, youth organizations, public housing projects, labor unions, tenant groups, churches and other community groups. These partnerships can create thriving neighborhoods where families want to live, work, and raise a family. Reach out to a broad base of partners in and around your school community. Make sure your partnership activities strengthen families and link to learning. Work with them to develop a shared vision about what the partnership in your community will look like. These collaborations can strengthen the school and build a family friendly community.

For more information about creating partnerships for student success, read Beyond the Bake Sale by Henderson and Mapp. Also, visit the Harvard Family Research Project at www.hfrp.org. You can find more information about the National Standards for Family School Partnerships in the Implementation Guide at www.pta.org/familyschoolpartnerships.

ENGAGE! is a weekly column on Family Engagement written by Sherri Wilson, Senior Manager of Family and Community Engagement at the National PTA. Sherri is the former Director of the Alabama Parent Information and Resource Center and is currently responsible for developing and implementing programs related to family and community engagement at the National PTA.



  1. Perhaps more schools could work together to help each other establish more community partnerships. Many community relationship opportunities might cover multiple schools within a particular area, especially at the elementary school level. In other words, a particular business may be more interested in working with 3 schools in their area vs. just 1.

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