School-Community Partnerships: An Essential Strategy
Community schools are where youth receive both academic support and have access to services and resources, in English, that contribute to their holistic development. Strengthening the relationships between schools, families and community organizations is what differentiates a community school from a traditional school. The development of school-community partnerships contribute to improving school climate which in turn often leads to decreased absenteeism, suspensions, substance abuse, and bullying while increasing students’ motivation to learn. Greater community involvement in schools also leads to an increase in financial and material contributions, and more volunteers supporting the school team.
A key ingredient to the success of a community school is the presence of a Community Development Agent (CDA) who plays a key role in creating and sustaining partnerships that contribute to the academic, social, emotional and physical development of youth and their families.
LEARN’s Provincial Resource Team (PRT) works with regionally and provincially mandated organizations to generate resources, programming and funding opportunities for schools belonging to the CLC network. Some of the CLC network’s provincial partners include:
Community Health & Social Services Network (CHSSN): For more than a decade, the PRT has worked with the CHSSN to improve the overall wellness of youth in English schools in Quebec. This collaboration has resulted in the development of an Action Framework and a School Well-being Quick Assessment Tool, as well as numerous grants for schools to develop programming that promotes the wellbeing of youth.
English Language Arts Network (ELAN): ELAN has partnered with LEARN for over 5 years to develop and promote Arts & Culture activities for English-speaking youth. Most recently, collaborative efforts have focused on the promotion of ArtistsInspire grants.
Tablée des Chefs: Since 2019, La Tablée des Chefs, a non-profit organization whose mission is to feed those in need while educating today's youth in the culinary arts, has partnered with LEARN to make its popular Kitchen Brigades programming available to English language schools participating in the CLC Initiative.
How Your Organization Can Get Involved
Community schools thrive when they can count on the support of local organizations and businesses to enhance student learning and success. How can community organizations and businesses get involved?
-Offer to share expertise with students and staff members
-Develop internship opportunities for students
-Offer to participate in strategic planning sessions for school improvement
-Make a material donation (e.g., books, gardening supplies)
-Make a financial contribution toward something your organization is passionate about (e.g., financial literacy)