Building School-Community Partnerships

The start of another school year brings me the opportunity to visit CLCs and speak to the whole staff.  Typically I show a powerpoint with pictures of books written and produced by students about their community or pictures of students releasing trout into a local river they raised from eggs.

I talk about how teachers who lead Community Based Service Learning (CBSL) projects are reporting increased engagement in  students,  contributing to student success.  I talk about the injection of vitality in communities where you have youth providing service to meet authentic needs.

We’re starting to see that projects which have  the greatest success are when the teacher collaborates with the CLC coordinator in finding the right community partner to facilitate students service to the community or community based learning. A great booklet was produced by the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN), pulling together lessons from a series of school-community focus groups.  Key findings include:

  • Partners and teachers should talk to each other before the project idea is fully developed to agree on common goals and design opportunities for links to the curriculum
  • Apply for funding together
  • Establish clear roles and responsibilities

I recommend visiting QAHN’s website to purchase the guide.  I worked out a deal with QAHN to provide a PDF version for interested teachers.  Please email Ben if you would like a copy.