Why should schools enlist community partners?
Schools can expand their capacity to build relationships and offer support by enlisting the help of community partners. These include non-profit groups, civic organizations, churches or other faith-based groups, government agencies, and colleges and universities. Community partners can provide access to resources such as food, health care, books or other supports that address barriers or encourage students and families to show up to school. They can offer an extra set of hands to connect with students and their families and are especially valuable when staff is versed in the culture and languages spoken by students and their families.
How can schools engage community partners?
First, what already exists to engage students and support families in your community. Then identify gaps that might be addressed by an external organization.
- Attendance Works has developed several resources to help educators map out assets and gaps for supporting a multi-tiered system of supports.
- United Way’s 211 system identifies community partners located throughout the U.S.
- FindHelp.org provides help finding partners that offer specific services, such as temporary housing, food or medical care.
- Keep track of potential partners using this worksheet
- Find handouts that explain to community partners the importance of reducing chronic absence, and offer suggestions for getting involved. https://www.attendanceworks.org/resources/messaging/making-the-case/