The Article Provides A Road-map For Creating, Implementing, Sustaining And Evaluating School Business Partnership
There is no single approach for developing and sustaining an effective and long-term business-education partnership. Among the many factors common to effective school-business partnerships, perhaps the most significant for success are shared vision, mutual benefits, and the commitment of each partner to the collaboration and to the binding goal of student success. Below are some of the factors which are responsible for building an effective school-business partnership.
Be Focused and Committed
Effective school-business partnerships are purpose-driven and results-oriented. All partners need to contribute to the relationship in a way that builds synergy and generates measurable outcomes. Partners must be willing to invest the necessary time and resources to learn about each other and to develop a trusting and transparent relationship. Strong commitment to the long run success of the partnership is essential. The partnership also benefits when each member assigns a liaison whose role includes tracking the work of the partnership and its outcomes
Cultivate Mutual Understanding and Respect
Partnerships benefit when participants are open to understanding each operating culture and guided by trust and mutual respect. A partnership is not about applying a business lens to education or vice versa. Educators, for their part, need to be sensitive to the business climate and keep in mind that companies work from a handbook of norms and assumptions typically different from that used in schools. They may employ a different vocabulary and conceptual frame to describe operations and challenges. It is important that educators appreciate business leaders and professionals for the capacity they add in support of academic achievement and personal development of young people
Develop a Strategic Plan of Action
Successful partnerships are those with a viable strategic plan of action that reflects the purpose of the partnership and what it is trying to accomplish. A plan reduces the risk that disjointed programs or random strategies will be developed or well-conceived initiatives are poorly implemented and miss their mark. It also provides for clarity and precision when setting expectations and goals and when measuring outcomes. A partnership can be strengthened further if its plan of action is aligned with existing frameworks such as a school or district improvement plan.
Define Shared Goals and Interests
Any collaborative effort is always more productive when processes and strategies are framed by achievable goals and are aligned with the partners’ existing objectives. In addition, they need to fit with the norms and values of the community within which the partnership takes place and have broad stakeholder support. A strategic action plan frames these elements and lays the groundwork for long-term coordination and strategic communication, and a meaningful return on the partnership.
Be Flexible and Open to Learning
Partnerships benefit significantly when they rely on active communication and feedback as a base for continuous improvement and when they are willing to adapt intervention strategies and models as necessary to optimize efficacy. Taking a flexible approach and being open to learning, in other words, enables partners to adapt their strategies in concert and as conditions warrant. Ensuring that processes and activities are reviewed, outcomes tracked and measured, and feedback is openly shared and discussed, best facilitates partnership success.