school and community relations
Sep 13 2023

6 Powerful Strategies to Promote School and Community Relations

Positive Action Staff
Education is not all about finding X in a mathematical equation or writing book reports. It extends to how students will fit into the real world during their school days and afterward.

A good education produces young people with a positive sense of self-concept and sound emotional and mental well-being.

These young people will be able to form healthy, positive relationships with their parents, family members, and the rest of the community. Plus, they will become good future employees and employers.

The school on its own can not instill these values. In the same vein, parents and social groupings alone can not produce well-rounded individuals.

This is why the school and the community must work together to get the best outcomes for young people. Today, we will offer strategies for building relationships between the school and the community to promote student success.

Why Promote Positive School-Community Relations

When schools and communities work together:

  • Students score better grades
  • They skip fewer classes
  • More students achieve higher qualifications
  • Lower incidences of bullying and delinquency are recorded

In a case study of the Oakland Unified School District, researchers found that community involvement positively impacted school outcomes.

According to the case study, Oakland International High School is a successful case of a great school and community partnership.

In 2010, 29% of the schools' population were recent immigrants from other countries. The majority of the school’s students were refugees who had endured difficult trauma, which was pulling down school outcomes.

Through successful community-school engagement programs, they managed to turn the situation around. For instance, they offered after-school language classes for school learners and their parents.

Here are some of the positive results of these initiatives.

  • In a 2015-16 survey, two-thirds of students reported being "happy" or “very happy” with their educational experience.
  • Oakland International Academy had the highest graduation rate in Oakland.
  • 72% of students were able to graduate, with a high number taking and passing all required courses for admittance into California state universities.
  • 51% took enough rigorous college-prep classes to make them eligible to attend either UC or CSU schools—6 times higher than peers district-wide.

It’s plain to see that the community and school can help young people achieve more when they work together.

Here are some strategies for bridging the gap between the school and the community.

Consider the School and Community Equal Partners

Research on school-community partnerships in rural Tennessee schools established that the community is more invested in learning outcomes if they are treated as equal partners.

If school leaders make it clear to all stakeholders that they are an equal partner in the children’s development, the result is a solid school-community relationship.

The school should view communities and families as equal experts in a child’s education. In addition, schools should tap into the values and strengths that the outside parties bring to the table.

Plus, it helps cultivate a sense of trust and belonging among students, educators in the school districts, and families by partnering with the community.

For instance, schools can invite community organizations and families to take the lead in some school programs and events, such as quiz competitions, athletic events, or talent shows.

Find Ways to Join and Connect With Communities

In his best-selling classic, Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam demonstrates a huge concern over the declining social capital in America. He notes communities are no longer as engaged in running organizations such as schools as they used to be, leading to a decline in social capital.

How can school administrators engage and restore social capital in a society where nobody seems to care?

A great way to do this is to become joiners and connectors.

Connect with external stakeholders by taking part in community-based organizations which support learning and children’s education.

For example, linking your school’s learners with institutions like the Rotary or Kiwanis that have strong links with local community members.

That way, students learn positive ways to care more about their communities.

Another way to join is through Positive Action’s school climate program, which shines at tapping into social capital.

For instance, by using Positive Action’s school climate kit, schools in Pennsylvania recorded a tremendous improvement in their Boys and Girls Club.

Establish Community Building Activities

To establish community-building activities, involve all members in the learning process.

For example, a social studies teacher could bring in a guest speaker from the school district to interact with the students and share issues facing the district. This gives students real-life experience while building a strong bond between the school and the community.

Schools can also involve former students as peer mentors or role models.

Studies show that school-based mentoring programs result in improved performance and reduced absenteeism. These buddy/mentoring programs naturally link the school with their communities.

Visit the Community and Participate in Events

By going out into the community, schools can forge bonds with stakeholders. Teachers can interact with the school neighborhood and local businesses.

Sharing your school’s vision as you engage with social groups helps instill mutual understanding. These collaborations serve to strengthen school and community partnerships.

Some examples of community participation include:

  • Getting involved in faith-based activities, especially in communities with strong knit ties to faith and religious activities. By doing so, you get to understand any unique needs or cultural expectations they have in your school.
  • Creating a neighborhood garden on school grounds and teaming up with local organizations/businesses that share this interest.

Involve the Community in Internet Safety Conversations.

Internet safety continues to become a significant concern for learning institutions. In a study conducted by Scoology on the state of digital learning, a third of respondents specified that they were concerned about the internet safety situation in schools.

You can involve your school’s community in alleviating their fears. Chances are, you’ll find people who specialize in cybercrime and internet crimes against children within your local law enforcement agencies.

These professionals are invaluable resources. Have them as guest speakers and allow them to share their ideas and technology policies. This is a great way to start the conversation about preventing cyberbullying and protecting your learners.

Most local enforcement agencies partner with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program (ICAC). Access to ICAC provides you with lots of resourceful content, such as videos, which can come in handy for your school.

Set up a Community Resource Map

A community resource map is a visual representation of various skills available in your community that your school can benefit from.

There are many experts and services within your community which can greatly benefit your school. By creating a resource map, you’ll get to know what services or materials people can advance to your school for free or at an agreeable cost.

Once you map out these resources, you can tap into your local people to create mutually beneficial results.

Building Strong School-Community Networks

A great school-community relationship creates a sense of belonging among students, teachers, and parents. It increases student learning opportunities while creating an inclusive learning environment.

On top of that, it creates a great sense of responsibility for all stakeholders. This is because all community members understand that they play a vital role in the learning of pupils.

The key to strong relationships is to come up with a clear, shared vision. Turn to Positive Action to bridge the gap between school and community.

Positive Action provides you with a comprehensive kit on how to engage directly with the community. Learn how to organize the steering committee and involve local businesses and diverse groups in the school, community, and families.

Introduce Positive Action’s family and community kits to your particular community to help align their vision to the schools.

In addition, get on board with the evidence-based Whole School Reform Model, which has been proven to revolutionize the school’s ecosystem.

The program holistically improves:

  • Students
  • Teachers
  • Families
  • Communities

Get in touch with Positive Action today and get the ball rolling on establishing educational leadership through community support in your school.