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ERIC Number: ED499276
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 34
Abstractor: ERIC
The Opportunities and Challenges of Partnering with Schools
Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis, University of Southern California
While the benefits of partnerships between school and external groups are many (building social capital, enhancing educational reform, creating stronger communities, increasing academic achievements, and enhancing school performance), creating effective partnerships does not always come easily. One of the first decisions that organizations interested in partnering need to examine is the type of partnership they would like to form, as there are different strategies for engaging in collaborations versus cooperative arrangements. Partnerships that rely on each other to accomplish joint goals fall into the category of collaboration. Cooperative arrangements typically involve coordination in which the partners network and share information together. The next major step for leaders who are helping to facilitate partnerships is to examine common challenges that might thwart their efforts: a lack of planning or trust, maintaining faith, understanding different organizational cultures, dissimilar goals, and poor communication. Each of these issues represents the major areas identified in the literature on failed partnerships. Research on successful partnerships demonstrates that several practices can improve success: (1) Develop clear, mutually derived, and attainable goals in a shared vision; (2) Conduct intensive planning; (3) Ensure leadership; (4) Foster frequent, open, an ongoing communication; (5) Develop clear policies and roles; (6) Create clear decision-making processes; (7) Designate funds, staff, materials, and time; (8) Conduct evaluation; and (9) Create mutual relationships and trust. In addition to following these practices, leaders should make sure that partnerships move through three important phases: initiation, commitment, and institutionalization. Each of these stages requires best practices to achieve success. For example, planning, communication, and trust building are particularly important during courtship. At the commitment phase, policy development and decision-making structures become important, while during institutionalization, evaluation should be emphasized. An awareness of challenges, best practices, and the stages of partnership will ensure success for organizations that are interested in working with schools. (Contains 1 chart and 1 footnote.) [This report was published by the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California.]
Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis (CHEPA). University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education, 3470 Trousdale Parkway, Waite Phillips Hall 701, Los Angeles, CA 90089-4037. Tel: 213-740-7218; Fax: 213-740-3889; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City, MO.
Authoring Institution: N/A