Interested in having a school partnership but unsure where to start? From the experience I have in putting together school partnerships, key principles came together that I have called the ABC’s of School Partnership. The first step in developing a school partnership between the school and church is one needs to Assess the situation and the needs of the school. It is very important to take some time to research the neighborhood in which you are trying to develop a school partnership.
What is the socioeconomic situation of the people and families? Take a tour of the school. Are there physical or moral needs? These kinds of questions are key in understanding the situation of the school, how they might need help, and knowing why they might be willing to partner with a local church.
“B” in the ABC’s of School Partnership is for Build a strategic plan that meets the school’s physical, academic, and emotional needs. The research you do before hand is critical because it enables you to truly understand what it is you are diving into. You do not need to come with a personal agenda. What you can do is to go into the principal and simply ask, “How can we help?” The needs exist, it is our job to fill them. The principal and other key school leaders will have plenty of ideas, and combined with your insights from the assessment, you are on your way to building that plan.
Finally, we are to Create an atmosphere of trust. Establish your church as one that can be trusted as a place of help and “safe aid” with no agenda except to fill needs and love people. Going into a school doesn’t mean you need to create a new program, it’s about seeing a need and then very consistently filling it. When you keep coming back and fulfilling your commitments, you gain credibility which leads to trust and greater opportunity. Through assessing the community, building strategic plans with the principal, and creating an atmosphere of trust, we suddenly find that we have started a positive relationship with the school.
Donna Trumbo; Director of Compassion and Outreach at Bayside Church of South Sacramento.
To learn more about Donna and other people who are making a difference in their communities check out Convergence.World