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New Report Identifies Ways for Schools to Partner with Businesses and Community

The Learning First Alliance’s (LFA) newest report, “Community in Education: Bringing Businesses and Schools Together,” provides a compilation of recommendations to help foster more meaningful, real-life educational experiences for students. The report is the result of nearly 30 executives and key staff members convening to address ways to build better relationships and find common ground for advancing public education. The participants represent various sectors ranging from technology, manufacturing, and media companies to local government agencies, nonprofits, and LFA organizations.

AACTE, an LFA member organization along with 12 other national education associations, was represented by President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, who participated in the daylong discussions that led to the published report.

“This report is an innovative resource for establishing opportunities that can transform learning.” said Gangone. “I especially encourage AACTE members focused on school leadership preparation to adapt this model for ways to identify and create business and community partnerships that offer students hands-on, real-world skills building.”

The report supports the six elements of success as defined in LFA’s recent compendium, “The Elements of Success: 10 Million Speak on Schools that Work.” It highlights the recommendations on how educators and businesses can work together based on four of the elements outlined in the compendium:

  • Supporting the Total Child: Schools and the community must take into account factors both inside and outside the classroom, as well as the development of highly desired soft skills such as the abilities to communicate, set goals, and resolve conflicts.
  • Developing a Strong and Supported Teaching Force and Staff: Educators and business leaders agree that teachers need to be well prepared before entering a classroom and given continuous support for improvement of skills and practices throughout their careers.
  • Engaging Families and Communities: In addition to having knowledgeable, capable and caring educators, schools want to find ways to work with businesses to better meet the needs of families and communities.
  • Focusing on All Students: Participants agreed that schools and businesses should incorporate an understanding of diversity as an asset and promote ways different cultures impact communities, schools, and learning.

“Businesses, community organizations, and schools must realize that they are as unique as each of our students, and each will have specific needs aligned to the local region,” said Richard M. Long, LFA executive director. “This menu of ideas can be replicated and customized as each community sees the need, and if implemented well, these ideas will make a difference in the quality of public education and our students’ lives.”

In addition to including a menu of ideas, the report shares reflections from attendees, sample success stories, and considerations for moving forward. You may access the full eight-page report on the LFA website at this link.

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Katrina Norfleet

Content Strategist, AACTE