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Schools Offered Guidance for Developing Community Partnerships

For schools that serve high numbers of low-income, at-risk, or minority students, a traditional school model focused solely on academics may not be enough to support their learning, says a new report from the Harvard Family Research Project.

Instead, schools should aim to partner with community organizations that help provide a broader range of supports—behavioral, health, and family—that can improve students' all-around school success, says the brief, "Partnerships for Learning: Community Support." Examples cited include partnerships with nonprofit organizations, health-care providers, and government agencies.

The Elev8 initiative, a community schools organization that partners with middle schools in New Mexico, Chicago, Oakland, Calif., and Baltimore, is profiled to illustrate a high-quality model in action.

The report also offers seven recommendations to guide schools in forming partnerships with the community. Schools and partners should:
1. Share similar visions for student learning.
2. Share leadership and governance responsibilities.
3. Effectively communicate.
4. Share information and monitor youth progress.
5. Engage families.
6. Share staff.
7. Develop mutually beneficial partnerships.

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