- With a few tips and hints provided in this Edutopia article, K-12 schools can build viable and effective partnerships with universities that benefit both institutions, especially as many grants to colleges are now looking favorably on such partnerships because they demonstrate the “broader impacts” of programs and research.
- District leaders must first create a win-win proposal; schools can benefit by access to volunteers, career explorations for students, help in data collection and program evaluation and access to professional development for teachers, among other advantages. Colleges can benefit from access to research data, the ability to strengthen grant applications, and forming connections between students and universities.
- School leaders must also learn the most effective ways to form connections with university personnel who can help meet school needs. They can approach faculty members through administrative assistants, or make connections through parents or third-party organizations, according to the article.
A recent article in EdTech magazine points out how the nature of partnerships between K-12 schools and colleges has shifted in recent years. “In the past, partnerships between colleges and K-12 schools often centered around high-school-to-college transitions or programs that enable students to earn advanced college credit. Today’s collaborations focus more on social responsibility. That can take the form of formal research studies, professional development, or joint technology and curriculum initiatives,” the article states.
School districts can benefit from partnerships with community colleges, colleges and universities in multiple ways. Schools can expand opportunities for students through dual enrollment programs and other ways for students to earn college credit and prepare for college entrance. Career and technical education programs are strengthened by the access to equipment and technology that colleges can offer. Schools also can benefit from the tech resources, professional development opportunities, data analysis, and access to student teachers and a teacher pipeline.
However, partnerships have to work both ways, and school leaders must identify ways local institutions of higher learning can benefit from partnerships with K-12 schools. Student teachers need somewhere to hone their craft. Researchers need data to analyze. College students in a variety of majors also benefit from access to K-12 students so can better understand child development, learn how to work with families and gain experience in real-world situations. Colleges also benefit by creating pathways for K-12 students to become college students. In fact, the benefits are so clear, that Margrove College in Detroit is now experimenting with the creation of a K-20 educational campus.