Recommendation One:
Provide teachers access to resources (financial, time, opportunity, etc.) to identify and solve problems related to their classrooms in order to ensure they can help students learn.


Role Group Strategies

Engage local civic organizations and your school's PTA to explore how community resources can help teachers improve student learning.

Partnership pays off for business and schools
Curtis, D. (2000, September 1). Edutopia Online. The George Lucas Foundation.
The Bayer Corporation has established one of the most successful business-education partnerships in their “Making Science Make Sense” program.  This article from the George Lucas Educational Foundation outlines the program which provides professional development opportunities for teachers and content-based presentations to students in schools across America.

Business Partnership Resource Page
The George Lucas Educational Foundation
This website highlights successful business partnership programs from across the nation. Including articles, interactive videos, interviews with experts, suggested strategies, and descriptions of effective programs, it is an extensive source of information for business and community leaders looking to maximize the power of their partnerships in the interest of professional learning and student achievement.

Community Partnership Resource Page
The George Lucas Educational Foundation.
This webpage provides a variety of resources from the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) on school and community partnerships.  It includes articles describing programs in specific school districts and research on the importance of community involvement in general.

The Exponential Results of Linking School Improvement and Community Development:  Collaborative Strategies for Revitalizing Rural Schools and Communities
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (2000)
This issue of their Benefits newsletter outlines eight basic steps for getting a collaborative group going.  The rationale for each step is provided, along with suggested actions that school leaders can take to ensure success.  While intended primarily for rural schools, the suggestions and examples are of value to anyone interested in taking practical steps to strengthen school-community partnerships.

What do we mean by “family and community connections with schools? 
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL)  (2002, November). Research Brief.
This short brief explains that there are many different forms of school-community involvement and emphasizes the need to clarify each group’s understanding of and expectations for such partnerships.  It includes a series of guiding questions to help schools, parents, and community groups decide which type of partnerships to pursue and provides additional references for related research.

Restructure the use of time within the school building and enlist community support to allow for more collaborative work between teachers.


"Finding Common Ground:  Working with the Community to Provide High-Quality Professional Development"
Teachers take charge of their learning: Transforming professional development for student success

Renyi, J.  (1996). 
The NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education
A portion of this guide to professional development is dedicated to engaging the community in efforts to improve teacher development and student learning. The author describes successful partnerships in specific schools and districts that involve parents or businesses and other professionals in student and teacher learning. It also includes a series of recommendations for creating a "network of learners" consisting of students, parents, teachers, and the community.

Think Outside the Clock: Create Time for Professional Learning
Richardson, Joan. (2002). National Staff Development Council.
This article suggest strategies for creating time for professional development and describes a variety of approaches already taken by specific schools and districts.  The author suggests “banking” time by lengthening the school day, “buying” time by hiring more teachers or substitute teachers, creating common planning time, and adding professional days to the school year.  Under “Schools that have Found Time,” the author describes a once-a-week late start schedule at Brandon High School in Ortonville, MI. Similarly, the Rockwood School District in Ellisville, MO, has a monthly early release day for professional development.

Treating teachers as professionals. 
Curtis, D.  (2000). Edutopia Online.
This article highlights Sherman Oaks Community Charter School, where teachers participate in daily conversations for 90 minutes while students have lunch, a study hall, and a recreation period supervised by community volunteers. Conversations focus on professional development, instructional methods, curriculum, and problem-solving for specific classroom situations.

Critical Issues: Providing More Time for Professional Development
North Central Regional Education Laboratory (NCREL) (2004)
The authors discuss different means to create time for professional development ranging from “traditional strategies,” such as banking time or creating an extended day, to embedding it within the school day or taking advantage of online opportunities. They list “action options” for school board members, administrators, and teachers, in addition to profiling several schools that have taken creative approaches to integrating professional development. They also include a chart listing different strategies, their requirements, effects on parents, and costs.

Making the Most of Volunteers.
Grossman, J.B. and Kathryn Furano. (2002). Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures.
This article explains the kind of infrastructure that organizations such as schools need to put in place in order to maximize the effectiveness of volunteers. The authors discuss screening, training and skills, on-going management and support (including assigning tasks, providing support and supervision), and cost implications.

National Standards for Parent/Family Involvement Strategies
National PTA.
Strategy four pertains to volunteer programs, listing quality indicators of successful volunteer programs and suggesting the types of materials volunteers should receive during training. Successful programs make parents and other volunteers feel welcome, utilize their skills and expertise, and provide opportunities for working parents to help in creative ways.

Inform teachers of grant opportunities and encourage them to apply for grants that fund innovative classroom practices and research.

Bright Ideas Education Grant Program
North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives
The Bright Ideas Education Grant Program, sponsored by North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, provides funding to teachers to implement innovative, classroom-based projects to improve student learning. This site describes the grant program, gives instructions for submitting an application, and provides answers to frequently asked questions.

Grants Available
Education Week
This webpage provides extensive information, including purpose, eligibility requirements, and application information, for grant programs available to teachers.

General Grants for the Classroom
Teachers Count
This webpage provides descriptions of and links to a variety of grant programs for teachers. They divide grants into two categories: for the classroom and continuing education and professional development.

If you have other resources to add or thoughts to share,
please email us at

data analysis | time | leadership | empowerment | prof development | facilities & resource