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 better understand how community resources can help teachers solve classroom problems and help students learn.

Community Partnership Resource Page
The George Lucas Educational Foundation
The George Lucas Educational Foundation is committed to documenting and disseminating information about successful practices in K-12 education.  One complete area of the GLEF website is dedicated to successful community-based partnership programs being used nationwide.  Including articles, interactive videos, interviews with experts, suggested strategies and descriptions of actual programs and approaches being used, it is an extensive source of information for parents, businesses, community leaders and educators looking to maximize the power of their partnerships.

Business Partnership Resource Page.
The George Lucas Educational Foundation.
The types of supports that businesses can provide to education are significantly different from the types of supports provided by other members of the community at large.  One complete area of the GLEF website is dedicated to successful business partnership programs being used nationwide.  Including articles, interactive videos, interviews with experts, suggested strategies and descriptions of actual programs and approaches being used, it is an extensive source of information for businesses, community leaders and educators looking to maximize the power of their partnerships in the interest of professional learning and student achievement.

What Do We Mean by “Family and Community Connections with Schools?”
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (Nov, 2002)
School leaders are often interested in establishing home/school partnerships in order to develop a shared vision for education within their communities.  These partnerships, however, are often unable to reach their full potential because of different understandings between school members and community members over the meaning of family and community connections.  This two-page research brief from SEDL is designed to clarify the potential benefits of collaborative partnerships between families and schools.  It includes references to related research and five focusing questions that school leaders can use to evaluate the current status of their home/school partnerships.


The Exponential Results of Linking School Improvement and Community Development:  Collaborative Strategies for Revitalizing Rural Schools and Communities
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (2000)
The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory is committed to helping schools and communities work together for the benefit of students.  Establishing and nurturing this partnership is a role that school level leaders must assume and excel at.  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.


Apply for grants that fund innovative classroom practices and teacher 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.

Collaborate with other teachers and develop better ways to discuss problems and solutions, such as a "Critical Friends Group."


Sustaining School Improvement:  Communication
Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (2003)
Isolation is a problem that has plagued education for decades.  Teachers often work alone, failing to exchange information and share ideas.  Breaking down these communication barriers is critical to identifying best practice within a building and focusing the efforts of an entire school community. This four-page document outlines the key elements of communication within a schoolhouse, offers strategies that school leadership teams can use to promote effective communication, provides a rubric for evaluating communication practices, and shares a ‘success story’ from Singing Hills Elementary School in Elizabeth, Colorado.

Their Key to Survival:  Each Other
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Supporting teachers, either in their initial years or later in their careers, does not have to be a task reserved for building administrators.  This article from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development describes the work of four teachers in Liverpool, N.Y. who created a “collaborative teacher network” designed to support one another throughout the school year.  The four teachers worked as a team, planning lessons and instruction, evaluating the results of their teaching, and refining their professional practice.  They set aside time each week to meet with one another, and kept in regular contact via email and phone calls.  As a result, their teaching improved and they each developed the skills required of reflective practitioners.  What makes this project even more exciting is that these teachers were all in their first year of service.

Schedule planning periods at times that allow for teachers to collaborate in teams or observe others teaching.

Finding Time for Faculties to Study Together
Murphy, C. (Summer 1997) Journal of Staff Development v.18 n.3
Carleen Murphy provides an extensive list of options used by different schools to create time for teachers to meet in “study groups.” Sample strategies include early release, late start, hiring substitutes, and involving parents or business partners in special activities.

Making Time for Adult Learning
Pardini, P. (Spring 1999) Journal of Staff Development
This article highlights different methods used by eight schools across the country to create time for teacher collaboration. Strategies include early release, involving students in community service projects, allowing paraprofessionals to cover classes for a limited period of time, and reassessing how faculty meeting time is currently used. The author provides contact information for each of the profiled schools.

Target Time Toward Teachers
Darling-Hammond, Linda. (1999). Journal of Staff Development, 20, (2), p. 31-36.
This article addresses the importance of teacher time for planning and collaboration to quality teaching.  The author encourages schools to create time for teachers to work in teams that serve a common group of students and provides samples for rethinking schedules from International High School and Central Park East Secondary School in New York City.

Think Outside the Clock: Create Time for Professional Learning
Richardson, Joan. (2002). National Staff Development Council.
This article suggests strategies for creating time for professional development and describes a variety of approaches 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.  She also lists ways to free teachers from instruction occasionally so that they can meet in disciplinary or interdisciplinary teams . 

Plan Thoughtfully for Team Time
Hirsch, Stephanie. (2002). Results. National Staff Development Council.
The author argues that the key issue with encouraging professional learning is not finding the time but finding a way to use the time well.  She recommends establishing expectations for team learning, specifying the content for learning team time, and teaching processes that encourage smooth meetings.

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