Principal Kathy House has arranged with several businesses -- including a Valley Pastries, a local bakery, a TCBY ice cream shop, and McDonald's -- to provide coupons for teacher treats. "Giving a coupon for a free cookie is a nice private way of saying thank you. The cookie coupon is a win for the bakery because it gets 'free' advertising and most people will buy something in addition to the cookie." House hands out the coupons to teachers who have gone above-and-beyond. House also helped arrange a unique partnership that involved workers at a local company as tutors via e-mail. Students e-mailed writing samples and the workers provided feedback.
"Two local churches that have students at our school have 'adopted' us. One group provides goodies about once a month for the teacher lounges, and they have a special fund to help pay for field trips for kids who can't afford them. A group of retired educators at another church also does special things for the teachers, especially in January, which can be such a blah month." (Teri Stokes)
Dr. Les Potter, principal at Silver Sands Middle School Port Orange, Florida, has been known to approach potential business partners, but "I think it is very important for a principal to be able to offer something concrete in return to business partners. A partnership cannot be a one-way street with the school always asking. You might have a clear idea of what you can offer them, or you can ask the business partner what they might want in return. I have had partners ask for our choral groups to sing on special occasions and for our "Brain Brawl" club to compete with the partner's best brains in a fun competition"
Jill Massa is principal of a small community school. Schools in small communities should not hesitate to expand their search for business partners to businesses in surrounding communities that are supported by residents of their town. That is a lesson she learned when she was contacted by the Costco store in a nearby town. Costco invited her to send a volunteer to a backpack-stuffing event. "Volunteers stuffed backpacks with lots of goodies, and schools that sent volunteers got to take away a few of the stuffed backpacks for their neediest students. As principals, we need to reach out to businesses -- including those businesses that are part of our larger communities -- to see what kinds of programs they might have available or what opportunities for partnering might be created."
"Most businesses would love to get involved if we would just reach out to them. The problem is that most of us don't have an avenue for getting together. Sometimes principals just have to walk around the block and say hello. They might be surprised to find how many people are out there to help." (Tony Pallija)
Take Five more to read this entire article from Education World's "Principal Files" series:
"School-Business Partnerships That Work: Success Stories from Schools of All Sizes"
(Education World -- September 16, 2003)