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Considering Potential
School-Business Partnerships
In Your Community

Principal Joe Corcoran told Education World of the unique partnership between his school and a nearby bookstore. A teacher arranged that partnership as part of her master's degree coursework. "The store owner, whose children attended our school years ago, was looking to reconnect with us. The store is within walking distance to our school, so several classes have taken walking field trips there. While at the store, students participate in interactive literature activities." The store and school have teamed up in many other ways, too:

  • At last year's "Kids Love a Mystery Night" at the store, the bookstore's owner arranged to have the local high school's drama class act out short mini mysteries for the students. Students played an interactive role in the skits and had to solve the mystery based on the clues.
  • The bookstore displays students' Young Author stories. It is a real thrill for students to take their parents to the bookstore to see their books on display.
  • The bookstore rented out a movie theatre to host a discussion about the movie and book Holes. Families attended the private screening and discussion.

"Keeping a partnership requires a lot of communicating. We have set up a partnership committee among our faculty to ensure this happens."

Principal Teri Stokes makes an extra effort to say thank you to Weatherly Heights' business partners. "I think it is important for businesses to know they will get something out of our partnership too -- such as recognition in the weekly newsletter, which in our case, is seen by parents of 550 students. That newsletter is also sent to city council members, school board members, the mayor, and the superintendent, so the businesses get known by a wider community than just our parents. When we have large events such as our Fall Festival, the names of businesses that have donated items are posted in the school lobby too."

No school is too small to take advantage of business partnerships, according to principal Nancy Jenkins. "Mimi's, a local restaurant, provides award certificates for our students, and whenever we ask, they offer up to three dozen of their awesome muffins for parent or staff meetings -- at no cost to the school. We also have partnerships with Target, Office Depot, Albertsons, and Vons. When a customer mentions our school, a small percentage of the purchase is sent to us. Many small local businesses offer certificates for meals, ice cream donations, or small prizes when they are approached by me or one of our school's parent-helpers."

Principal Patricia Green considers herself fortunate that the local Kiwanis Club has taken a leadership role in hooking up the school with a few dozen businesses. Many local business leaders are Kiwanis members, who have taken an active role in sponsoring and advising the school's community service club. Green works closely with Kiwanis leaders.

"The biggest factor in getting businesses involved is the asking. The worst that can happen is that they say no. Usually businesses are eager to help, and then the work begins." (Allan Weiner)

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)