Gauging the Fit of a Potential New Partner

If you have not yet framed your school’s goals and thought about how potential partnerships could help, we recommend that you start with the Framing School Goals/Priorities Module before bringing in additional partnerships.

Establishing a partnership at your school can be a great way to expand the educational and experiential opportunities available to students.

The flow chart below shows one recommended way to go about gauging the fit of a potential new partner.  There are three main phases outlined in bold blue (Introduction, Planning and Check-in before implementation) for which we have created conversation guides (see lower bar below) to help you have these conversations with the prospective partner.

We recommend keeping the following in mind when considering adding new partnerships to your school’s portfolio:

School-based partnerships are about quality, not quantity.

The quality of a school-based partnership depends on a number of factors, including the design of the program, the degree to which the work of the partner aligns with a school’s needs and also the extent to which the school actively supports the work of the partner through regular meetings and collaboration.  More partners means more work in supporting those partnerships, so make sure you prioritize bringing in partners that are aligned with your school’s priorities.

Clear alignment between the work of your partners and your school’s goals.

Some partner programs specifically target academic growth, while others may focus on expanding extended learning opportunities.  Whatever a partner program focuses on, it should be addressing a need at your school.

The most impactful partnerships are the ones where the school and the partner communicate early and often about their shared work.

Covering the topics in the conversation guides below will help the partnership start strong, but it is also crucial that you regularly check in with the partner throughout the year to discuss how things are going and make adjustments to improve the partnership.