Community & Stakeholder Involvement

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Community and stakeholder involvement is a vital part of a successful school. Positive community and stakeholder relationships not only enable schools to more effectively recognize and respond to students' needs, but also promote the health, well-being, and learning of all students. In addition, community and stakeholder involvement encourages healthy family dynamics that promote healthy student behaviors.

Positive community relationships result in the sharing and maximizing of resources. Positive community connections benefit everyone- the school, teachers, students, parents, and community members. Through genuine relationships with community members, school leaders are able to maintain high levels of visibility and are able to request and secure the materials and support needed to help the school achieve its goals. Teachers’ work is also improved through the ample number of resources and expertise gained through these interactions. Connecting community activities to the classroom has been shown to positively impact students’ academic achievement, improve school-related behaviors, and reduce school suspension rates. Since schools often support the community by enabling communication, providing facilities, and educating the future workforce, the community also benefits as a result of these relationships.

Stakeholder involvement is equally as important. Students whose parents are involved in their education have been shown to demonstrate improved behavior, boast higher self-esteem, and possess better social skills. In addition, these students tend to attend school more consistently, complete homework assignments more frequently, be more successful academically, and graduate and go on to college.

There are several ways schools can work to better establish relationships with the community and its stakeholders. One way is by establishing a school-wide policy that values diversity and promotes family and community involvement. Stakeholders and community members are more likely to get involved if they know their ideas and input are valued and welcomed. Schools must remain flexible and recognize the value of community and stakeholder involvement in order for the mutual partnership to be successful. Schools can also emphasize family and community outreach. In order to better include parents and stakeholders, school leaders and staff can take the necessary measures to effectively engage and educate them on the schools' operations, expectations, and goals. Finally, schools must work hard to establish trust. Trust is key to establishing successful, long term, beneficial relationships with both its stakeholders and community members.

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Melissa Knight

IL 578