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Businesses and Schools Can Work Together to Create Better Schools (and make each other money!)

In a recent article in Education World titled: School-Business Partnerships That Work: they discuss how businesses can partner with schools to help both the school and the businesses succeed. Below is an extract of the article. The full article can be read at: http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin323.shtml

Schools and businesses are working together to benefit students, teachers, and entire communities. Successful partnerships can be found across the grades, in schools large and small.

WHAT DO SCHOOLS HAVE TO OFFER BUSINESSES IN RETURN?

Principals and PTOs get very creative in the ways they approach businesses. “We solicit by word of mouth, through parents who work for businesses, and through the Chamber of Commerce,” said Larry Davis, who is principal at Doctors Inlet Elementary School in Middleburg, Florida. “We approach new businesses as they come into our area, too. We use a form letter that states our commitment to each other. The letter includes a checklist that indicates what the business might be able to do for the school and what we might do for the business.”

Schools can help and promote businesses in many ways, Davis said. “We can prepare displays of student artwork or writing, invite business personnel to special activities, promote their business through our newsletters or Web site, and shine the spotlight on partnerships at parent-family functions. We have used our communication board in front of the school to thank community businesses for special donations.”

“Some businesses,” Davis explained, “have a permanent display area set aside [in their company] where we advertise upcoming events, display student work, post our character traits for the month, post our “book of the month” or “student of the month” information”

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,” said Stokes. “That newsletter is also sent to city council members, school board members, the mayor, and the superintendent, so the business gets 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.

“I have found that most businesses like for you to be specific with what you want,” said Stokes. “When we have a specific need I usually post it in our newsletter because I have found parents to be our greatest resource. They will often go to their employers and ask for donations.

“We have an ongoing aluminum can recycling project, and many of the businesses where parents are employed save cans for us,” added 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,” said Potter. “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”

“Most businesses would love to get involved if we would just reach out to them,” said Tony Pallija. “The problem is that most of us don’t have an avenue for getting together.”

 

That’s where organizations like The School Communications Agency (TSCA) comes in. We know how to match sponsors to schools so that both the schools and the businesses gain an advantage. At TSCA we are all about making sure improved communications, engaged parents and involved community partners lead to better education.

About The Author

Jerry is the President and Chief Ideas Officer of The School Communications Agency. Jerry has been the President of four different Human Resource companies over the years and is excited to be applying his skills to help schools and children succeed. His passion has always been on creating something new and different. When he’s not hanging out at the office he can be found scrambling around in the mountains with his wife Beverly and their (all too) crazy dog Sadie.