Community Partnerships

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Community partnerships help expand and amplify the impact of a system-wide focus on student health and well-being. Partnerships extend beyond formal and informal agreements to include local and global connections, collaborations, and relationships that advance school commitments and student well-being.

Frequently viewed through a classroom lens where outcomes are measured by grades and performance, the short- and long-term community benefits of an SEL wellness initiative are equally powerful. In the 2015 report The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning, Clive Belfield and his fellow researchers found that, on average, for “every dollar invested equally across the six SEL interventions . . . there is a return of eleven dollars, a substantial economic return.”

The report goes on to show that social-emotional skills and competencies such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decisionmaking not only aid in successful student learning, but also may have long-term economic and social contributions. Moreover, ongoing research yields an expanding correlation between SEL skills and direct labor market influence, revealing strongly positive earning impact derived from an enhanced focus on SEL skill development.

From collaborating with community partners for food distribution, connecting with businesses to support community internet locations, and partnering with local health providers to increase mental health or medical services, future ready leaders know that a student’s well-being is a full community effort. A learner-centered educational environment is amplified by a human-centered community. Thus, it is imperative to leverage every possible partnership to support the needs of each child.

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Implementation Guides


become dependent on adult-driven procedures and routines rather than their own skills and motivation. To deliver the education all students deserve—one that prepares them for the lives they choose—the U.S. education system must address the essential elements of student development beyond academics. When students matriculate through K–12 without the skills necessary to engage in learning, they can’t process the vast amount of instruction that comes their way each day and it becomes daunting, if not impossible, to stay on track. This is the achievement gap.

  • What resources and community organizations can you identify to support students obtain access to
    • housing and clothing;
    • food and hygiene staples;
    • mental health providers;

physical health providers;

  • mentors;
  • before-school, after-school, and weekend care; and
  • home internet access?
  • What potential partnerships can amplify the school’s commitment to student health and well-being?
  • What roles might be appropriate to help cultivate and curate partnerships with
    • school counselors;
    • district communications;
    • parent liaisons;
    • club sponsors; and
    • school support/foundation organizations?
  • What communication efforts are in place (or can be) to
    • highlight efforts;
    • showcase partnerships;
    • promote resources;
    • demonstrate relationships; and
    • amplify core values?
  • What crisis channels are available to students outside of the school day?
  • How are these services communicated to
    • students;
    • families;
    • faculty and staff; and
    • community stakeholders?