Across the nation, Community Partnerships are forming, where HigherEd institutions partner with local K/12 school districts to provide evidence-based tutoring to younger students in their backyard. These partnerships offer states and districts an interesting alternative to traditional, for-profit tutoring partnerships. These community partnerships offer 3 unique advantages that could lead to a greater impact on student success than traditional tutoring programs and a more sustainable tutoring model.
- If designed correctly, these partnerships can help improve the academic achievement of K/12 students. Providing access to high-impact tutoring, which meets the standards set forth by the National Student Support Accelerator, gives students the individualized support they need to succeed in school and mitigate learning loss. This can help close the achievement gap and ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to succeed.
- These partnerships can provide valuable professional development opportunities for university students interested in careers in education and create a pipeline of talent for local districts. By participating in tutoring programs, university students can gain hands-on experience working with K/12 students and can develop the skills and knowledge they need to become effective educators. They will also build relationships with local principals and superintendents, leading to career opportunities in the schools and inevitably addressing the teacher shortage. Deans For Impact is a non-profit that is focusing on these partnerships and has developed specific training content for future educators who are participating in community-tutoring partnerships.
- Last but certainly not least, these local partnerships between universities and local school districts can foster a sense of pride and ownership within the community. By working together to support the academic success of K/12 students, universities and schools can demonstrate their commitment to the local community and can help build stronger, more supportive relationships with families and other community members. Because both the university and district are in the same town/region, these programs can provide more culturally relevant instruction and mentorship to their students. We see this in the state of Virginia, where Urban Leagues are partnering with HBCUs to provide academic mentorship to students in local districts. This approach can help create a sense of shared responsibility for student success.
Overall, these sustainable partnerships between universities and local school districts can provide a wide range of benefits for K/12 students, university students, and the community as a whole. By providing evidence-based tutoring and other support, such partnerships can help improve academic achievement, develop a talent pipeline for future teachers, and create a more collaborative, supportive learning environment for all students.