New Report by Learning First Alliance Shows Paths for Collaboration Between Schools, Businesses, and Community Groups
Contact: Richard Long, Learning First Alliance
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Alexandria, Va. (Sept. 6, 2018) – Schools and businesses have common and often compatible goals to better prepare their students for higher education, careers, and life. The Learning First Alliance (LFA), a coalition of 12 major national education organizations, and business partners from leading industries recently joined together to find ways to reach their mutual goals, at the start of the school year and beyond.
Their new report, “Community in Education: Bringing Businesses and Schools Together” brings forth new ways that schools can partner with local businesses, from large, multi-national corporations to small, family-owned storefronts, to give their students more meaningful, real-life educational experiences.
“The ecosystem of schools, communities and business is one of interdependence,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, executive director of the National PTA and 2018-19 chair of the Learning First Alliance. “Employers are always looking for the best talent and they cannot attract the best talent unless they are in vibrant communities where employees’ children can receive a quality education. Those great schools, in turn, create valuable employees of the future.”
The group of about 30 executives and key staff members of technology, manufacturing, media, local government agencies, nonprofits and LFA organizations brainstormed ideas to help build better relationships and find common ground for initiatives. Discussions were based on four of the six elements identified in LFA’s recent compendium, “The Elements of Success: 10 Million Speak on Schools that Work.” These included: Supporting the Total Child, Developing a Strong and Supported Teaching Force and Staff, Engaging Families and Communities, and Focusing on All Students.”
Participants built a menu of ideas which included:
- Schools and businesses working together to offer mentoring, job shadowing and internships for students;
- Discussions on how to teach “soft skills” needed in business environments;
- Building a national awareness campaign on teaching to help recruit more teachers;
- Identifying business’ high-need jobs and educating parents and students on the skills needed to pursue careers in those fields;
- Jointly develop high school classes and trainings for certifications and other high-need skills;
- Advocacy for more school counselors and other mutual interests.
Participants called for more sustainable models to bring together schools, businesses and other organizations that will help them bring timely and responsive curricula to schools and allow students to gain real-life skills before graduation.
“Businesses, community organizations and schools must realize that they are as unique as each of our students, and each will have specific needs aligned to the local region,” said Richard M. Long, LFA executive director. “This menu of ideas can be replicated and customized as each community sees the need, and if implemented well, these ideas will make a difference in the quality of public education and our students’ lives.”
LFA has ongoing meetings and events with its group of business partners. Most recently, LFA and some of its business associates traveled to The Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding to witness how the company works with local schools to provide hands-on learning opportunities for teachers and students and apprenticeships for well-qualified high school graduates.