April 25, 2014

Carol Hill in Youth Today on "Building Strong School-Community Relationships"

Carol Hill, the director of the Bayview Beacon Center, penned a recent op-ed in Youth Today on the process of building a strong and enduring relationship between the school and CBO partner. An excerpt:

I became the director of a Beacon Center in San Francisco in 2009. My original plan for creating a quality OST program was to go with business as usual: school staff taking care of instructional time and my program taking over after dismissal. However, the school I was working with was chosen to implement the community schools approach. After a lot of studying on both the principal’s and my parts, we realized that our new relationship was going to be anything but business as usual. We recognized that when a school and CBO decide to partner, it necessitates a fairly significant shift in their traditional relationship. Most notably, the school’s CBO partners move from independent entities working to actualize the school’s vision in tandem to interdependent stakeholders who help co-craft and implement that vision together. With the sharing of resources also comes the opportunity to share leadership.

Five years later, my school and the Beacon Center enjoy the comfort of that “old school” style marriage, wherein our common and co-created goal for the success of our students, families and communities, has remained constant. This process has been by no means easy, or elegant.  However, two of the lessons that we’ve learned are to not be afraid of imperfection in our relationship and to recalibrate when necessary. The school had to change how it saw its role and how to function within our collaboration, and my CBO program had to do the same. The result is an identity that uniquely and authentically works for us both, forged in trust and mutual respect.

You can read the full article here, and read more by Carol on powersharing in implementation of the community schools model here.