Partnerships between school and community set the stage for learning to extend beyond the classroom. For students, partnerships can open up more of the real-world learning experiences that engage them, providing introductions to role models or access to resources. For both schools and potential allies, effective collaboration may mean thinking differently about the role of partnerships to extend learning from the campus into the community."
Suzie Boss in All Together Now
Community Partnerships: Real Work That Matters!
Putting learning in the context of the real world raises the stakes on student engagement. As the quote to the right notes, most classrooms have opportunities to make school more relevant and meaningful by connecting the curriculum to the world beyond their classroom. As educators, we need to consider how meaningful work really is if it ends up crammed into a folder - or worse, in a trash can.
When reflecting on our beliefs about learning, educators recognize that people learn powerfully and deeply when they apply what they're learning in the real world, when they are making a difference through their accomplishments, and when the products they create have relevance in the community. Despite this, most schools struggle to find a range of opportunities to bridge the gap between our schools and the real world. With this in mind, we need to find access points to help our students leverage community partnerships to engage in real work that matters.
What are some examples of "real work that matters"
that currently exist at Nipmuc?
Take two minutes to engage in conversation with your table-partners about examples of "real work that matters" that currently exists at Nipmuc. Next, add your ideas to the Padlet below.
A Template for Community Partnerships:
Cumberland Farms SmartPay Collaboration
The Challenge: Cumberland Farms has launched a highly successful app that allows customers to make purchases easily at the pump or in the store. Despite the success of the app, there are additional opportunities to expand the appeal of the app to younger audiences.
The Opportunity: In order to make the app more interesting and appealing to a younger audience, Cumberland Farms is seeking opportunities to "game-ify" the app with digital games that would be interesting to younger users.
The Partnership: Students in Nipmuc's marketing program will work collaboratively in small groups to brainstorm and develop game concepts to be shared with Cumberland Farms.
The Benefits: Students have the chance to develop an idea that has relevance and meaning in the world beyond Nipmuc. Successful groups will have the chance to present their game design to a panel of Cumberland Farms executives in a formal setting. In addition to touring the headquarters and gaining professional board-room experience, students will have the chance to get professional experience and mentoring from executives in the field.
Access Points to Real Work That Matters:
Start with the Essential Questions
Essential questions are those that go to the heart of a subject or curriculum and promote inquiry and discovery of a subject. Some of the characteristics of essential questions are that they encourage higher-order thinking, promote inquiry and investigation, and organize the key concepts of a course of study. When considering community partnershps, essential questions provide an access point that allow students and teachers to build connections that get to the core parts of the curriculum.
Getting Actionable: Building Partnerships across the Curriculum
Working collaboratively with your group, select an essential question from the document below. Then, decide the following:
- What does it currently look like when we explore this essential question in the classroom?
- Give examples of where this essential question shows up in the real world.
- Which community partnership(s) could help us design learning experiences that explore this essential question in the real world?
- With the help of this community partner, what are some learning experiences that students could engage in to explore this essential question?