Building Partnerships and Agreements
Working together and sharing facilities makes good sense but takes a bit of work. There are a number of things that need to be thought through to make sure the arrangement meets everyone’s needs. A shared use agreement formalizes these arrangements between schools and community groups and/or other organizations. The process does not have to be long and complicated it should be scaled to the complexity of the arrangement that you are putting in place. For example, making an agreement for a sports league to use a school gym on Monday evenings should be relatively quick and easy; one for a private daycare centre to operate in the school would take more time; one for reciprocal joint use of all school district and community recreation facilities perhaps even more time.
When becoming a Neighbourhood Learning Centre, it is important that activities fit within your concept for the NLC, that is, they meet both the school/district and community needs. For every idea considered as part of a NLC, the board and its working team should consider:
- How does this fit with the education mandate for our students?
- How will this benefit our community?
- What link/synergy will this opportunity create to enhance student learning and the community?
- Does the opportunity physically ‘fit’ in the space?
- What modifications/changes to building structure might be needed?
- Is the space dual- or multi-purpose – for example a community meeting room?
- Are priority needs being addressed?
- Are gaps or service needs being addressed?
Not every potential partnership should be pursued. Is a prospective partner going to bring support and services that are important to the school and community? By using effective decision making to develop a coherent program, a NLC can bring together the most appropriate partners while building a comprehensive set of services and supports.
Review the detailed NLC Shared Uses Agreement Guide and learn about tools and resources available for building agreements. You will find all the information you need to create a shared use agreement that works for you and your partners.