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Massachusetts Charter Schools

Sustaining Partnerships

Dissemination is often more successful when educational approaches are shared through the development of an ongoing partnership rather than a single event. Developing a partnership is one of the most active forms of dissemination. The Department acknowledges that some schools may not have the capacity or ability to develop partnerships and therefore will engage in a number of the passive activities described above with the goal of someday being able to engage in an active partnership. Over the years, the Department has received a Charter School Program Grant from the US Department of Education. Part of this grant was used to assist charter schools in the dissemination of best practices to district public schools or other charter schools. These dissemination efforts were active and required joint projects and partnerships. In the future, when and if funding is made available, the Department is more likely to fund active dissemination efforts, like partnerships, rather than passive dissemination efforts. If your school plans to engage with a partner:
  • Identify the best or most successful aspects of the partner school that can be built upon using your school's best practices.
  • Work to understand the capacity and autonomy of the partner and the context in which the partner school is operating.
  • Maintain flexibility to adapt the best practice to better fit the needs of the partner school. Consider how the best practice might be most effective as an adaptation instead of a direct replication.
  • Communicate early and often with teachers and principals of the partner school to cultivate support and investment, and to encourage collaboration.
  • Hold events at partner sites.
  • Develop systems and structures for communication and feedback.
  • Consider using a variety of partnership options:
    • Partner with a new school to replicate identified best practices.
    • Partner with multiple schools within a district to replicate identified best practices.
    • Partner with the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association to share a particular best practice.
    • Actively participate in district turnaround efforts such as being the lead partner for a turnaround school.
    • Form a partnership with a university by: hosting visiting students, providing lectures, providing opportunities for study, and multiple practicum placements focused on the unique key design elements of the school.
    • Partner with a local university on research that will lead to the dissemination of the school's practices.
Examples

"We approach dissemination with respect for our colleagues, so we share only relevant practices and spend time understanding the context of this Lawrence Public School. We think teacher to teacher sharing is critical, so we engage both full-time lead teachers and part-time mentors. Our approach is more 'bottom up', than 'top down'. Our lead teachers utilize curriculum sharing by accessing a shared Learning Management System (LMS). We openly dialogue with our teachers and leave room for partners to ask questions and share ideas with us." — Lawrence Family Development Charter School


Last Updated: August 5, 2016
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