Developing a Partnership
Set A Vision
Identify Schools for Texas Partnership
First, districts should establish and apply transparent and objective criteria for identifying existing schools, or neighborhoods where a Texas Partnership would address a specific community need. That could mean launching an innovation school partnership in a rapidly growing part of town or restarting a struggling school at risk of closure as a turnaround partnership school. This first step should produce a list of possible partnership schools the district can share with potential partner organizations. The list also serves as starting point for working with school communities in the partnership process.
Secondly, districts should identify schools for a Texas Partnership based on the school performance framework or additional criteria, such as school readiness, community support, and potential for matching it with qualified partner organizations. Districts should also consider alternative school actions, such as school closure or redesign, that may be more appropriate for meeting district and school objectives. Through this two-step approach, districts will be able to narrow the list of potential schools to focus on those most likely to succeed.
Engage the School Community
It is critical that the district communicate clearly and consistently with all of its stakeholders. The district should clearly articulate the reasons for the partnership, the goals for partnership, and what families can expect from the process. It is also essential to set clear expectations for community involvement. Community members should know when they will have an opportunity to vote, shape a policy or statement, or provide feedback – and how the district will then use that information to develop the partnership.
Finally, it is important to anticipate that partnerships may be challenging, especially in districts where partnerships do not already exist, and families and school staff feel uncertain about the future of their school. Districts must set clear expectations about the partnership, including how it will form and how it will work, and to communicate at each step along the way.
Recruit Operating Partners
- An overview of Texas Partnerships and anticipated roles and responsibilities
- Details about the schools and types of partnerships desired
- High-level student demographic data so operators can determine if they are a good fit
- Detailed information about the needs of students at each schools
- Community priorities for the school
- Grant funds or supplemental funds available for the partnership, including an estimate of potential funding available to approved partnership schools
- Any non-negotiables for partnership from the district’s perspective
- Clear, published criteria for evaluating operator applications
Collect & Evaluate Local Partnership Applications
A Strong Partner Application, Includes:
- Evidence of prior success (if applicable)
- A sound educational plan
- Student discipline policy
- Annual performance goals
- Governance board with diverse skill set
- Recognition of unique needs of different student groups and a plan to address them
- Strong people management system
- A vision for school culture
- A thoughtful student recruitment plan
- An evaluation and assessment plan
- Strong leadership team
- How the operator will address any other specific campus needs