A Guide to Building Education Partnerships
Navigating Diverse Cultural Contexts to Turn Challenge into Promise

Foreword by Judith A. Ramaley
Paper: 978 1 57922 472 1 / $32.50
Published: January 2011  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 57922 489 9 / $95.00  
About Library E-Book

Published: January 2012  

E-Book: 978 1 57922 490 5 / $25.99
Published: March 2012  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
240 pp., 6" x 9"
Education partnerships are central to – and often a requirement of – most education reform initiatives promoted by state and local governments, by foundations, and by business funders. Many fail for failure to understand the dynamics of their complex relationships.

This book provides insights and guidance to enable prospective and existing education partners to develop answers to the questions that are critical to success: Why engage in this partnership? How can you communicate the potential benefits of partnership to motivate teachers, faculty, administrators, and community members? How do you select the best organizational structure and procedures for a partnership? How can you maintain open, deliberative discussion while respecting different histories and cultures? How can you produce compelling evidence that the partnership is worthwhile?

Based on their observation of a five-year-long publicly funded partnership, research data, and the literature, the authors identify the principles that they consider critical to answering these questions. The authors do not minimize the differences and complexities inherent in partnership work, because they believe that doing so would be to present coherence and homogeneity where none exists. Instead, they seek to make evident how these principles underlie many different partnership situations. Thus, rather than presenting a package of best practices, or a cookie-cutter approach, this book presents the organizational principles for planning and implementing education partnerships, along with sets of strategies for working through them.

The authors present the diagnostic tools for undertaking a deliberate and research-based approach to planning, designing, and managing a partnership. By surfacing participants’ often-differing motivations, and the practices and assumptions they bring to the table, the book provides the foundation for developing a constructive relationship. In scope, the book extends beyond school-university partnerships to include schools’ collaboration with state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and the business sector.

Table of Contents:
Introduction: The Challenge and Promise of Education Partnerships
The Nature of Education Partnerships
Working in a Partnership: New Tasks and Challenges
Methodology: Understanding the Underlying Mechanisms of Partnership
The Five Principles of Partnership
How To Use This Book

Part One: Getting Ready for Partnership
1 Shall We Dance? Convening a Pre-Partnership Planning Group
Convening a Pre-Partnership Planning Group
A Final Word on Pre-Partnership Planning
2 Sizing Up Organizational Aspirations and Attributes
Problems, Goals, and Objectives
Capacity and Resources
Autonomy and Interdependence
3 Understanding Cultural Dynamics
Avoiding the Common-Culture Myth
Focusing On Cultural Dynamics Within Organizations
Agenda Items for Your Pre-Partnership Meeting
4 Crossing Organizational and Cultural Boundaries
Why Boundary Crossing is Important
Characteristics of Boundary Crossing
Agenda Items for Your Pre-Partnership Planning Meeting

Part Two: Designing A Partnership
5 Types of Organizational Structures for Partnership
Three Main Partnership Structures
Selecting a Partnership Type
6 Administration and Leadership
Selecting Leaders
Other Administrative Functions
7 Effective communication systems
Working With Existing Systems
Creating a Progressive Partnership Communication System

Part Three Implementing Partnerships
8 Designing the work
Understand the Task Environment
Select Leverage Points
Build Bridges to All Levels of the Local Partner Organization
9 Developing and Managing Working Groups
Guidelines for All Working Groups
Additional Guidelines for Collaborative Working Groups
10 The Key Roles of Trust and Managing Conflict
Dynamics of Trust in Partnerships
Strategies for Developing Trust
Managing Conflict in Education Partnerships


Appendix A: Methodology




Reviews & Endorsements:
"Useful artifacts in the book help make this a true guide to the work of partnership. There is a glossary, because shared language is an important aspect. There are schematics that communicate the complexity of new developing relationships. Bibliographic references are also helpful and could point to additional experts and resources."
- Education Review
"This book is helpful for any leader involved in designing or managing a partnership with an outside group. The book’s mini-summaries, partnership action points, core ideas and bibliographic notes in each chapter highlight useful points and provide resources for further research."
- The School Administrator