The Power of Partnerships
“We need to move from thinking about me to thinking about we” – Retired Superintendent of Schools
A week or so ago, I was talking with a friend of mine who has a child who recently started in a new school in Edmonton. This student has some challenges and had difficulty fitting into a school setting the year before. Her opening statement was “for the first time I feel like I have a partner at my son’s school, I’m not in there feeling like I have to fight for everything, when I go in I feel like they are there to work with me”. This struck a chord with me and I started to reflect on the way that we develop partnerships within our school community. When I think about the word partnership I think of people working together towards a common goal. It’s the “we” approach to solving a problem and to coming up with a plan that make sense for all involved. If everyone is involved in determining where we are going it’s easier for us to all pull in the same direction to achieve success. In reflecting on the partnerships that I have been a part of there are three common core elements that I believe are crucial to making things work:
- Voice – Everyone has an equal voice and the ability to say when they disagree with a direction the group is taking. This doesn’t mean that everyone agrees all the time, but it does mean that when we disagree we work around things to find an agreeable compromise.
- Goal – For a partnership to be effective we all have to have the same big goal, we may be working on different aspects of the goal, but everything should tie back to that one big rock that we are all working on.
- Trust – This is the most important aspect of an effective partnership. Trust is at the core of any partnership. When I reflect on partnerships that were ineffective trust always factored into why they broke down. When I look at the ones that I am/have been involved in that were the most effective they are with people who I have a large degree of trust in.
There are many more core elements of what makes a successful partnership, what are the top three in your mind?
Bryn is an assistant principal at a school in Spruce Grove, he enjoys spending time with his family and exploring nature. He is always looking for ways to remove barriers that help to allow students to reach their full potential and beyond.