How Will You Identify Your School's Needs?
Create a list of your existing partnerships
It is hard to know what gaps exist in your school programming until you know the big picture of everything you offer. With your partnership liaison, community school coordinator, and/or School-Family Council, create a list of every partnership that exists at your school. Identify who each partner serves (students, families, and/or the community) and what type of programming they offer (academics, mentoring, mental health, etc.).
Look across categories and audiences to see which are underrepresented. These are areas that you can seek out partners to address.
Click here to download a partnership list template.
Use existing data whenever possible to identify needs
Conducting a needs assessment does not mean that the school team has to create and distribute a huge survey to stakeholders. Often, schools already have plenty of information that they can use to figure out what the school community’s needs are.
Do you have any of the following information that you could use?
- Notes from SST meetings for consistent needs of students
- Intake information for Pre-K and K students, as well as for after-school or summer programs
- List of referrals made to families for outside agencies and service providers
- Agendas and minutes from Parent-Teacher Organization meetings or School-Family Council meetings
- School Survey results
- School Effectiveness Review (SER) results
- School Performance Plan
- Parent Feedback from Annual Title I Meeting
Look through these documents and other similar reports for patterns that stick out. Schools can certainly hold focus groups or conduct surveys for stakeholders if more information is needed, but often, they already have what they need to determine focus areas.
Get input from your stakeholders
It is likely that your school community’s needs are already coming up in conversations with different groups of stakeholders. Look back on agendas and meeting minutes from the School-Family Council or Parent-Teacher Organization to see what concerns are recurring from families and community members. If your school has a student council or student advocacy group, listen to the issues they are raising and discussing. Think of the feedback being given at staff meetings and professional development sessions.
If your school is not sure what one or more of your stakeholder groups views as a primary need, just ask them! They will appreciate having their voice heard by those who can help them meet their needs.
Consider your school's special populationsWhen evaluating your school's needs, remember to think about special populations of students who may need differentiated supports. These include students with special needs, non-native English speakers, students who are gifted, and students who are homeless. Remember that there are local partners who specialize in these populations! If you need additional guidance on serving these students, use the links below to contact the relevant offices at City Schools.
The Partnerships Toolkit is a product of the Engagement Office. If you have additional questions, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (443) 984-2000. You will reach the City Schools Call Center, so ask to be connected to the Engagement Office.