• How Will You Formalize a Partnership?

    Introducing Potential Partners to Your School 

    When your school is interested in establishing a partnership with a particular person or group, invite them to the school for your first meeting. Show them around, introduce them to staff and students, and make them feel welcome. Share information sheets or brochures that highlight school successes and statistics. Be honest about your school’s growth areas and how that partner can contribute to them.

    By demonstrating your school pride, as well as openness to and transparency with external stakeholders, prospective partners will feel more invested in and excited about your school.

    Identifying a Point Person or Partnership Liaison

    It is essential to have an identified contact person at the school for each partnership you establish. This person will communicate all updates, news, and concerns to the partner organization, including school closures, program cancelations, or schedule changes, as well as the ongoing communication that helps a program run smoothly. The Partnership Liaison should be involved in any onboarding and introductory meetings with your new partner so that they can begin building a relationship.

    Your Partnership Liaison could be your Community School Coordinator, Assistant Principal, or a teacher leader within your building. Ensure that the partner has the most updated contact information and the reassurance that they can reach out when they have a concern or question.

    Creating Written Agreements

    ALL partner commitments must be formalized with a written agreement. There are three primary types of agreement documents used by City Schools: 

    Types of Agreements  

    Written agreements usually discuss the roles and responsibilities of the school and partner organization, as well as the following clauses that only apply in some cases:

    • Financial terms for program fees
    • Dates, times, and fees for use of space
    • Data sharing terms and conditions
    • Background checks for volunteers and program staff
    • Liability and insurance  

    The type of agreement documents is determined by the type of transaction or activity, not by the type of partner or organization, so it is possible for an organization to have multiple agreements with your school. Click below to download templates for these documents.


    Learn more about how to submit an MOU here. Note that per Board Policy DJA and Regulation DJA-RA, the CEO of City Schools is the ONLY approved signer for binding agreements. Principals are not permitted to sign binding agreements on behalf of the CEO. Your school contact is responsible for submitting the appropriate paperwork through Central Office. Please do not contact the City Schools CEO yourself. This process can take time and does require patience. Starting the process well in advance of your planned start date is important.

    Completing an Application for Space Usage

    Partners who need to use school facility space outside of the school's operating hours will need to complete a space and use application and abide by the associated City Schools policies. Per Board Policy FKA and Regulation FKA-RA, school facilities can be used by outside organizations for “educational, civic, social, religious, and recreational activities” that meet the following guidelines:
    Activities on school grounds CANNOT:
    • Generate a profit, unless it is a fundraiser for charitable purposes;
    • Involve the sale or consumption of alcohol or tobacco, or gambling activities;
    • Be related to political campaigns, including rallies, fundraisers, debates, or meetings, other than for instructional purposes;
    • Be privately hosted parties or celebrations;
    • Interfere with instructional time or space during school hours; or
    • Utilize custodians or other City Schools employees as supervisory staff, even though they must legally be present. 
    NOTE: This list is not exhaustive. Regulation FKA-RA outlines additional specifications for space usage.
    Authorized users must have a Certificate of Liability Insurance on file and have a space and use agreement in place before the event. See the link below for the space and use application.  
    Fees may apply for some types of space usage. See the link below for a table of fees, as per policy FKA.
    Planning for Implementation with Your Partner

    Whenever a new program begins, there are always logistics to work out. It is important to agree on these details with your partner before implementation starts. Think about the following questions, and use them to guide your early discussions with your partner:
    • When will the program or services take place?
    • Will the partner need to utilize space within the school building?
    • Who are the points of contact for the partner organization?
    • How will both parties know that the partnership has been successful?
    This planning worksheet can be completed during these initial conversations with your partner. Be sure to give the partner a copy and save the original, as the back can be used for assessing progress throughout the year. Consider keeping a binder of all partner planning worksheets so that you have them in one place.

    Supporting Your Partner in Securing Student Data

    Staff- and student-level data is protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which prevents schools from sharing or disclosing personal information without written consent from that from employee or from a student’s parent or guardian. These restrictions also apply to data sharing on the district level and are guided by policy LCA and regulation LCA-RA.

    Protected student-level information can include, but is not limited to:
    • Personally Identifiable Information
      • Student name
      • Birthdate
      • Student ID number
      • Demographic information, such as gender, race, or Free and Reduced Meal eligibilit
    • Educational Records
      • Grades or achievement data
      • Test scores
      • Attendance data
      • Disciplinary records
      • Special education designations or services
    Protected staff-level information can include, but is not limited to:
    • Personally Identifiable Information
      • Employee name
      • Employee ID number
    • Employment Records
      • Job title
      • Tenure within the district
      • Salary 
    Note: It is ILLEGAL for schools to share any of this information with partners.
    Partners seeking this level of data (ie., disaggregated, not publicly-available) must submit a request for data sharing with the Office of Achievement and Accountability (OAA). Partners can learn more about this process by visiting the External Requests for Data page on the OAA website
    The Partnerships Toolkit is a product of the Engagement Office. If you have additional questions, you can contact engagement@bcps.k12.md.us or call (443) 984-2000. You will reach the City Schools Call Center, so ask to be connected to the Engagement Office.