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Leech: Making collaboration a School District priority

Leech: Making collaboration a School District priority

Collaboration is a word we hear a lot these days – it’s the buzz word heard in the hallowed chambers of governments, corporate board rooms and non-profit executive offices.

However, before we consider collaborating with any organization we need to ask some key questions.

What do we mean by collaboration? There are many interpretations of the word, depending on the context and the level of collaborative experience of the partners.

For some it’s like networking, the exchange of information for mutual benefit. Or joint coordination – planning activities for a common purpose and sharing resources.

Real collaboration however, means enhancing the capacity of the partners for mutual benefit and a common purpose; building interdependent systems to address issues and opportunities, sharing resources and making equal commitment.  This level of collaboration requires a significant amount of time and a high level of trust between the partners.

Partners need to ask:  Do we have a climate of trust?; information sharing?; meaningful participation?; collective decision making?; protection of divergent views?  If not, are the partners willing to develop the skills and knowledge necessary for success?

Why collaborate, and why now?

If education in the 21st century requires that we consider the whole child in the whole community, how does collaboration help us achieve that goal?

Collaboration in education requires multiple partnerships, a system-wide approach to building school and community capacity.  Combining learning at the classroom level with interventions and learning in all domains of the children’s environment (the whole child, the whole school, the whole community).

Collaboration is embedded in many ways in our School District Strategic Plan and we will have the opportunity to celebrate some of our exciting partnerships at the March 7 “Partners in Learning” event, 5 pm at Chatelech Secondary School. All are welcome.

Another opportunity for collaborative conversations will be the March 14 intergovernmental meeting hosted by the District of Sechelt.  We look forward to exploring potential new partnerships – who knows what’s possible when we collaborate.

“The trick is not to see things no one has seen before, but to see things everyone sees with new eyes”.  Erwin Schrodinger, Austrian physicist

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