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Coordinating with Other School Districts in Education

Instructor: Kim-Kathie Knudsen

Kim-Kathie has taught high school and college Spanish and has worked as a professional development specialist and instructional technology administrator. She has a master's degree in Teaching and Curriculum and is currently working on her doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Forming partnerships with other school districts is a good strategy to make the most out of school resources. This lesson focuses on why it is advantageous to collaborate with other districts and describes practical ways to begin working together.

Collaboration, Not Isolation

It's the end of the school year and standardized test scores have been announced. Your school now ranks lower than the school in the next town over. What do you do? One option is to reach out to district leaders for tips that work for their district that you could bring to yours.

Marching Band

School leaders are tasked with managing a school with increasing expectations and decreasing budgets. Smaller schools and those in rural or suburban areas may lack the resources to fill positions and offer appropriate instruction and activities to students. Choice in education allows students to choose to attend a charter school, often at the expense of the district. One strategy school leaders can use is to form partnerships with other school districts to collaborate on best practices, share resources and programs, and explore alternative ways of learning.

Coordinating Services

School districts are legally bound by local, state, and federal mandates to offer programs and services to meet the needs of all students, including special education, English-language learners, economically disadvantaged, and gifted education. These population groups have a need in each school district but may not warrant developing a program or providing services for a few students. For example, we see this situation taking place in special education. District A, B, and C each have one blind student, two deaf students, and two students needing intensive emotional support. Instead of each district offering a full program for each population group, the districts can coordinate services with each other so District A offers a program for the blind, District B has a program for the deaf, and District C provides a program for emotional support. Each district provides transportation from the home district to the neighboring district but since services are coordinated, the amount spent is equally distributed. Alternative Education programs, education provided for students who need a non-traditional program, are often run this way as well since many smaller districts do not have enough students in this population to justify their own programs. Services can either be coordinated or a district can pay tuition to a neighboring district to educate the child.

Curricular Programs

Students videoconferencing

21st-century students are responding to the changes in society by seeking an anywhere, anytime learning that is far different from the traditional schedule of the school. Students are asking for choice in the form of programming and learning in curricular programs, programs designed to fulfill curriculum requirements and expand learning opportunities. Programs such as internships and dual-enrollment courses, college courses offered to high school juniors and seniors, are becoming standard at many school districts. School leaders are faced with the task of staffing these programs; it is difficult to find a teacher to teach a section of Japanese II to two students during a class period. Coordinating with local colleges and other school districts allows for students in one district to take classes with teachers and students in other districts. Technology such as video conferencing, web-based learning management systems, and online courseware allow for students to work on courses outside and inside of the school day. Districts close to each other can even choose to split a teacher for a half day so classes can be offered at both locations.

Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular Activities

School Stadium

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