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Partners In Education Frequently Asked Questions

•    What is the Partners in Education program?
    The Partners in Education program is designed to build relationships between the Knox County School System and community organizations to improve the educational opportunities of the 55,000 students across the county.  Individual school partnerships allow community groups to impact public education in a targeted location.

•    What is in it for our organization?
    We believe the education of our young people is the responsibility of the entire community, not simply the responsibility of professional educators.  Your organization will gain new insights into the public schools, while also investing in the future health of our community.  Your organization’s image in the community is enhanced through your involvement in Partners in Education.  The program also offers a great vehicle for channeling the community service efforts of your employees or members.

•    How do we choose a partner school?
    Some organizations partner with a school in their neighborhood, while others choose to help in another part of town.  The Partners in Education team will help new partners identify the best fit for their organization.

•    Is there a minimum financial commitment?
    No, the Partners in Education program is built on the belief that relationships make the difference. Although we appreciate financial contributions, we feel strongly that this should be deeper than simply a financial arrangement.

•    Can we partner with more than one school?
    Several businesses with multiple locations have more than one school partner.  However, it is important to have adequate personnel to be effective in multiple sites.

•    What can we do for our school?
    Here is where your creativity can make a difference.  You can involve your employees or members in activities at school or host students for career day.  You can provide incentives to recognize student achievements or provide your professional expertise to the school.  The ideas are unlimited, so ask the school staff to brainstorm with you.  A brief list of partnership ideas is included in this publication.

•    How long does the partnership last?
    Most partnerships continue for as long as the partners feel they are still being effective. In some instances, the community partner will enter the relationship for a designated period of time.

•    Do we have to renew the partnership each year?
    No.  The formal renewal process takes place from year to year.  Partnerships continue until a community partner communicates a change in commitment to the school or the Partners in Education staff.

•    What can the school do for us?
    Here is another area where the creativity of the Partners in Education team makes the difference.  Invite the school Partners in Education team to visit your organization to see where the school can impact your operation.  We like having our students out in the community providing entertainment, art work or other exhibits of their talents and skills.

•    Can we partner with a specific area within the school?
    Yes.  Your organization will be one of several community groups making a commitment to your partner school.  Many community partners choose to focus on specific areas within the school that can benefit the most from their talent and resources.

•    Can we partner with a program that touches several schools across the county?
    Yes.  There are several organizations that work with the school system to develop programs that target grade levels across the system.  In addition, some groups commit to working with a specific curriculum area system wide.  Those activities are coordinated out of the central office through the Partners in Education staff.

•    Do we need to develop a budget for Partners in Education?
    Though not simply a financial commitment, the reality is that many of our partnerships do involve some financial contribution during the year.  In the cases where we know finances are involved, we encourage the development of a budget that is clearly communicated to the Partners in Education team.

•    What happens when a principal or key school contact is no longer at the school?
    The Partners in Education staff can assist with facilitating a meeting between the new parties.  This is where the larger Partners in Education team that includes several members from the school and community organization can be effective in riding through these situations.

•    Can we change schools once we get in the program?
    Yes.  However, the Partners in Education staff prefers to make changes prior to the beginning of the school year.

•    Is there a bad time of the year to enter into a partnership?
    No.  Partnerships that begin late in the school year get the advantage of taking a “test drive” before planning their activities for the next year.  The school system is excited to welcome community involvement throughout the year.

•    What do we need to do if we cannot reach anyone at the school or if communication seems to be breaking down?
    Contact the Partners in Education office at (865) 594-1909, and we will work with the school to identify the solution to the problem.
Last Updated: 1/8/09
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