A school is not an island in its neighbourhood or municipality. A school link can therefore extend far beyond the boundaries of the school walls. It affects all those directly and indirectly involved in a school and sensitises the parents as well as the environment of teachers and learners.
STRENGTHEN THE SUPPORT BASE
You cannot build a sustainable school link on your own. Involve your colleagues to broaden your internal support. Of course, not everyone needs to be actively involved in your school link, but at least try to include your colleagues in a passive way, so they are willing to lend a hand from time to time. During the introductory phase, it is best to work on a small scale with a limited number of teachers, until you get to understand the rhythm and involvement of your partner school.
All hands on deck
Try to also involve your (deputy) head teacher, the colleague(s) responsible for ICT, and maybe even a member of the maintenance staff in your school link. They could offer logistical or administrative support. The enthusiasm of your students also determines the success of your school link. Involve your existing student council, work groups or clubs. You could also initiate a new work group or club for the school link, where the learners themselves can suggest topics they want to exchange about.
A school link can only be a real success when students and teachers also share their experiences at home. Organise a project week and increase the involvement of parents and the community. Maybe they can help you achieve sustainable cooperation. A parent who wants to help during the project week or organisations in the school community could support your school link.
SOME USEFUL TIPS
- Don't forget to communicate about the school link and put it in the spotlight.
- Organise a mini conference at your schools on a jointly decided-on theme.
- Share your knowledge about your partner country and your partner school and get inspired.
- Improve the image of your school and show that your school is dynamic, open and progressive.
- Explain how the school link fits in with certain learning objectives.
- Do not impose your school link on colleagues and parents, let them determine their own level of involvement.