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School and Community Partnerships: Concordia Course Spotlight

By The Room 241 Team July 27, 2018

Jeanne Smith, EdD

If you’re interested in Concordia University-Portland’s MEd in Educational Leadership, here’s a closer look at one of the courses from this program: EDGR 620 – School and Community Partnerships.

We spoke with adjunct instructor Jeanne Smith, EdD, and discovered more about the course and how it can help educational leaders advance their practice.

What’s the goal of this course?

EDGR 620 focuses on the development of skills and strategies to link a school with its constituents – parents, citizens, business, government, and special interest groups in the community. Communication and crisis management are also major topics in this course. This course is ideal for aspiring school leaders.

What are a couple of examples of homework assignments?

We typically have two Discussion Boards per week. In addition, in Week 4, students write a Crisis Management Plan to deal with a specific crisis like active shooter or earthquake. Each weekend has an assignment that gives students an opportunity to consider the impact of factors like demographics and community resources.

How can students apply what they learn in this course to their profession?

All of the assignments are relevant and authentic for school leaders. Students have the opportunity to solve real-world problems and to consider their preparation for and reaction to crisis.

What types of meaningful conversations are had in this course?

Conversations occur in the Discussion Board. Topics typically focus on the practical application of the course content. As the instructor, I love the interaction in the course and I enjoy reading the stories of my students. I often have the good fortune of reading my students’ comments as they realize connections between communication and success.

What do you enjoy most about working with Concordia’s MEd students?

Concordia University-Portland’s MEd students are bright, resourceful, and driven to succeed. Most are excited about the content and have developed strong relationships within their cohorts.

What do you think it means to be a leader in education today?

Educational leaders are among the most important leaders in today’s society. We shape the lives of the children who inherit our world. The responsibility to lead schools where children learn the values, skills, and knowledge they need to be good citizens, good leaders and, most of all, good people is one that should not be taken lightly. Concordia’s Educational Leadership program prepares leaders for the transformation of the world. The job demands nothing less.

Feedback from alums

“Concordia’s EDGR 620 course was a very humbling and awesome experience. As an educator it placed a spotlight on the importance of not only teachers working with students but also getting the outside world such as family members and the community involved in students’ academic future.” – Warnesha

“One thing that resonated with me within the EDGR 620 course was the attention to building partnerships with the community in order to bridge education with the real world. It is one thing to teach through a manner of information processing, but expanding that knowledge beyond the walls of the classroom provides students with the ability to apply that information in a more tangible way. I was challenged by the course to give my students an opportunity to learn from the community. I reached out to parents and community members and our center was able to obtain over 20 volunteers to present at a ‘Career Fair’. The fair helped students understand the roles of doctors, nurses, firefighters, janitors, restaurant owners, and many more, which was an initiative that spanned over three weeks of learning.” – Andre’-Mar’Quis

“EDGR 620 provided a unique look at how the various factors interact in the educational environment. My undergraduate work in health education taught me to recognize how stakeholders impact the health environment. EDGR 620 challenged me to draw connections between that knowledge and the way the community interacts with the school. It was an invaluable insight and directly impacted my work with a combined public health and educational non-profit.” – Shana

“The class was practical. It provided clear guidelines on, for example, handling media press releases, communication with the community regarding changes in school policies, schedules, emergency preparedness protocol, etc. Overall, I came away from the class with a good understanding, confident that I am prepared to handle community relations.” – Toni

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