Seattle Public Schools

Community Partnerships

Partnership Playbook for Schools & Partners

The Seattle Public Schools School and Community Partnerships Department, in partnership with school staff and partners, have developed tools to support collaborative partnership practices. This resource is specifically designed for school leaders, from principals and assistant principals to other school staff members playing a lead role in the development or management of a partnership with one or more community-based organizations. Community partners may also find these resources helpful.

The goals of our Partnership Playbook are to:

  • Support strong, scalable partnership systems and practices for work between schools and community-based organizations
  • Center racial equity and the district’s focus on a targeted universal approach with Black male students at the center
  • Support school leaders with practical, accessible tools that fit into the rhythm of their work
  • Inspire school leaders to approach community partnerships with intention

This resource was developed in the summer of 2022 with the input of multiple district departments, school leaders, and community-based organizations, with a focus on feedback from organizations that are Black-led and/or focused on serving Black students. The content development and process was facilitated by Youth Development Executives of King County, whose School and Community Partnership Toolkit offers a set of tools designed to improve coordination between educational institutions and community partners working toward holistic student success. The toolkit materials can be found within the School’s Out Washington online Resource Library. From there, users can search by “School & Community Partnership Toolkit”, “YDEKC,” or “School & Community Partnerships” to find the tools.

Partnership Establishment Flow Chart, Processes, and Forms

This set of tools reviews the process, timeline, and documents to use when setting up a partnership.

Partnership Establishment Flow and Timeline  provides an overview of the steps to set up and document a partnership with Seattle Public Schools, and what a typical school year looks like, or check out our Partnership Establishment Flow Chart for a visual description.

Our Forms and Processes for Schools and Partners page provides an overview of the different types of forms used in partnership documentation.

Our Data Access for Partners page provides an overview for the array of paths and tools for partners to access and utilize student data when working in partnership with schools.

The Safety and Security Guidelines for SPS Partners document provides helpful information about how schools and partners can keep each other updated when safety and security incidents occur.

Tools to Support Partnership Design, Development, and Review

Each of these tools is a list of questions or checklist to help you at a different phase of partnership.

School-Community Partnership Design and Planning Tool will guide your conversation as you design a new partnership. This is a useful companion tool for the Memorandum of Understanding or Personal Services Contract. Use it to build a shared understanding of the program and services, and outline roles and responsibilities.

Planning for an Integrated School-Community Partnership offers question to discuss when working with a community-organization to develop an integrated/embedded partnership. These questions are critical particularly to address existing racial inequity and racial disparities in youth experiences and outcomes.

Annual Partnership Review Conversation Guide is a tool for the community-based organization partner and the school leader who supports the partnership to reflect on the work that has been completed (typically at the end of a school year) – what worked, what didn’t, and how the partnership should move forward.

Partnership Type Reflection Tool is a tool that will support you to identify your capacity for a new partnership, reflect on an existing partnership, or review all of the different types of partnerships your organization or agency currently manages.

Practices to Support Community Partner Coordination

The coordination of community-based partners within a school community can be a complex task. These tools will support a school’s coordination with individual community-based organizations as well as groups of partners.

Regular Check-ins: 1-on-1 Partnership Check-in Meeting Topics and Outline provides a template for meeting agendas between school leads and community-based organizations that take place on a regular basis throughout the year – weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on the type of partnership.

Periodic Larger Gatherings: Guide of School-Hosted Multi-Partner Gatherings will support school administrators in facilitating regular (quarterly or monthly) meetings with the group of community-based organizations that provide services and supports to students and families at their schools. This supports alignment, coordination, and collaboration.

Coordination and Funding Models offers ideas to support alignment of partnership services to school goals and increased coordination of services.

Access to Training and Coaching Supports on Partnership

Email the School and Community Partnerships Department at if you would like assistance in:

  • Responding to a situation or challenge with a partner
  • Becoming more familiar with the Playbook tools
  • Reviewing your current partnerships
  • Bringing in additional partners
  • Setting up systems to manage your current partners
  • Applying new tools or practices from the Partnership Playbook

We welcome your feedback on how we can support partnerships across the District.

Goals for Our Partnership Supports:

Our hope is that this resource leads to the following short-term outcomes:

  • Clear processes and useful tools free up school leaders’ time to focus on instructional goals
  • School leaders have resources to empower other school staff to manage partnerships effectively
  • Intentional practices support partnerships that are aligned, focused on equity, and meeting community needs

By providing resources that strengthen partnerships between schools and community-based organizations, we aim in the long-term to achieve:

  • Students experience support in a seamless and coordinated way
  • Schools are well-resourced to respond in culturally responsive ways to meet student and family needs
  • School leaders feel confident that partnerships are effective, well-managed, and aligned with their instructional visions
  • Partnerships are grounded in reciprocal relationships, racial equity, and respect for community knowledge


The Seattle Public Schools School and Community Partnerships Department is grateful for the support of our colleagues and community partners who influenced the content, design, and implementation plan for the Partnership Playbook for School Leaders.

This project was designed with the support of:

  • Community-Based Organization Focus Groups, with a focus on organizations that are Black-led and/or focused on serving Black male students as well as other youth furthest from educational justice: ACE Academy, CHOOSE 180, Urban League, WA-BLOC, Y-WE, Refugee Women’s Alliance, and Kandelia
  • Our School Leader Advisory Cohort for the Playbook: Aki Kurose Middle School, Concord International Elementary School, Jane Addams Middle School, Hamilton International Middle School, and West Seattle High School
  • Central Office Departments and Partners – DREA, Coordinated School Health (School Climate Transformation Grant), Principal Lead-Up Coaches, and City of Seattle DEEL Levy Advisors

This project was facilitated by Youth Development Executives of King County, drawing from their School and Community Partnership Toolkit, in the summer of 2022.

Note that the internal-facing version of this resource also includes five checklists to support school administrators with “School Leader Practices to Support the Stages of School and Community Partnerships.”