This section addresses how to reach out to a school district and includes sample email templates for making a first contact in a school district.
Learners should be able to:
- Explore potential contacts.
- Demonstrate making an informed, initial contact with a school district.
The authors suggest that you start a conversation with the school district, district curriculum coordinator, or a pre-designated contact rather than a particular teacher. The school district can point you to a school and contacts that would be the best fit for their needs — rather than starting at the school or teacher level.
Bring what you learned in your information gathering stage, and build on that:
- You might have learned almost nothing from your web search regarding the school district, and there might not have been previous collaborations between your institution and the school district.
- Or, you might have learned a great deal about the school district from your web search and conversations with colleagues about past partnerships.
When approaching a School District, aim to:
- Not assume that you are an expert in the school district or school. They are most familiar with their needs.
Requesting a Meeting (Sample Email)
My name is <<YOUR NAME>>, and I am <<YOUR ROLE and AFFILIATION>>. I am reaching out to start a conversation about how I can begin to engage with and support your <<SCHOOL, DISTRICT>>. I would like to <<BRIEFLY DESCRIBE YOUR PROJECT. MENTION IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO SUBMIT A GRANT PROPOSAL OR WANT TO DO IN-PERSON OUTREACH>>, and I believe we could potentially collaborate on this project. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, and I hope that we can meet to discuss potential opportunities to collaborate. If you would like to meet to discuss this further, please let me know your availability.
Thank you for your time and interest.
<<YOUR NAME AND CONTACT INFO HERE>>
Dear Dr. Administrator of Science Curriculum,
My name is Dr. Green, and I am an assistant professor in Geology at Virginia Tech. I am reaching out to start a conversation about how I can begin to engage with and support the Montgomery County School District. I would like to submit a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) on June 28 (6 weeks from now); as part of this grant proposal, I would like to provide students with opportunities to learn about local geology, and I believe we could potentially collaborate on this project. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, and I hope that we can meet to discuss potential opportunities to collaborate. If you would like to meet to discuss this further, please let me know your availability.
Thank you for your time and interest.
Dr. G. Green
What to Ask
These are helpful questions to consider and to ask administrators and/or teachers when forming a relationship and cooperatively shaping your activity. You may not need to ask every question (e.g., you may not need to ask what the district needs are and what standards need to be met). Consider if you have specific follow up questions you may need to ask or questions specific to your situation.
- Does your district/classroom have any needs that I can help meet? Are there any learning, career, or social standards that my activity could help meet? What help feels welcomed right now?
- What do your students already know about the topic in my activity?
- Are there any terms or information I should include in my activity?
- How much time do you have/do you want to spend to complete my activity in the classroom?
- What kind of materials and technology do you have available? What should I provide?
- How long before the in-class activity do you need my materials in order to be prepared? Will you be able to provide feedback to me on my activity and changes I should make before using the activity in your classroom? Will you provide feedback to me after classroom implementation to improve the activity for future groups?