Possible Resources to Help Churches with Partnerships


50 Ways to Engage Local Schools – From the Lewis Center for Church Leadership


Engaging Local Schools:  Serve Your Neighbor – Videos, presentations, and supplemental materials available from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership to guide your congregation in considering a school-focused service initiative.  Engaging Local Schools is ecumenical and designed for both self study and for use with groups in your church.  It is available in DVD/CD and downloadable formats.


Volunteer Playbook:  Germantown United Methodist Urban Haven Project, Germantown, TN – 

The Urban Haven Project includes a weekend backpack feeding program and one-day volunteer programs like Career Day speakers and readers for Read for the Record.  However, the largest part of the Urban Haven Project is one-on-one tutoring, “Team Read,” for second graders that features flexible scheduling for adults and a simple academic plan for volunteers to follow.


Second Presbyterian Church, Memphis:  Blueprint for Adopting a School – Since 2005 Second Presbyterian has had a partnership with Berclair Elementary.  They seek to help with the school’s most pressing needs, and especially to help the students see academic improvements. Throughout their years of partnership, more than 300 volunteers have interacted with the Berclair students, from tutoring, to attending and helping with class parties, seasonal carnivals, and more.  Their “Blueprint for Adopting a School: Impacting a School Through Service” is a guide with steps for beginning a partnership, engaging & mobilizing volunteers, and ideas for service.


PENCIL Partners—Nashville Public Schools Partnership Program

PENCIL Partners are Nashville-area businesses, organizations, and faith communities that partner with a Nashville public school.  PENCIL Partners volunteer time and other resources to help children achieve academically, develop life skills, and make a successful transition from school to career.  Each partnership has both a community and school coordinator, who work together to determine partnership activities for the year. Coordinators are given a Partnership Coordinator’s Manual to guide them in establishing and maintaining their community-school partnerships.  They are willing to help other school districts…        


PACE (Parent And Community Engagement)–Shelby County Schools
PACE works to bridge the gap between parent, school, and community and offers a wide range of volunteer programs designed to provide an opportunity to make a difference in the community.


Team Read – Shelby County Schools volunteer tutoring program, Team Read, is seeking individuals to become tutors for students in the second grade. This program matches community members with students in need of extra help at specific schools.  Volunteer tutors make learning fun and provide students with extra time on learning tasks as well as provide a positive role model. Research consistently shows that one-on-one tutoring has a significant and long-lasting impact on student achievement.


Kids Hope USA is a national organization promoting church/school partnerships. These partnerships take on the enormous challenge of kids at risk—One Child, One Hour, One Church, One School at a time—through one-on-one mentoring relationships. More information may be found on their website or contact them at 866-546-3580. provides convenient, well-organized, and educationally sound tutoring resources for effective reading strategies and an extensive collection of printable, research-based materials. It gives tutors the tools they need to help emerging readers become skilled readers:  books, lesson plans, teaching materials, and assessments. Everything needed for an effective tutoring session is in a downloadable file.  Membership required for accessing full site.

Tutor handouts offer teaching strategies and instructional tips for teaching alphabet, phonological awareness, word decoding (phonics), high-frequency words, fluency, and comprehension.


Reading For Meaning: Tutoring Elementary Students to Enhance Comprehension

This article provides tutors with proven techniques for helping students acquire comprehension skills and strategies. In addition to building background knowledge about comprehension, it looks at six comprehension strategies and activities that support each strategy.


Tips for Reading Tutors

The U.S. Department of Education developed this brief guide for reading tutors. It lists ways that tutoring helps both the learner and the tutor and provides practical tips that can help tutors be more effective in their work.


Effective Church-School Partnerships  by Nicole Baker Fulgham

Effective church-school partnerships take a true commitment and willingness to build long-term, sacrificial relationships. Learning from the many congregations that have begun partnerships with low-income schools, Nichole Baker Fulgham shares several ways we can take away several key lessons on what works and what doesn’t.


Educating All God’s Children:  What Christians Can–And Should–Do to Improve Public Education for Low-Income Kids

Education expert Nicole Baker Fulgham explores what Christians can–and should–do to champion urgently needed reform and help improve our public schools. This book provides concrete action steps for working to ensure that all of God’s children get the quality public education they deserve. It also features personal narratives from the author and other Christian public school teachers that demonstrate how the achievement gap in public education can be solved.

Reviewed by Ann Michael



Book’em is a Nashville nonprofit that collects and distributes new and like-new books to children and teens who might not otherwise have books of their own and recruits, trains and assigns reading role model volunteers to local preschools and elementary schools that serve low-income families.  The Books for Nashville Kids program provides books for economically disadvantaged children and teens who may not have books of their own.  The Reading is FUNdamental, Inc. (RIF) program coordinates volunteers who visit a classroom five times between August and May to read and bring new books to give to the students. The Ready for Reading program places reading volunteers in local preschools and elementary schools (pre-K). These reading volunteers act as reading role models. Reading volunteers read on a weekly or bi-weekly basis one-on-one, to small groups of children or to an entire classroom. The weekly schedule allows the children to get to know the volunteers well and anticipate their visits with much excitement. Story time training is provided to aid the volunteers in being effective with the children.  Read Me Week is sponsored by Book’em to spotlight the importance and fun of reading.  Students, teachers and visiting readers are invited to wear a shirt, cap, or pin with a message on it so the children can “read the reader.” 


Blessing of the Backpacks Resources from the Worship Design Studio with Dr. Marcia McFee

Core Essential Values–A “values-based” curriculum. Core Essentials combines the forces of a value and its definition and pairs it with a framework of easily-to-implement tools.  Using values that schools and parents can all agree on,  30 value words and definitions are rotated over a three year time span. Curriculum components are written each year so that the material for the rotating values are always new and relevant!  (This curriculum is used by Heartsong UMC, Cordova, TN in their Virtue Quest program in partnership with Macon-Hall Elementary School.)


Freedom Schools

The CDF Freedom Schools program provides summer and after-school enrichment that helps children fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning. Children are taught using a model curriculum that supports children and families around five essential components: high quality academic enrichment; parent and family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational leadership development; and nutrition, health and mental health.


The Living A Better Story Experience® is a 28 day adventure that involves the students getting out beyond themselves, becoming aware of the needs in the community/world around them, and through creativity and compassion, responding to those needs with action and advocacy. The three main themes of this experience are –Awareness (Open Your Eyes)* Compassion (Open Your Heart)* Action (Open Your Hand) For more information on how you can partner with a local high school and provide Living A Better Story® to students contact Rev. Mack Strange