Lesson Plan to Assess Readiness for Student/Adult Partnerships

This is a lesson plan to Assess Readiness for Student/Adult Partnerships by Adam F.C. Fletcher for


Introduction: This inquiry-based lesson plan for up to 40 participants shares fundamentals, engages participants in evaluating their class and school, and planning for Student-Adult Partnerships. Activities can be adapted for use with students and adults; however, it is primarily for adult school staff.

Goal: When this session is complete, participants should be able to…

  • Consider broad implications of Student-Adult Partnerships
  • Examine factors affecting Student-Adult Partnerships
  • Develop practical applications for Student-Adult Partnerships

Time: See “Considerations” section; up to 125 minutes are needed.

Materials: Flip chart paper and markers

Space: See the following heading, “Considerations”; space use is variable.

Considerations: There are two sections to this training that you should be aware of:

Preparing for Student-Adult Partnerships means deepening your understanding of what you are trying to do, why you’re doing it, and what you expect out of it. It also means deepening your understanding of what it’s going to take to make a partnership really work. In fact, a group may decide that it isn’t ready to involve students. That’s okay. It is better to recognize that fact rather than investing a lot of time creating frustration.

Assessing Readiness is designed as a set of activities that may be conducted separately in a series of short sessions or all together in one long session. The time required for each activity is noted in a range—you can spend a little or a lot of time on each activity depending on the size and needs of the group. Most of the activities involve discussion. For ideas on alternate ways of structuring discussions, see structuring discussion in this section.


  1. [10 min] Before getting started in engaging students, there are some key questions to examine: Write the underlined words on a flip chart.
  • What is your vision for students in your school?
  • What is your motivation for involving students?
  • What expectations do you have for Student-Adult Partnerships?
  • What roles will the students have?
  • What resources exist to ensure success for Student-Adult Partnerships?
  1. [20 min] The following is a visualization that should be read in a comfortable, relaxed pace, in a quiet and calming tome. Give people time to bring up the images and really experience them. Modify this script as needed. Ask the group to sit down and get comfortable. Explain that you’re going to lead them through a visualization that lets them imagine their ideal for Student-Adult Partnerships. Ask them to close their eyes. Then begin…
  • “Imagine that it’s three years from now and you’ve got the perfect situation for Student-Adult Partnerships. Students and adults are working together. What does it look like? What are people doing? What roles do the students play? The adults? On which issues are they focused?”
  • “Now take a closer look. How does it feel? How are people interacting? What do you hear people saying? How do they share power?
  • “Now step back a bit. How does your program look or feel different? How is it benefiting the school? The students? The adults? What is ‘ideal’ about it?
  • Ask participants to draw a picture of their vision, either individually or as a small group. Then have them share in small groups or the whole group, depending on number of participants.
  1. [40 min] The following is a dialogue-oriented activity with separate questions for students and adults. The activity may be conducted as small group discussions by reading through the questions and giving individuals the chance to write down some thoughts. Then break up into small groups to discuss the following questions.
  • Do you think it will enhance your work?
  • What is it about involving students that interests you?
  • Did someone give you a similar chance when you were a student?
  • Do certain funders require it?
  • Have students demanded it?
  • Was it a request from the board?
  • Have students demanded more involvement?
  • Are you getting pressure from others? Whom?

Have the small groups report back to the large group. This is particularly critical if in a mixed group of students and adults.

  1. [10 min] These following steps are a class or school analysis that is primarily for adults, and may be used with students. Begin the activity by instructing participants to write the mission or purpose of their class or school at the top of a page. Have them draw a “map” (an “organizational flow chart”) of the class or school beneath the mission statement. The map should include individual people, departments, programs, and people affected by the programs, with lines between any connected people or projects.
  2. [5 min] Have each participant highlight where students fit into the chart.
  • What roles do they already play?
  • How do they fit within the overall mission and activities of the class or school?
  • Are they volunteers? Recipients of services? Interns? Committee members? Participants in events?
  1. [10 min] As a group imagine the broadest the possibilities for creating or expanding Student-Adult Partnerships.
  • How can students contribute to the work of the class or school in general?
  • How could Student-Adult Partnerships be a more effective or efficient way learn, broadly-speaking?
  1. [10 min] Now, based on the class’s or school’s actual mission and history, have the group discuss the possibilities for creating or expanding Student-Adult Partnerships.
  • How could Student-Adult Partnerships be a more effective or efficient way to meet an accepted goal of the class or school?
  • What are the potential benefits to the class or school?
  • How can students specifically contribute to the work of the class or school?
  1. [15 min] The final activity is an assessment primarily for adults and asks participants to take a look at the resources required to make Student-Adult Partnerships work. Based on their expectations, organizational maps, and lists of possible student roles, use the following questions to guide discussion:
  • What kind of support structure do you have for Student-Adult Partnerships?
  • Is someone willing and available to work with the students — to recruit, orient, train and support?
  • How willing and available are other staff and/or the board to attend training?
  • What kind of space in your office can students use?
  • Are funds available for the costs that will be incurred?
  • How will you deal with issues of accessibility: Location, transportation, safety, incidental expenses?

[5 min] Close by asking for new insights people have gained or how ideas about Student-Adult Partnerships might have changed.

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These lesson plans were created by Adam F.C. Fletcher for SoundOut under contract from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction funded through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. All contents ©2007 SoundOut. Permission to use is granted exclusively for nonprofit and in-school education purposes only. All Rights Reserved.

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