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7 Valuable Community Partners for Successful Project-Based Learning


Successful project-based learning has many foundational elements. It (1) addresses real-world problems or challenges, (2) takes the learners’ work public, (3) creates options for voice and choice, (4) implements critique and revision and (5) is authentic. In a tech-infused, globalized and automated world, there is one way to address all of these PBL elements. It’s by connecting with people. Partners can increase the quality and reach of any project. Here are seven types of valuable PBL partners:

1. Peers

Naturally, we need to begin with the most obvious and immediate people in any class or school. These are the learners’ peers. They can provide the first feedback to help learners revise and improve their work. In addition, older or more experienced learners can coach, advise and partner with younger learners. Learners can also serve various roles, taking greater responsibility for the strategic work in the classrooms. For example, a learner may be the media coordinator, social media coordinator or project coordinator for a classroom or project. In these ways, students can bring their expertise and experience forward for the greater good, while also enhancing their skills and portfolios. 

2. Staff Peers

Projects are a great opportunity to involve site leaders, instructional coaches, other facilitators and classified staff. Think about inviting an administrator in for feedback, expertise and project management. This will help learners see their administrator as a partner in learning, while also giving administrators a chance to be deeply involved in the instruction. As we put together panels to hear presentations and/or critique learner work, think about how valuable the classified staff can be. In many cases, they already have close relationships with the learners. However, now the learners will see them differently and realize they too are professionals with lots to offer. Classified staff will get to understand the instruction and facilitators better, evoking more empathy and ideas of ways to support. Projects should be experienced as school-wide and community-based endeavors. 

3. Local Leaders

All of our learners need to connect to community and mentors outside of school. Local leaders, such as city council members, county supervisors, mayor and school board, represent a good place to begin that important connection. Elected officials represent constituents including the learners, staff and community of a school. Therefore, educators should feel welcome to involve them in their students’ learning experience. They can bring expertise, resources, project ideas, mentoring and even serve on panels to evaluate learner work. 

4. Business Professionals

Local professionals have so much to offer for work in the area of PBL. As with our elected officials, local professionals usually serve people from our school communities. As such, they will likely be interested in making meaningful connections with our learners and their families. That’s especially true if a class has a project related in some way to their business, industry or expertise. Business professionals may be able to offer expertise to be used throughout project work. They may be able to participate in offering feedback, critique, evaluation and assessment. Additionally, they might have projects or work that can give our learners professional experience. Or they may have challenges that could become driving questions for projects in our classrooms. Learners benefit from being exposed to general entrepreneurial skills, including how to make an effective pitch or write a business plan. Local business partners also represent potential employers for our learners in the future, and we can model that “every day is our résumé” to all our learners. 

5. Nonprofit Partners

Virtually every community has local nonprofit organizations perfectly poised for our students to partner with in many ways. And if our local community doesn’t, we can connect with regional, national and even international nonprofit partners online. These nonprofit organizations can support our projects and learners in many ways. Because they are engaged and focused on addressing real-world needs, our learners can join their teams to enhance their project-based learning. Nonprofits often don’t have large budgets and will welcome students to contribute to the larger mission by assisting with public service announcements, videos, campaigns, event support and more. 

6. Higher Education 

Many communities are homes to higher education institutions, such as public universities, community colleges, technical schools or private colleges. These institutions employ faculty who are not only instructors but experts in their fields. They would fit naturally into the project-learning process in the capacities of advisors, experts, panel members or guest speakers. Many are also involved in research and addressing real-world problems. Therefore, they may be able to inspire projects and introduce challenges for our students to solve as well. 

7. Clients

This final partner possibility is unique and powerful. These are partners who agree to have students work on projects that benefit the client in some way. Maybe a local businessperson could use help in producing ads, marketing pieces, updated products, new services or customer survey data. Maybe a volunteer group in the community could use tech support, social media content creation, videos, graphics, PSAs or campaigns. Client partners create the authentic opportunity for our students to produce work that serves and benefits others. 


In an era where we often think of resources in the form of technology, equipment or available funding, we need to demonstrate to our learners that the most valuable resource we will always have is one another. 

Posted on November 18, 2020 in iLEAD Digest

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Effective date: August 29, 2019

iLEAD California (“us”, “we”, or “our”) operates the https://ileadschools.org/ website (the “Service”).

This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use and disclosure of personal data when you use our Service and the choices you have associated with that data.

We use your data to provide and improve the Service. By using the Service, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy. Unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy, the terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, accessible from the Service.

Information Collection and Use

We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Service to you.

Types of Data Collected

Personal Data

While using our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you (“Personal Data”). Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to:

We may use your Personal Data to contact you with newsletters, marketing or promotional materials and other information that may be of interest to you. You may opt out of receiving any, or all, of these communications from us by following the unsubscribe link or the instructions provided in any email we send.

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We may also collect information on how the Service is accessed and used (“Usage Data”). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

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We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our Service and we hold certain information.

Cookies are files with a small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Other tracking technologies are also used such as beacons, tags and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyse our Service.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Service.

Examples of Cookies we use:

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iLEAD California uses the collected data for various purposes:

Legal Basis for Processing Personal Data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If you are from the European Economic Area (EEA), iLEAD California legal basis for collecting and using the personal information described in this Privacy Policy depends on the Personal Data we collect and the specific context in which we collect it.

iLEAD California may process your Personal Data because:

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iLEAD California will retain your Personal Data only for as long as is necessary for the purposes set out in this Privacy Policy. We will retain and use your Personal Data to the extent necessary to comply with our legal obligations (for example, if we are required to retain your data to comply with applicable laws), resolve disputes and enforce our legal agreements and policies.

iLEAD California will also retain Usage Data for internal analysis purposes. Usage Data is generally retained for a shorter period of time, except when this data is used to strengthen the security or to improve the functionality of our Service, or we are legally obligated to retain this data for longer periods.

Transfer of Data

Your information, including Personal Data, may be transferred to – and maintained on – computers located outside of your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ from those of your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside United States and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including Personal Data, to United States and process it there.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

iLEAD California will take all the steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your Personal Data will take place to an organisation or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

Disclosure of Data

Business Transaction

If iLEAD California is involved in a merger, acquisition or asset sale, your Personal Data may be transferred. We will provide notice before your Personal Data is transferred and becomes subject to a different Privacy Policy.

Disclosure for Law Enforcement

Under certain circumstances, iLEAD California may be required to disclose your Personal Data if required to do so by law or in response to valid requests by public authorities (e.g. a court or a government agency).

Legal Requirements

iLEAD California may disclose your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

Security of Data

The security of your data is important to us but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Data, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Our Policy on “Do Not Track” Signals under the California Online Protection Act (CalOPPA)

We do not support Do Not Track (“DNT”). Do Not Track is a preference you can set in your web browser to inform websites that you do not want to be tracked.

You can enable or disable Do Not Track by visiting the Preferences or Settings page of your web browser.

Your Data Protection Rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA), you have certain data protection rights. iLEAD California aims to take reasonable steps to allow you to correct, amend, delete or limit the use of your Personal Data.

If you wish to be informed about what Personal Data we hold about you and if you want it to be removed from our systems, please contact us.

In certain circumstances, you have the following data protection rights:

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You have the right to complain to a Data Protection Authority about our collection and use of your Personal Data. For more information, please contact your local data protection authority in the European Economic Area (EEA).

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We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate our Service (“Service Providers”), provide the Service on our behalf, perform Service-related services or assist us in analysing how our Service is used.

These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.


We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyse the use of our Service.

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iLEAD California uses remarketing services to advertise on third party websites to you after you visited our Service. We and our third-party vendors use cookies to inform, optimise and serve ads based on your past visits to our Service.

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Our Service may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click a third party link, you will be directed to that third party’s site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.

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Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 18 (“Children”).

We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your Child has provided us with Personal Data, please contact us. If we become aware that we have collected Personal Data from children without verification of parental consent, we take steps to remove that information from our servers.

Changes to This Privacy Policy

We may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let you know via email and/or a prominent notice on our Service, prior to the change becoming effective and update the “effective date” at the top of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

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Important information regarding confidential student data

There is ongoing litigation between the California Department of Education and the Concerned Parent Association. A notice issued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson states, “The lawsuit accuses CDE of widespread, systemic non-compliance by local educational agencies with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504. The CDE denies these allegations and is actively defending the litigation.”

The court has ordered CDE to release student and parent information to provide personally identifiable information (PII) – an act that can only be taken as an exception to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). As a result, we are providing notice of the court order and directions to anyone wishing to object.

Please be advised that CDE will notify parents or students of whom are required to disclose information and those individuals may object directly to the court regarding this disclosure using the PDF link below:


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