What you'll learn

  • Examine the rationale for systemic, integrated faith-based and education partnerships (in contrast to random acts of partnership) based on core principles of community organizing
  • Explore the historical context for faith-based and education partnerships, in particular the importance of critical race theory in understanding the rationale for partnerships between school and church. Analyze the First Amendment to the Constitution and its two clauses, the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, as they offer parameters, possibilities and limits to faith-based organizations and education partnerships
  • Explore and analyze the components of key successful, working examples of faith-based and education partnerships
  • Devise an Action Plan with which to return to schools, faith-based organizations and community structures

Course description

A growing number of faith-based organizations and public schools have formed meaningful, clearly-defined partnerships across the American educational landscape; communities are creating the change they want to see locally by reaching across hitherto previously perceived divides: building relationships, programs, and advocacy together – all in support of student and community success in chronically under-resourced areas of the nation.


The Leadership Institute for Faith and Education: Building Partnerships for Equity, Justice, and Student Success provides attendees with a model for developing effective partnerships between faith-based organizations and public schools, to address and elevate student achievement. Participants will examine evidence-based information that supports the importance of faith-based organizations partnering with local public schools, particularly in historically-marginalized urban and rural communities. Participants will also explore examples of successful partnerships between faith-based organizations and public schools at a local, regional, and national level. Finally, participants will be asked to develop an initial action plan for moving their learning from theory to practice – in partnership with others in their immediate community.


  • Senior Lecturer on Education, Director of the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP), and Faculty Chair of Building Your Entry Plan to Lead for Equity in Education

Associated Schools

  • Harvard Graduate School of Education

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