Community Partnerships and Engagement

The office of Community Partnerships and Engagement liaises with community stakeholders and schools to identify opportunities for service delivery integration, community partnerships and co-location options.

We work in partnership with schools and community stakeholders to share effective practices that maximize access to facilities in a manner that will support student achievement and well-being.

Services to the community:

  • Share information related to community partnership and facility sharing opportunities
  • Review all expressions of interest in co-locating services in a DSBN facility
  • Establish opportunities to optimize the use of DSBN facilities
  • Engage in effective planning with partners related to the potential for developing schools as community hubs, shared use of underutilized space, land use and green space planning
  • Consider partnership and co-build opportunities when undertaking new building projects or completing major renovations

Services to schools:

  • Support school Administrators in the exploration of partnership and community engagement opportunities
  • Review partnership inquiries, develop and evaluate partnership proposals
  • Establish and manage partnership agreements

Community Planning and Partnerships

The Ministry of Education released a Community Planning and Partnerships Guideline that focuses on expanding opportunities to share facilities with community partners when building new schools, undertaking significant renovations, when considering the use of unoccupied space in schools and when reviewing properties that may close or sites considered for disposition.

The District School Board of Niagara believes that co-operative and collaborative partnerships are part of the foundation of a strong, vibrant and sustainable publically funded education system. The DSBN supports the exploration of facility-sharing community partnership opportunities which would allow sharing of facilities with community partners in a manner that will benefit both parties.

A Facility-Sharing Community Partnership is an opportunity to:

  • Create strong ties between education and the community through mutually respectful relationships
  • Explore opportunities to maximize school efficiency and viability
  • Improve services and supports available to students
  • Effectively utilize excess space within schools
  • Reduce costs through shared usage of space

How are Facility-Sharing Partnership opportunities identified?

  • Through the planning process, the District School Board of Niagara will identify facilities that may be suitable for partnerships with respect to use of space within existing schools or co-build opportunities when undertaking new construction or significant renovations.
  • Information about facilities identified as having the potential for facility-sharing partnerships will be posted on the Board’s website.
  • Entities that provide services and programs for children, their families and the broader community will have the opportunity to express interest in sharing facilities with the school board and are encouraged to submit expressions of interest at any time throughout the year.

Criteria for Facility-Sharing Community Partnerships:

The DSBN considers the value of the partnerships to students when applying the following criteria in approving partnerships:

  • The health and safety of students must be protected
  • Partnerships must be appropriate for the school setting
  • Partnerships must not compromise the student achievement strategy
  • Entities providing competing education services such as tutoring services, JK – 12 private schools or private colleges, and credit offering entities that are not government funded, are not eligible partners

Co-building opportunities:

  • New schools, additions and significant renovations may be considered as opportunities for partnerships.
  • The Board encourages community partners to provide notification to the Board on an ongoing basis when community partners have proposals or plans to build their own new facilities.

What must be considered?

The District School Board of Niagara supports that partnerships between schools and other community partners should:

  • Be mutually beneficial for the school/board and the other partners
  • Be sustainable
  • Respect the primacy of the school’s major purpose, to provide students with instruction and education
  • Respect the core values of each partner and ensure the safety of students

Are there costs involved with a Facility-Sharing Community Partnership?

  • Facility-sharing partnerships will be administered through formal agreements with the community partner and will be reviewed on a regular basis.
  • Partners will be responsible for professional, capital, maintenance and operating costs and applicable taxes when developing, constructing and/or operating in the shared facility. Additional costs to the community partner include a proportional share of all shared space. This includes capital renewal, land costs and any administrative costs incurred by the Board.

How do I rent a school if I am interested in using it for after-hours use for a sports league, recreational programs or community event?

  • Rental of school facilities is administered through the Community Use of Schools office. Community Use of Schools is a program that allows for after-hours rental of schools to individuals and community groups for sports, recreation and other community events.

If you are interested in renting a school for afterhours use please contact the Community Use of Schools office: or 
905-641-2929 ext. 54301. You may also apply for a rental permit online: 

How do I indicate interest leasing underutilized space or a co-building opportunity with the DSBN?

Expressions of interest in a facility-sharing partnership can be initiated by completing the Interest in Facility-Sharing Community Partnership form.

Completed Interest in Facility-Sharing Community Partnership forms or questions related to facility-sharing partnerships may be submitted to the Community Partnerships and Engagement office: