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Partnerships Between Schools and Civil Society Organizations – A Look at Their Role for the Social Integration and Schooling of Newly Immigrated Children and Youth in Germany

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From the years 2015 and 2016, when tens of thousands sought refuge in Europe from war and persecution, the spontaneous engagement in civil society will be remembered above all. In the so-called Summer of Welcome, volunteers, civil society initiatives and organizations especially supported refugee children and young people in many ways. This chapter examines the role of partnerships between schools and local partners, especially civil society organizations, for the social integration of newly immigrated students into the school community. Do the partnerships work in times when newly immigrated children and youth are in particular need of support? Alternatively, do the potential risks of such partnerships become more visible at such times because functioning partnerships are full of prerequisites, as social capital approaches would indicate? The results of an analysis based on an online survey of German school principals of lower secondary schools show that schools are managing changes in existing partnerships carefully and tend to stay with established partnerships rather than to search for new partners. Nevertheless, local partners – especially civil society initiatives – make a substantial contribution to the social integration as well as to supporting the learning of the newly arrived students within the school.

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