COMMUNITY MAKES A DIFFERENCE
NEW! An online interactive guide,Scaling Up School and Community Partnerships: The Community Schools Strategy, describes the what, why, and how of system-wide expansion of community schools.
A community school is a place for learning that is supported by a set of partnerships between the school and the community. In a community school, an integrated focus on academics and family support, health and social services, and youth and community development leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Using public schools as hubs, community schools knit together relationships among partners to offer a range of resources and opportunities to children, youth, families and communities.
Full-service community schools share a common focus on ensuring that:
- have increased learning time through partnerships between schools and community-based organizations. These after school and extended learning opportunities are integrated with the school day and enrich the core curriculum.
- experience a more engaging curriculum because instruction incorporates an understanding of the community in which the student lives and reflects real world issues that students see around them.
Students and Families
- have access to comprehensive services including health, mental health, and social services that improve a student’s readiness for school and address family circumstances that impact student learning.
Parents and Families
- are empowerd to become more involved in the education of their children through family and community engagement efforts. The school reaches out to parents to offer opportunities for parenting education, leadership development, family literacy, and related activities. Parents are involved in decisions about what happens at the community school.
- are more connected to the schools. Community members are in the school building participating in adult education classes, athletic programs, and other activities that contribute to community civic and cultural life. The school building is open longer and viewed as a public facility where all may participate and contribute.
Schools and community organizations
- work together to facilitate and integrate these opportunities in the community school. Space and staff are shared, reducing overhead costs for community providers as well.
- A full-time coordinator links the work of the school and community, allowing the principal and teachers to focus on their core academic mission. Supports and opportunities are integrated into a comprehensive strategy to increase the learning and healthy development of children and youth.
The Impact of Community Schools
The community schools model has been implemented in over 100 communities nationally. Research from more than 20 studies consistently demonstrates that community schools have positive effects on students, families, schools, and communities.
To learn more about the national community schools movement, visit the website of the Coalition for Community Schools at www.communityschools.org.