Community schools are based on the notion that all children deserve a quality education in a safe, nurturing, youth-development focused environment. A community school is a strategy that organizes and aligns community supports for student success. As such, a community school is the hub of its neighborhood, providing needed support services for youth, their families, and neighbors, beyond school hours, evenings, and weekends.
While the school is viewed as a focus of the neighborhood, the community is viewed as a vital support in the success of its students, their families, and neighborhoods. Such investment varies from school community to school community, depending on the needs of the youth and their families. Examples are co-located, school-based and school-linked services that include health, mental health, dental, extended-day, tutoring, mentoring, college and careers, preschool, adult education, and parent engagement programs. Based on a preschool through college/careers continuum perspective, community school partners collaborate to ensure students and families get the necessary supports for learning to achieve high school graduation and college/career readiness.
An increasing body of research indicates such collective engagement in our public schools is crucial to our nation’s education achievement for the future of our economic standing globally. In fact, much of the investment made over the past decade in “public school reform,” according to Education Week (Aug. 21, 2013), “has failed to pay dividends because it focused almost exclusively on the classroom instruction side of teaching and learning.” The research has made it clear that instructional improvements can only be successful when combined with family and community engagement and genuine efforts to improve a school climate for learning – when resources are organized for student success, the very mission of Community Schools.
Community School Leaders: A Propelling Force in The Engine of Opportunity by Jim Grim and Lissette Gomez
Discussion of public school reform draws attention to a typically overlooked essential of academic success: family and community engagement. Full Brief here