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Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools

Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools Making the Difference— The Community School Vision

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Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools

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  1. Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools Making the Difference

  2. Making the Difference—The Community School Vision • A community school is a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics,services, supports and opportunities leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Schools are centers of the community. Making the Difference

  3. How Community Schools Work • Community School Coordinator • Employed by Community-Based Organization or School District • Ensure intentional partnerships focused on results • Communities and schools act in concert to help young people succeed • Schools do not work alone Making the Difference

  4. Making the DifferenceThe Purpose • To strengthen the common sense argument for community schools by summarizing a growing body of evidence that point to their promise. • To look at the impact of community schools on students, families, schools and communities. Making the Difference

  5. Facts of Life Some of the realities that challenge today’s schools and educators: • Cultural Disconnects • Poverty • Too Much Unstructured Time • Unaddressed Health Needs • Transience • School Violence and Unsafe School Environments • Overburdened and Under Resourced Schools Making the Difference

  6. The Community School Advantage Community schools: • Garner additional resources and reduce the demands on school staff • Provide learning opportunities that develop both academic and non-academic competencies • Build social capital — the networks and relationships that support learning and create opportunity for young people while strengthening their communities Making the Difference

  7. Community Schools:Garner additional resources and lessen the demands on school staff Community schools: • Address social, emotional, physical and family issues that affect student learning • strategically link and partner to leverage services and programs that meet the essential needs of students • are intentional about bringing together resources that contribute and connect to the school’s educational agenda • give principals and teachers more time to concentrate on their core educational mission Making the Difference

  8. Community Schools:Provide learning opportunities that develop both academic and non-academic competencies • Abundant opportunities for learning and exploration in school, afterschool and in the community help students mature in all areas • Intellectual (academic, cultural competence, decision making) • Physical (good health habits) • Psycho-emotional (strong morals, confidence, future plans) • Social (peer/parent relationships, civic activity) Making the Difference

  9. Community Schools:Build Social Capital • Increases the connection to networks of people and information • Increases exposure to role models • Enhances sense of connectedness to others and belief in self • Can be cultivated and replenished even in low income areas Making the Difference

  10. What is the Result? • Community Schools are able to fulfill all five conditions for learning that are necessary for all children to succeed at high standards Making the Difference

  11. Condition for Learning #1 • The school has a core instructional program with qualified teachers, a challenging curriculum and high standards and expectations for students. Making the Difference

  12. Condition for Learning#2 • Students are motivated and engaged to learn both in school and in community settings, during and after school. Making the Difference

  13. Condition for Learning #3 • The basic medical, mental and physical health needs of young people and their families are addressed. Making the Difference

  14. Condition for Learning #4 • There is mutual respect and effective collaboration between school staff and parents and families. Making the Difference

  15. Condition for Learning #5 • Community engagement, together with school efforts, promote a school climate that is safe, supportive and respectful and that connects students to a broader learning community. Making the Difference

  16. Making the Difference SO… what happens when you DO put all these pieces together in one place – a community school? Making the Difference

  17. Broad Findings • Integration of categorical approaches into a comprehensive strategy strengthens their impact. • There is a close relationship between student learning and positive results for families, schools and communities. Making the Difference

  18. Broad Findings (cont’d) • Student gains in academic achievement and non-academic development widely evident • Parent/family participation seen as instrumental to children’s success • Schools have stronger staff and parent relationships, improved school climate and greater community support • Community is stronger – improved safety and connections among people. Making the Difference

  19. Impact of Community Schools on Young People (20 studies) • Improved grades and test scores (15) • Improved attendance (8) • Reduced behavioral problems and suspensions (5) • Greater contact with supportive adults (3) • Improvements in personal/family situation (3) • Better work habits -- classroom cooperation, homework completion (3) Plus ten other positive documented outcomes (at least one or two studies) Making the Difference

  20. Impact of Community Schools on Families (11 studies) • Improved communication with schools and teachers (5) • Improved stability/basic needs met (3) • Increased ability to work (3) • Increased confidence in role as child’s teacher (3) Plus six other positive documented outcomes (at least one or two studies) Making the Difference

  21. Impact of Community Schools on Schools (14 studies) • Principals & staff appreciate value-added (5) • Increased parent participation in children’s learning (4) • Growth in non-partisan support for public education and community schools (4) • Teachers see value of parent participation (3) Plus five other positive documented outcomes (at least one or two studies) Making the Difference

  22. Impact of Community Schools on Communities (12 studies) • Increased community knowledge and perception of initiative (7) • Increased utilization of school buildings (7) • Improved security and safety in surrounding areas (2) • Strengthened community pride and identity, and engagement of citizens and students (2) Making the Difference

  23. Making the Difference – Four Strategies • A Motivating Vision • Connected Learning Experiences • Community Partnerships • Strategic Organization and Financing Making the Difference

  24. Action Agenda (I) A MOTIVATING VISION • Engage the community • Use data to drive decision-making • Keep schools open mornings, evenings, and weekends all year long • Build and rehabilitate school buildings as community schools • Build small schools Making the Difference

  25. Action Agenda (II) CONNECTED LEARNING EXPERIENCES • Incorporate the community in the curriculum • Professional development for teachers and principals in how to use the community as a learning resource • Integrate in school and after school learning experiences • Draw on youth development resources and share expertise Making the Difference

  26. Action Agenda (III) COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS • Create broad-based, local coalitions to advance, develop and sustain community schools • Create site-based planning teams • Engage students, parents, families and residents • Focus all partners on creating the conditions for learning • Build sustainable partnerships • Develop knowledge and understanding among partners and across disciplines • Create interprofessional learning opportunities in higher education Making the Difference

  27. Action Agenda (IV) ORGANIZATION AND FINANCING • Create community school coordinator positions • Identify the lead partner for a community school with care • Organize school district funding streams to support a community schools strategy • Organize other public and private funding streams to support community schools • Develop joint financing strategies for school facilities • Create technical assistance capacity • Create a local intermediary organization to provide technical assistance Making the Difference

  28. “We tend to put considerations of family, community, and economy off-limits in education-reform policy discussions. However, we do so at our peril. The seriousness of our purpose requires that we learn to rub our bellies and pat our heads at the same time.” - Paul E. Barton, Educational Testing Service Making the Difference

  29. Community Schools Work! Coalition for Community Schoolsc/o Institute for Educational LeadershipWashington, DC www.communityschools.org Making the Difference

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