To begin, please take some time to read the following descriptions of
community schools in order to help you understand what we mean by a community
school for this directory. Every community school is different (e.g., Communities in Schools, Beacons, University Assisted, locally developed, and more), but there are some important similarities.
The Coalition defines a fully developed community school
public schools as hubs, community schools bring together many partners to offer
a range of supports and opportunities to children, youth, families and
communities. Partners work to achieve a set of results through an integrated
focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development
and community engagement.
This definition characterizes a fully developed vision for
community schools. However, you may be at some point on a continuum of community school development. We want to capture all types of community schools in this directory.
Fully developed community schools operate on a set of core
principles to achieve results for children, families, and the community. They
work with partners to implement aligned opportunities and supports (e.g.,
expanded learning opportunities, health, and social supports) in order to be
Core operating elements of a fully developed community
Skilled teachers and
instructional support personnel
ideally with a community school coordinator or director
A site leadership team
A community needs and
A focus on results using
data on specific indicators to measure progress
These core elements create the infrastructure to change institutions
to work together more effectively to achieve a set of results.
The core principles
that drive a community school are:
- Shared vision and
accountability for results. A clear, mutually agreed-upon vision focused on
results drives the work of community schools. Agreements enable partners to
hold each other accountable and move beyond "turf battles."
- Strong partnerships.
Partners share resources and expertise and collaborate to design community
schools and make them work.
- High expectations for
all. Community schools are organized to support learning. Children, youth,
and adults are expected to learn to a high standard and to become contributing
members of their community.
- Community strengths.
Community schools marshal the assets of the entire community, including the
people who live and work there, local organizations, and the school.
- Respect for
diversity. Community schools know their communities. They develop respect
and a strong, positive identity for people of diverse backgrounds and are
committed to the welfare of the whole community.
- Local decision making.
To unleash the power of local communities, local leaders make decisions about
their community schools strategy while people in individual schools respond to
their unique circumstances.
Community schools are
focused on results. Community schools coordinate partners to achieve a core
set of results. While results will vary from school-to-school and
community-to-community, results typically include:
- Children are ready to enter school.
- Students attend school consistently.
- Students are actively involved in learning and their
- Schools are engaged with families and community.
- Families are actively involved in their children’s
- Students succeed academically.
- Students are healthy: physically, socially and emotionally.
- Students live and learn in stable and supportive
- Communities are desirable places to live.
supports: In order to achieve these results, community schools tend to
focus around the following opportunities
- Community engagement
- College, career, and citizenship
- Early childhood development
- Engaging instruction
- Expanded learning opportunities
- Family engagement
- Health and social supports
- Youth development activities
The directory begins on the next page.