What Are Community Schools?
The Institute for Educational Leadership defines Community Schools as: "A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Community schools offer a personalized curriculum that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone – all day, every day, evenings and weekends.
Using 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 these results: Children are ready to enter school; students attend school consistently; students are actively involved in learning and their community; families are increasingly involved with their children's education; schools are engaged with families and communities; students succeed academically; students are healthy - physically, socially, and emotionally; students live and learn in a safe, supportive, and stable environment, and communities are desirable places to live."
"Community schools offer another alternative for achieving the goals of the equity framework. While there are many different models, and implementation varies by location, they embrace certain fundamental principles, including: a focus on the healthy development and academic achievement of all children, strong engagement with families, and holistic education combined with wraparound services that address the social emotional and physical well-being of students. Placed at the center of the community, community schools develop strategic networks of partners and programs that address the needs of the students and families in ways that complement the overall objectives of the school. The significant flexibility within the schools allows them to be responsive to the particular needs of the student body and the larger community." [p. 144, Susan DeJarnatt and Barbara Ferman, "Preserving Education as a Collective Good," in Barbara Ferman, editor, The Fight for America's Schools: Grassroots Organizing in Education, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2017.]