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Community Schools

1) Category:
• General program

2) Issues Behind the Program:


• A recent survey (Phi Delta Kappan Poll about public attitudes toward education) shows
that 70% of all Americans believe that certain social factors underlie the problems
experienced by schools (e.g. academic failure or dropping out).
• Schools face numbers of other problems (student withdrawal, poverty, cultural
differences, violence, etc.).
• Children spend 20 to 25 hours each week without adult supervision.
• A quality school program, albeit necessary, is insufficient to resolve these problems.

3) Objectives:
• Find ways to ensure that young people are physically, emotionally and socially prepared
to learn every day (all young people learn and can attain high standards)
• Make sure that young people are ready to enter the adult world as workers, parents and
citizens
• Make certain that the family and the neighborhood are safe, supportive and engaged
• Involve parents and community members with the school so that they experience
lifelong learning

4) Environment:
• Primary and secondary schools
• Community (community centers)

5) Target Group:
• Students 6 to 16 years old

6) Key Words:
• Community Schools, coeuréaction, school-family-community partnership, general
program, Coalition for Community Schools, educational success, health, learning,
community agency, responsibility, drugs, abuse, school dropout, absenteeism, behavior

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/. Page 1 of 6
7) Program Description:
• The school is a center for the community and is open to all, throughout the week, every
weekend and every evening. It is operated in partnership with community agencies.
• The successful education of a student is not uniquely the responsibility of the school,
but also of the family and of the community.
• With the support of health and social services, the public school renews its educational
practices.
• Several components of the program:
o One aspect of extracurricular learning allows students to build on their own life
experiences within the classroom setting, expand their horizons, contribute to their
community and have fun.
o A family support center helps families raise their children in addition to offering
employment and other services.
o Medical, dental and psychological health services are easily accessible.
o Artists, lawyers, psychologists, teachers and university students, storekeepers,
neighbors, families, etc., are available to offer support for the school and to ensure
that young people experience academic success as well as success in their
interpersonal relationships and in their career.
• Community partners work together on five points:
o Quality of education (high-performance school program)
o Child development (by focusing on strengths and by developing positive
interpersonal relationships)
o Family support (support center, child development program, coordinated health and
social services in order to improve the lives of families)
o Family and community involvement (Families and neighbors play an active role in
developing, promoting and supervising quality activities at the school.)
o Community development (Partners focus on the importance of maintaining a strong
social network as well as on the physical and economic viability of the community's
infrastructure.)

8) Steps:
I. Evaluation of needs (market study to determine if the community needs a Community
School):
o Survey of parents and children
o Demographic, performance and school data
o Evaluation of existing programs and services available at the school and within the
community
o Definition of desired results and indicators

II. Planning (determining the ideal approach for establishing a Community School that
takes into account the needs of the community):
o Determine the implementation site and the coordinators
o Define the roles of the school and government instances
o Determine what services will be available

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/. Page 2 of 6
o Create an improvement plan for the school which integrates both the school and
community services
o Reinforce interpersonal relationships

III. Services and support (identifying student and family services and support):
o Cultural skills
o Extracurricular programs
o Child development
o Parent involvement

IV. Leadership and organizational structure (examples of organizational structures and


management structures):
o Organizational structure
o Teams of front-line service providers (how to develop, support and define roles)
o Community management roundtable

V. Financing (find and organize funding that provides for the operational costs of the
Community School)
o Subsidies, program sustainability

VI. Infrastructure: (manage the Community School's physical resources)


o Parent involvement
o Use and upkeep of infrastructure

VII. Evaluation (do research to quantify the Community School's impact on the students, on
the family and on the community)

9) Activities/Actions:
• Activities may vary according to the environment. Some examples follow:
o Students at Franky Park Elementary School (Fort Wayne, Indiana) are invited to
participate in an extracurricular drug prevention program aimed at educating young
people about the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol. The program offers fun and
positive after-school activities that inform young people about the use of these
harmful products. Every evening, from 3:30 to 6 pm, participants are served a meal
and have structured activities such as help with homework and games of
concentration, etc.
o Parents at Kekionka Middle School (Fort Wayne, Indiana) are invited to take part in
weekly workshops lasting one and a half hours (6 to 7:30 pm). The goal of these
workshops is to help parents cultivate positive interpersonal relationships with their
children. During the workshops, the discussion focuses on how to encourage children
to obey, teach them responsibility and the difference between right and wrong, etc.
This activity also helps parents develop a social network.
o Orange Elementary Community School, located in Iowa, organized a games evening
to coincide with the parent association meeting. This approach was used in order to
increase the number of parents who came out to the meeting. It was a success, with

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attendance more than doubling. The children were given the opportunity to learn,
play, and win and lose in a friendly atmosphere in the company of their teachers.
o The Iowa-based Waterloo Community Schools website features an entire range of
parent/child school activities. These activities include homework that needs to be
done with the help of a parent. The parent must answer questions on a sheet
returned to the teacher.

10) Resources Required:


• Human resources:
o Qualified personnel who offer services
o Community Schools coordinator
• Infrastructure to accommodate services
• Financial resources:
o Fundraising through financial partners, foundations or governments is necessary to
ensure that the program runs smoothly

11) Roles of the Participants:


• The Community Schools coordinator:
o is the connection between the school, community partners and the family;
o ensures that participants’ ideas are conveyed to the school, for example, through
forums, and that there is follow-up on these ideas;
o is the resource person for program information and referrals to community services;
o creates programs for students at risk;
o finds and develops partnerships with the community;
o organizes and incorporates events involving the school, the family and the
community.
• Community partners:
o collaborate with the school in order to offer services or grants;
o get involved with school-organized events.
• Parents:
o collaborate with the school and the community;
o help their children with their schooling;
o get involved with school-organized events.
• The school:
o offers a quality program which respects the goals of the school;
o refers students and parents in need of help to the appropriate services;
o collaborates with families and the community;
o organizes events and activities that bring together families and the community;
o self-evaluates in order to improve its procedures.

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/. Page 4 of 6
12) Program Material:
• In the resources section of the Coalition for Community Schools’ website, there are
many tools available concerning Community Schools. For example, there are
comprehensive manuals, documents related to planning, evaluation tools, etc.
• A guide for schools is currently in the process of being created in conjunction with
Stanford University.

13) Scientific Basis or Validity:


• The Coalition for Community Schools has developed a Rational and Results Framework,
which makes the case for community schools as a primary vehicle for increasing student
success and strengthening families and community.
• The results are apparent in a variety of areas:
o Improved academic performance:
 In New York City, the Children's Aid Society (CAS) oversaw a Community Schools
initiative. The children who participated in the organization's extracurricular
program obtained significantly higher results in math and in reading compared
to the students from other schools.
o Lower dropout and absenteeism rates:
 In New York, students who participated in the extracurricular program for 3 or 4
years had significantly better school attendance than those having participated
in the program for a fewer number of years or who had not participated in the
program at all.
 Across the United States, the results show higher school attendance rates in
Community Schools.
 In Tukwila, Washington, the graduation rates at Community Schools have
continued to rise since 2001, while the absentee rate and the drop out rate
have fallen.
o Improvements in behavior and child development:
 Students with the Chicago Community School Initiative were less involved in
disciplinary incidents when compared to students at regular schools.
 From 2002 to 2006, Shaw Middle School, which had a partnership with the
University of Pennsylvania, saw the number of student suspensions decrease
from 464 to 163.
o Greater parent involvement:
 According to a study of the San Mateo County Community School, parent skills
improved significantly. The study found that 93% of parents attended parent-
teacher meetings and 95% showed an increase in the number of times they
encouraged their children to do their homework.
o Increased community benefits:
 At the SUN Community Schools in Multomah County, Oregon, it was shown that
93% of students reported having at least one adult that they could count on to
help them.
 At these same schools, in 2005-2006, 2 163 community and financial partners
performed 33 000 hours of volunteer work for the benefit of these schools.

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/. Page 5 of 6
14. Additional information:
• Community Schools are present in 49 U.S. states.
• In order to ensure that schools run smoothly, they must be financially self-sufficient.
For example, the SUN Community School in Multomah County, Oregon has 350
community and financial partners.
• Several conditions are needed for a successful program:
o Stable leadership and long-term financing
o Diversified funding, adequate site selection, visibility, etc.
o A "large-scale" vision that ensures that the guiding principles of the approach are
firmly grounded within the school, with partners, and within the neighborhood.
Clear objectives, "good timing" and sufficient funding are necessary in order to have
successful growth and to maintain program consistency during the period of
expansion
• The information contained in this factsheet is based on:
o DRYFOOS, Joy G., QUINN, Jane and BARKIN, Carol. Community Schools in Action:
Lessons from a decade of practice. New York, Oxford University Press, 2005, 280
pages.
o http://www.communityschools.org/.

15) Contacts:
• Coalition for Community Schools
c/o Institute for Educational Leadership
4455 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20008
Tel.: (202) 822-8405, ext. 156
Email: ccs@iel.org

• Martin J. Blank, staff director


Coalition for Community Schools
Tel.: (202) 822-8405, ext. 167
Email: blankm@iel.org

• Sarah Pearson
Coalition for Community Schools
Tel.: (202) 822-8405, ext. 129
Email: pearsons@iel.org

This factsheet was taken from the following website: http://rire.ctreq.qc.ca/. Page 6 of 6