Community Schools are one of the most promising strategies to transform education. Family engagement in children’s school life and learning is proven to boost learning and social emotional wellness. Authentic learning, showing the career usefulness of school studies benefits from community business involvement with the school. Health and career services for the family may be provided at community schools, supporting whole family health and advancement. Four key characteristics distinguish community schools:
1) integrated student supports;
2) expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities;
3) active family and community engagement; and
4) collaborative leadership and practices.
Text from the Playbook:– Community Schools Playbook
Community schools are public schools that partner with families and community organizations to provide well-rounded educational opportunities and supports for students’ school success. Like every good school, community schools must be built on a foundation of powerful teaching that includes challenging academic content and supports students’ mastery of 21st century skills and competencies. What makes community schools unique is the combination of four key pillars (or features) that together create the conditions necessary for students to thrive. The pillars are: 1) integrated student supports; 2) expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities; 3) active family and community engagement; and 4) collaborative leadership and practices. We discuss each of these features in detail in Section II. Because each community school is a reflection of local needs, assets, and priorities, no two look exactly alike. What they do share, however, is a commitment to partnership and to rethinking—and at times rebuilding—relationships based on a strong foundation of trust and respect. School staff, under the leadership of the principal and community school director, work with families and community partners to create and implement a shared vision of student and school success.
Every student should have access to schools with the resources, opportunities, and supports that make academic success possible and create strong ties among families, students, schools, and communities. Doing so will provide more equitable opportunities and prepare students for success in life and as citizens. That’s what community schools offer. They are a powerful, evidence-based strategy for creating excellent schools for students, regardless of their race, family income level, or the ZIP Code in which they live. This guide provides tools for policymakers, students and families, community leaders, allies, and advocates who want to advance community schools as a strategy to improve schools. It builds on a large body of research and excellent resources that have been developed by community schools advocates and practitioners. It has also benefited from the review and input of local and national experts in the field.
The Community Schools Playbook was produced for the Partnership for the Future of Learning by the Public Leadership Institute in partnership with the Coalition for Community Schools. Research for the Community Schools Playbook was conducted by the Learning Policy Institute, the National Education Policy Center, and Research for Action.
Partnership for the Future of Learnng
Coalition for Community Schools
Learning Policy Institute
Public Leadership Institute
National Education Policy Center
Research for Action