Defining a Community School
What is a Community School?
Information sourced from:
Coalition for Community Schools
Learning Policy Institute, Community Schools: An Evidence-Based Strategy for Equitable School Improvement. June 2017
The California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP) defines a Community School as any school serving pre-Kindergarten through high school students using a “whole-child” approach, with “an integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement.” As a school improvement strategy, community school initiatives enable the local education agency (LEA) and school to work closely with educators, students, and families to understand and address the unique needs, assets, and aspirations of the school community. Community schools then design their own curricula and programs to support the whole child and partner with community-based organizations (CBO) and local government agencies to align community resources to realize a shared vision for success. They improve student outcomes by addressing students’ academic, cognitive, physical, mental, and social-emotional needs. In addition to orchestrating governmental and community resources, community schools meet the needs of children and youth by building a positive school climate and trusting relationships, along with rich learning opportunities that prepare all students to succeed in college, career, and life.
In order to address student, family and community needs, some community schools are open beyond the hours of the traditional school day for after school activities, which often include tutoring and enrichment activities for children, as well as workshops and community services. Many community schools operate year-round to serve both children and their families. Community schools are designed to intentionally and collaboratively address the economic and social barriers that are the underlying cause of the opportunity and achievement gaps.