California stands as a major focal point of community schools activity with many of its school districts, including Oakland, San Francisco, Redwood City, and Los Angeles, are incorporating community schools into school site and district plans. Elected officials, superintendents, foundations executives, and others discussed the power and impact of community schools.
The theme for the 2012 Community Schools National Forum, Scaling up School and Community Partnerships: The Community Schools Strategy, reflects the Coalition’s new guide.
We are consciously encouraging school and community leaders to develop long-term systemic approaches to community schools implementation – approaches that are consistent with our belief that community schools are fundamental to education reform. Scale up efforts are particularly important at a time when there is growing discussion about the influence non-school factors, particularly poverty, has on student achievement. The emphasis on scaling up also connects community schools to strategies such as Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, P-20 initiatives, and Cradle-to-Career education.
Participants heard from schools and communities that are planning, or are in the midst of scale up, as well as those who are at scale and working to deepen their efforts and improve effectiveness.