The Coalition for Community Schools has named three elementary schools and two communities as winners of the 2013 National Community Schools Award for Excellence. Representatives from each school and initiative will be recognized during the Community Schools’ Education Day, June 6th on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The work of these schools, initiatives school districts and communities exemplifies a core belief of the Coalition: that schools and communities are inextricably connected and must work closely together for the benefit of every child.
Harmon Johnson Elementary School (Twin Rivers Unified School District, Sacramento, CA)
Harmon Johnson, a school with a 98% poverty rate and 70% English Language Learners, had the highest 3-year growth on California’s Academic Performance Index and one of the highest attendance rates of any school in its district. Parent volunteerism has increased by 500% in the past seven years and their engagement has made the school safer and improved its climate. Additionally, parents led the school district to invest an additional $1.4 million in the school instead of closing it as originally planned. The school now features widely-used health, mental health, and dental services. Parent activism has also led the city to shut down a hazardous adjacent housing complex and create safer routes to the school. Harmon Johnson educators worked with Vulcan Materials Company, University of Pacific, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, and many others to attain these goals.
Review Harmon Johnson's Awards Profile.
Hillcrest Elementary School (San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, CA)
Hillcrest, which has a nearly 100% minority student population, saw an 11% increase in California Standardized Test scores across all grades from 2010 to 2012. Behavior, discipline, and fighting have decreased significantly. Ninety percent of Hillcrest teachers reported feeling that nearly all of the students are well behaved, only 20% believed that to be the case when they first started teaching at the school. Parent participation in teacher conferences has increased by 40% and a parent-run food bank serves nearly 80 families a week. Nearly half of Hillcrest students participate in after-school or summer school programs. The school has achieved these results by leveraging more than $1.3 million through partnerships and grants, accounting for 30% of its operating revenue.
Review Hillcrest's Awards Profile.
Roosevelt Elementary School (Allentown School District, Allentown, PA)
Part of the COMPASS Community School Initiative (Community Partners for Student Success), led by the United Way of Greater Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, Roosevelt received the Academic Achievement Award for Adequate Yearly Progress from the state of Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2009-2011). The percentage of students scoring advanced and proficient in reading increased by 19% from 2006 to 2011 and by 13% on math assessments. Parent volunteerism and participation is on the rise, more than two-dozen community members attend adult English classes, and more than half of its students participate in before, after, or summer school activities run by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Allentown and other community partners. The Boys and Girls Club coordinates other opportunities for students and their families at the school, and works closely with the school’s corporate partners, Air Products.
Review Roosevelt Elementary's Award Profile.
Community Learning Centers (Cincinnati, OH)
Led by Cincinnati Public Schools with support from the Greater Cincinnati United Way, the Greater Cincinnati Community Foundation, the Health Foundation of Cincinnati, the Schiff Family Foundation, the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, and the Community Learning Centers Institute, the initiative brings together hundreds of community partners to support students and teachers. There are now 35 Community Learning Centers (community schools) in the school district and a school board policy has directed the district to work on making all schools Community Learning Centers. The Initiative is credited with helping Cincinnati Public Schools become the highest-rated urban school district in Ohio. Schools feature an array of opportunities including state of the art health and vision clinics, mental health support, business-mentoring partnerships and after school programs among other services. The Centers have helped to reverse the long-time downward trend in district enrollment as more families move back in to the city to attend Cincinnati’s Community Learning Centers. Since the implementation of the community school strategy in 2001, voters have demonstrated their commitment to the schools by overwhelmingly passing all school levies.
Review the Community Learning Centers' Award Profile.
Hartford Community Schools (Hartford, CT)
A partnership between the Hartford Public Schools, the City of Hartford, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut Hartford has now organized seven community schools with plans to add more. Each school partners with a lead community-based agency that works to involve families and other partners. Studentsparticipating in after-school programming at the school district’s seven community schools saw an increase in math, reading and writing scores between 2009 and 2010. Hartford Community Schools increased their state test scores by 5.6 points from 2009 to 2010. This represented twice the district's average increase over the same time period, and 15% growth since 2008 – all in one of the poorest major metropolitan cities in the country. Additionally, unprecedented collaboration between the school district, City Hall, and private and philanthropic organizations has expanded the reach and scope of the initiative. There has been an increase in partnerships since the implementation of community schools, with partners such as the Hartford Symphony and the Hartford Public Library. Funding from local foundations and partnering community organizations covered nearly 50% of school-based costs at Hartford’s community schools.
Review Hartford Community School's Award Profile.