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Community schools and the "Elements of Success"

Education is crucial to a country’s development and welfare. So how do we provide the best education to the children of our future? We’ve seen many public schools throughout the country that have developed programs to help overcome their challenges and meet the purpose of education. Through careful research and shared knowledge, experts were able to find the commonalities between  schools that allowed them to build a strong education for their children.

On January 23, 2018, Learning First Alliance released a compendium called The Elements of Success: 10 Million Speak on Schools That Work. This project highlights  research and best practices from 12 national education groups representing over 10 million teachers, administrators, school boards, parents, and policymakers. The project focuses on six elements that are common to all successful schools. These elements are:

  •  Focus on the Total Child
  •  Commitment to Equity and Access
  •   Family and Community Engagement
  •  Distributed Leadership
  •   StrongSupported Teaching Force and Staff
  •   Relationship-Oriented School Climate


The project underscores that schools cannot just focus on one element in their community. They need to incorporate all six elements in their strategy in order to see effective results.

"These elements are like the atoms that make up a molecule," LFA Executive Director Richard M. Long explained, "However, we recognize the distinct difference between each school and each community, and schools implement and integrate these elements in vastly different ways depending on context and their individual needs." It’s crucial that a school recognizes its individual weaknesses and strengths and strategizes a plan that works best for them. To do so, the school and the rest of the community must work together.


In order to build a successful school, schools need to discuss with the community about what they can do. The six elements work as a systems guide that communities need to look at and think about where it makes sense for that community to start. These ideas are equivalent to the values of community schools. Community schools focus on the integration of academics, youth and community development and community engagement that leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.


Melinda George, a representative from Learning Forward and one of the contributors of Elements of Success, stated that community schools are important because they’re places that are safe and welcoming for children and are open to the community in ways that are different depending on the communities’ needs.

"The Elements of Success" emphasizes the interaction between the six elements as well as the school and its community. The leaders of the project believe that collaborative culture will bring about many positive changes. 


View "The Elements of Success" compendium and see how the community schools model is listed as bridging the gap between school and community and helps create partnerships that help students learn and thrive.


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