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Community Schools: The Hottest Story in Education Reform?

More and more school systems across the country are realizing the positive impact community school partnerships have on student achievement and communities.
And many in the media are taking notice.
Over the past few weeks, there has been an outburst of community school coverage from major media outlets and influential media voices showcasing the results being produced at community schools.
In early February, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan declared the community school strategy as one of the preferred models of education reform during an appearance at the Askwith Forum at Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
And the good news kept on rolling. . .
Syndicated columnist Neal Peirce, who covers urban and regional policy issues, cited community schools as the cure for the social ills that block learning in disadvantaged, impoverished neighborhoods in his article, Community Schools: America’s New ‘Village’.
"There’s no doubt that the old order — fenced-off schools that open at 8 a.m. and shutter at 3 p.m., school administrators claiming a monopoly on educational wisdom — is breaking down. School superintendents and principals are recognizing that there’s no way they can raise grades and graduation rates unless they recognize and deal with the huge gaps in incomes and cultures, tapping resources of organizations outside the schools," Peirce said in his column.
It’s a sentiment echoed in other community school coverage.
Daarel Burnette III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune took an honest look inside Dayton Bluff Elementary, a community school in struggling neighborhood in St. Paul.
Educators and students not only narrowed the achievement gap between white and minority students, they reversed it. Specifically, in 2010, minority students were outperforming white students on standardized tests.
Dayton Bluff and other community schools are delivering needed services to students and their families at a time when the country’s economic downturn has diminished limited employment opportunities even further.
California has been "hot" on the media list. Several new community school initiatives are sprouting up in California. Both the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle in the Bay Area wrote about San Francisco and Oakland Unified School Districts’ community school initiatives. The Center for American Progress and Education Daily highlighted the success of community schools in Redwood City, CA, and Thoughts in Public Education, an influential California policy blog, published a commentary by the Coalition’s Martin Blank about community schools across the state.
The spotlight on California’s community school coincidentally comes at a great time since our 2012 National Forum will be held in San Francisco May 9-12. Don’t forget to REGISTER NOW!
Seeing as the media has been on the trail of community schools, you must be asking yourself how you can help. You can FORWARD this newsletter to your local media, SEND us your local community schools news and personal stories.
Below are links to those recent stories and more about community schools:

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