Higher education institutions (IHEs) are place-based institutions with multiple points of connection to their local community and region. IHEs institutions also have existing relationships with their neighborhood schools. Federal dollars are already engaging Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) in partnering with local school districts to evaluating programs, providing professional development, and setting college and career standards. However, the capacity of these institutions goes beyond this. Higher-Ed leaders are looking to the full range of their resources, particularly their human capital (faculty, students and staff) from all disciplines and schools including the professional schools such as medicine, nursing, dental medicine, and social work to provide the resources for community schools. The work supports school day curriculum enrichment, robust expanded learning opportunities, as well as health and social services for youth, their families and the broader community. The work is mutually beneficial since its advances the research, teaching, learning and service missions of higher education institutions.
IHEs constitute a strategic source of comprehensive, sustained support for community schools. As intermediary organizations, IHEs have both the human and economic capital to be responsible to lead the planning, coordination, and management of the community schools initiative. IHEs around the country are providing schools with research on the needs of their communities, as well as coordinators, tutors, mentors, classroom support, and professors. The strategic framework with which IHEs engage their schools and communities is known as university assisted community school (UACS) model.
The University-Assisted Community Schools Network launched in February of 2015, with participation from over 20 Universities facilitating University-Assisted Community Schools. The schools in this network work provide excellent examples of university/neighborhood collaboration.
Examples of university involvement in building schools and neighborhoods include:
Videos: See What Our University-Assisted Community Schools are up to.
The Sayre High School partnership with the University of Pennsylvania is a model for the University Assisted Community School. The School is located in the urban neighborhood of West Philadelphia, PA
The Broome County Promise Zone allows coordinators to work with administrators at schools to make sure they have the proper services in place for children.
Columbia College Community School CAP is shaping the schools of tomorrow through its commitment to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.
Benefits to Institutions of Higher Education include:
- Engaging students and faculty in robust problem solving courses for the schools and the community
- Developing habits of citizenship within the institution
- Improve the institution's standing in the community
- Developing the neighborhoods these institutions are located in.
- Provide opportunities for university, college, & K-12 students & faculty to learn across diverse populations
Click here to access tips on how to engage Institutions for Higher Education and their leaders in community schools. For more supportive publications and resources,click here.