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E-update, Week of July 9, 2010

Coalition for Community Schools' E-Update, July 9, 2010


COALITION UPDATES

Monthly Conference Calls
Please mark your calendars for our monthly Urban Network Conference calls -4th Wednesday of every month at 12pm EST. NEXT CALL: July 28th 12pm EST.
They will serve to:
  • Renew communications among participants on a more consistent basis;
  • Inform participants about federal policy related to community schools; and
  • Provide space for the Network to share updates and learning from one another (practitioner, advocacy, and policy).

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FEDERAL UPDATES

Are you one of the 339 Promise Neighborhood applicants?
Over the next several weeks, Patrick Lester, from the United Neighborhood Centers of America will be interviewing Promise Neighborhood Applicants. The purpose of these interviews is to get an honest assessment of what worked, what didn’t, and how Promise Neighborhoods can be improved. We think that this is a great opportunity for us, as a field, to get the word out about how community schools are at the centers promise neighborhoods. Please contact Patrick directly by emailing him (plester@unca.org) or calling him (202-429-0400 x 15). Also, let me know if you end up doing this, so I can make sure to get the transcripts to share with the field!

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that approximately 339 organizations electronically submitted applications for Promise Neighborhoods planning grants. The final number will be determined following a tabulation of any additional paper applications received by the Department. The $10 million available in first-year funding for Promise Neighborhoods will support up to 20 organizations with one year of funding to plan for the implementation of cradle-to-career services designed to improve educational outcomes for students in distressed neighborhoods. The application deadline was June 28.

Please send me an email (shahs@iel.org) if you were involved in a promise neighborhood application.

Congressmen Push to Save Free Lunch for Poor Philly Children
In Philadelphia, the Universal Feeding Program provides 110,000 students with free lunches without the hassle of filling out an application. Recently, it was included in the "Improving Nutrition of America’s Children Act" and is slated to continue for another five years. Not only would it provide food during the school year, it would also feed children during the summer months. Read more...

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LOCAL/STATE COMMUNITY SCHOOL NEWS

Oakland Unified School District NOW a Community Schools District! 
Dr. Tony Smith, Superintendent of Oakland Unified School District has included the community schools strategy as part of the District’s strategic plan. In an public letter to the community he writes, "On the narrow measure of test scores, we have failed to close the achievement gap. This progress also sits in a city where too many young people are dying violent deaths and too many families are crushed by poverty. To stop the hemorrhaging of human capital we must take bold and immediate action to change a system that cannot in its current form meet the needs of children. To reach our vision of engaging every child in joyful, productive learning, we have to move from a few full-service community schools to become a full-service community district. The full service community school, of which we now have many thriving examples in Oakland, is a place where the school has broadened its mission and vision to meet the needs of all of its students." Please click here to download the summary version of the "OUSD Strategic Thinking & Opportunities" Board Strategy Session presentation.  Read more...

Providence’s Bailey Elementary School combines education, community outreach

After receiving a five-year Full Service Community Schools grant of $2.3 million from the US Department of Education, Bailey Elementary School – a community school has helped raise the academics in the school. Specifically, in reading, third-graders went from scoring 27 percent proficiency in 2007 to 41 percent in 2009; fourth-graders jumped from 28 percent proficiency to 59 percent during the same period and fifth-graders moved from 12 percent proficiency to 39 percent. Math scores have seen similar gains, according to the School Department. Read more...

Helping the Whole Child: A View from Two Schools

In Boston, the City Connects program links a child’s academic success to their well-being in the community. Traci Walker Griffith, who is principal at the Eliot K-8 School, says that her partnership with City Connects has helped meet the needs of her students and families. Through this partnership they have been able to identify services and enrichment opportunities for students both inside and outside the school; work with community agencies that in the past had difficulty working with the school; have a full-time school site coordinator to really dig deeply into the services and resources our children need and to make sure that we meet their needs and support their strengths; and figure out what our families need from us as a school. To learn more about Eliot K-8 School and Kathleen Carlisle a site coordinator at the Mission Hill School, click here.

Baltimore City Raises Taxes to Save School Based Health Centers!
In order to continue funding 13 school-based health centers, Baltimore City is going to be raising taxes. Originally, officials were considering cutting funding to the health centers, but when they took a closer look at the centers, they found that they were an integral part of the school system. The health centers provide students with access to care for problems ranging from asthma to immunizations. Read more...

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TOOLS/RESOURCES

The latest edition of the Universities and Community Schools Journal (Spring 2010) is now available! The journal is a product of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania and its purpose is "to establish an inter¬national informal ‘visible college’—or network of—academics and practitioners working in different places and ways, to increase the contributions universities make to the development and effectiveness of community schools." This edition features several folks from our network: Pam Pittman, Hal Lawson, Robert Kronick, and Jim Grim to name a few. Please share this far and wide with your partners and policymakers.

EVENTS

2nd Annual Oklahoma University Community Engagement Center (OUCEC) Southwest Regional Network University-Assisted Community Schools Conference
Date: Oct 25-26, with reception evening of 24th.
Description: The Conference will focus on Higher Ed institutions linking to high schools expanding to include the full P-20 pipeline. The Higher Ed Forum of Northeastern Oklahoma will soon announce a Call for Posters through the Forum Intercollegiate Research Subcommittee. Planning is underway and includes Campus Compact, TACSI, P-20 Council, Tulsa Chamber, Higher Ed Forum, Netter Center, 5 State Champions, and more.
Registration costs will remain as low as possible as travel budgets are tight. This networking community school conference will include Dr Ira Harkavy, plenary sessions and concurrent workshops spanning P-20 evidence based practices, innovation and outcomes. Location: OU Tulsa Learning Center, Tulsa.
More information: contact Pam Pittman at pspittman@ou.edu.

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