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E-update, Week of May 28, 2010

Coalition for Community Schools' E-Update, May 28, 2010


Sarah Pearson will be leaving the Coalition in June to pursue various consulting opportunities. The Coalition appreciates her contribution in the past two years and wishes her well in her new endeavors.


AFT President Randi Weingarten visits a community school in St. Paul, MN. She met with local education and political leaders to discuss the union’s fight for effective school reforms and efforts to avert drastic education budget cuts. She notes, "Johnson Elementary [an Achievement Plus school] gets it—schools must be the centers of our communities, a safe haven where children can receive the services they need to mitigate the adverse effects of poverty on academic achievement. Read more

High lead levels Hurt Learning for Detroit Public School Kids
About 60% of DPS students who performed below their grade level on 2008 standardized tests had elevated lead levels. More than half of the students tested in Detroit Public Schools have a history of lead poisoning, which affects brain function for life, according to data compiled by city health and education officials. Read more

ESEA Watch- The Administration's 4 school turnaround models are not sitting well with Congress, as they prepare for the re-authorization of ESEA. Both sides of the isle agree that the models are inflexible, especially for schools in rural areas. They also note lack of emphasis on factors such as the need for community and parental involvement. Rep. Miller (D-CA) says that if there isn't collaboration and buy-in from the community, efforts to turn around schools will be for naught. Read more..

Health Reform Bill Gives a Boost to School-Based Health Centers
Saba Bireda from the Washington, DC based Center for American Progress recently noted that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, promises to make far-reaching changes to our current health care system beyond cost. In fact, it is a sign of the growing acknowledgment that integrating health care services in schools DOES matter, improving academic outcomes. She points out that the community schools strategy implements such a model. Read more

Promise Neighborhoods: How-to-Apply Guide and Webinars


The new Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNTS report, "EARLY WARNING! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters," recommends the community schools strategy to help kids read by the end of the 3rd grade. The report states, "the community schools strategy bears mentioning as one of the most prevalent and successful approaches." It also points out that a huge part of ensuring that kids are reading is parent engagement. They are their children's first teachers. The report makes the case for the foundation's 10-year initiative to ensure that more children become proficient readers by the end of 3rd grade. The report offers several recommendations for improving children's reading, including targeting absenteeism. Read more..  Also, check out a brief from Annenberg that looks at the importance of Early Reading Proficiency as a leading education indicator.

Educational Attainment Rises for All Americans but...
Despite gains nationally, Blacks and Latinos still lag behind in educational attainment. A Brookings report, State of Metropolitan America, analyzes the U.S. Census data, exposing significant gaps in the rates at which Blacks and Latinos earn a high school diploma or college degree. The report highlights the continued "demographic transformation" of the United States, with nonwhites accounting for 83 percent of population growth between 2000 and 2008, heightening challenges for schools across the nation. Read more

JOINT USE OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS: A Framework for a New Social Contract
21st Century School Fund, a Coalition partner, recently released a report about the joint use of public schools, in collaboration with Center for Cities and Schools at the University of California Berkeley. The report is in response to the growing conversation about and demand for joint use as a way to provide services to children and families in convenient locations, improve opportunities for physical activity by increasing use of school recreational and outdoor spaces, leverage capital investments, and more. Engaging in joint use, particularly intensive sharing of space or use by multiple parties, presents ongoing challenges to school and community leaders. The paper frames the basic challenges and opportunities for joint use to facilitate better conversations and planning for these type of collaborations. Read more

Child Trends’ Latest Newsletter Highlights Federal Initiatives That Boost Indicators & Evidence
Several new federal initiatives give a strong role to measurement--both performance measures and well-being indicators--as a means for identifying needs and documenting improvement. The Spring 2010 issue of The Child Indicator summarizes these initiatives--Race to the Top, the Investing in Innovation Fund, Promise Neighborhoods, and the Social Innovation Fund. Read more

National Assembly for School Based Health Releases 2007-2008 School Based Health Census
The Census: provides a better understanding of the role of SBHCs in meeting the needs of underserved children and adolescents; collects relevant trend data on demographics, staffing, operations, prevention activities, clinical services, and policies; creates a national database of programs. Read more

Taking Leadership, Innovating Change: Profiles in Family, School, and Community Engagement
Given Administration’s emphasis on innovation, the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group has compiled twelve examples of leading innovations in family engagement as an integral and effective strategy in systemic education reform. Several of the innovations highlighted in the report were created by community-based organizations, universities, or education advocates, and conducted in partnership with schools and families. Read more

Learning, Teaching, and Leading in Healthy School Communities
Our report, Learning, Teaching, and Leading in Healthy School Communities summarizes key findings from the Healthy School Communities pilot study that was conducted from 2006 to 2008. Significant highlight is given to the Nine Levers of School Change that were demonstrated by the most effective sites. The report can be found in this months' Educational Leadership, as an insert, but is also available for download.

Creating Environments to Promote Innovation
Jane Quinn’s interview with the Harvard Family Research Project: Creating an Environment to Promote Innovation: A Design Thinking Framework –This interview by HFRP’s Margaret Caspe, includes Jane Quinn, Heather Weiss (HFRP), and Sherry Cleary (Executive Director of the Early Childhood Professional Development Institute at City University of New York). The interview focuses on the design thinking to bring about innovation, so that schools and organizations can move beyond typical problem solving to discover new ways of thinking. Jane aptly notes, the our innovative solutions need to come from "identifying resources in society, tapping into them, and connecting the resources with a need". Read more


• Participate in a series of webinars on the Promise Neighborhoods application process here:


Check out what other community school initiatives are up to…

Community Schools Collaboration Newsletter, SeaTac, WA

Children’s Aid Society’s Early Learning in Community Schools, New York, NY

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