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January Newsletter 2015


 Vol. XII - Issue 1 - January 2015

In This Issue

Dispelling the Myth by Working Together


Recently the Education Trust, honored three outstanding public schools at their Twelfth Annual Dispelling the Myth Awards ceremony. 

Menlo Park Elementary (Portland, OR) is one of those schools. Part of the
David Douglas School District, Menlo Park is also part of the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Community School Initiative. 

We sat down with Menlo Park’s principal, Kellie Burkhardt and SUN Site Manager, Steven Joinson, to take a deeper look at how Menlo Park is re-writing the script on achievement levels and increasing opportunities for our most vulnerable youth – and it should be no surprise they aren’t doing this work alone.
Read More>

Community-Based Learning Through Community Partnerships

two girls studying in the sand

Creating learning experiences that are relevant and meaningful to students is a core part of one Boston community school. Young Achievers Math and Science Pilot School (YA) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where students are empowered around social justice issues in their community. Originally founded by local African American and Latino community activists, YA has long embedded social justice and project-based learning in the fabric of its school culture. Recently, YA’s leaders have focused on environmental themes. According to Lisa Rios, a YA science teacher, this project-based approach has been critical in teaching her students how to be both environmentally conscious and civically engaged.  Read More >

Meet the New Coordinator's Network Co-Chairs

liz small

Liz Capparelli Thacker runs the Norwood Community School in Knoxville, TN. Liz was at the forefront of the creation of the Knoxville initiative. She has currently been in this role for 3 years and has seen the community school grow from 30 children to over 150. Norwood has also increased its partners and the various domains that are being addressed in this community. In her spare time, Liz enjoys yoga and anything that takes her outdoors.


Damion Morgan is the Community School Director for COMPASS Youth Collaborative at Asian Studies Academy (ASA), a K-8 public school in Hartford, CT. Damion has been in this role for five years and has helped spearhead the school's transition to an Asian Studies Academy in 2010. Under Damion’s leadership at ASA, there has been an increase in quality partnerships and overall improvements to wraparound services. Damion is an artist who enjoys music, painting and poetry.

Want to connect with other coordinators from around the country?

Join the Coordinator's Network today!

Equity Toolbox


The time is always right, to do what is right. 
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Young People Must Know Their Own History

Martin Blank, Director of the Coalition for Community Schools asks, "Do our young people know about our own nation's history, particularly how our society has responded to marginalized groups?" In his most recent Huffington Post Blog, he challenges you to talk about your history and how schools must step up help young people understand their own stories and what they mean.


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Press Release - Over Forty National Organizations Call for Community School Principles in ESEA

The Coalition for Community Schools is grateful for the support of 44 national organizations that have signed on to our recommendations for a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  Read More >

PA Governor Appoints SDoL Superintendent to Top Education Post

School District of Lancaster superintendent Pedro Rivera was tapped by new Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to serve as secretary of education. Read More >

Time for Equity: Expanding Access to Learning

On Thursday, January 22, the Annenberg Institute released the next issue of their national, quarterly journal "Voices in Urban Education," entitled "Time for Equity: Expanding Access to Learning."  Read More >

More News



The Coalition for Community Schools believes that strong communities require strong schools and strong schools require strong communities. We envision a future in which schools are centers of thriving communities where everyone belongs, works together, and succeeds. The Coalition advances opportunities for the success of children, families and communities by promoting the development of more and more effective, community schools. The Coalition for Community Schools is housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C.

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