July 2016 Newsletter



 Vol. XV - Issue 7 - July 2016

In This Issue


Eliminating Summer Slide: Summer Learning in Community Schools  

While many schools take a well-deserved summer vacation as a time to regroup and rejuvenate, the work of community schools is far from over. In fact, many community schools host summer learning programs as an active combatant to the “summer slide,” a tagline for a momentum shift in student success that can take place during the summer. Community schools across the country are actively promoting and sponsoring summer learning programs that will be a catalyst for strong, ready, and engaged students come the fall. Read More >

Better Together: Equity as a focus in Community Schools

Over the course of this month, we have all been deeply effected by the events in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas. To continue to shine a light on equity, we introduce to you "Better Together", our contribution to lifting up equity through our newsletter. In the months ahead, we will share resources and tools from coalition partners and elsewhere on racial, class, gender, and LGBTQ+ equity issues as well as stories on what community schools are doing to support equity. Read our statement on the events of this month here, and see below for this month’s equity resources. 

Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Model Stakeholder Engagement 

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On Friday July 15, 2016, Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Secretary Pedro Rivera hosted US Department of Education Secretary John King and participants from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Accountability Workgroup in Pennsylvania for a discussion on how the state is engaging stakeholders in the development and implementation of ESSA. The conversations touched on some of the innovative, “out of the box strategies” not traditionally considered as part of statewide plans to meet whole student needs.  Susan Gobreski, Director of Community Schools for the Mayor’s Office in Philadelphia and member of the Pennsylvania Accountability Workgroup, participated in the roundtable discussion and brought community schools front and center, highlighting the importance of the community school strategy in providing individualized student and school community interventions under the new ESSA. Secretary King agreed with her sentiments around community schools and incorporated this as part of his comments related to the flexibility ESSA has created in engaging these types of successful strategies.

In addition, The Philadelphia Mayor's Office of Education (MOE) has released a report entitled
Community Schools: Hearing from the Community covering the public outreach done to garner feedback from Philadelphians on the city’s new community schools initiative. 

Outside of Pennsylvania, other states are broadening their engagement of stakeholders as well: New York has created an ESSA “Think Tank” of over 80 organizations, including organizations in New York’s emerging state community schools coalition, to provide additional input on the state ESSA plan beyond that of the formal planning committee. The Coalition recognizes that meaningful stakeholder engagement is critical to successful implementation of ESSA. Check out our resources on stakeholder engagement here, including guidance for state and local leaders. We will continue to work with our national and local partners to promote strong stakeholder engagement as states develop their ESSA plans.

Partner Spotlight: National Summer Learning Association  


This month we talk to the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) about their work to support summer learning. Rachel Gwaltney, Director of Policy & Partnerships, discusses how community schools are an essential strategy for summer learning by leveraging resources for students to combat the summer slide. Learn about NSLA's National Summer Learning Day and how to advocate for summer learning initiatives. Read More >

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards works to maintain high standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. They provide a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards; to-date, more than 112,000 teachers have earned their National Board Certification. We welcome them as a partner and look forward to partnering to amplify our voice and the voice of teachers amongst their diverse and important audience.

Opportunities and Resources


Family and Community Engagement Strategies Support Learning

The second webinar in the Coalition's learning series, will highlight how community schools engage families to expand learning opportunities. Learn how the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Community School Partnership has not only involved parents and guardians in their child’s education, but has also spread learning into local neighborhoods through their innovate family and community engagement programs.  
Register Here >

Brookings Reports Feature Community Schools

Brookings released two reports this month featuring community schools. The first report shows how community schools have long term benefits that outweigh the total costs of running a successful community school. The second report discusses how school-based health centers provides a way for the health and education sectors to work together to support the successful development of children.

COFI Training Institute

Join COFI (Community Organizing and Family Issues) for their Institute for Family Focused Organizing trainings to learn about their parent organizing model and to strengthen your family engagement strategies. Read more>

U.S. Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods 2016 Call for Peer Reviewers

The U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), is seeking individuals to serve as peer reviewers for the FY 2016 Promise Neighborhoods implementation grant competitions. Promise Neighborhoods is a competitive grant program that supports cradle-to-college and career services designed to improve educational and developmental outcomes for students in distressed neighborhoods. Please submit a current resume and peer reviewer application form to Richard.Kress@ed.gov by August 15, 2016 to be considered for this new competition in 2016. Read more >


Wisconsin State Rep. Believes Community Schools Will Help Students Achieve Their Fullest Potential

Wisconsin State Rep. Mandela Barnes co-authored the Community Schools Act in response to the highly criticized budget provision that gave third-party operators control of the most underfunded schools in the state. The new act will provide funding for schools across Milwaukee Public Schools who desire to adopt the community schools strategy. Read More >

Aspiring Community School Principal Featured in San Pablo Local First Magazine

Wendy Gonzalez’s students face poverty and trauma every day. As principal of Lake Elementary School in San Pablo, CA, Gonzales is transforming her school into a community school to provide the supports and services her students need to succeed academically. Read More >

Pittsburgh Takes Next Step Toward Implementation of Community Schools

The Pittsburgh Public School Board has decided to adopt the community school strategy into its policy through a vote by the school board. Schools that will implement the community school strategy will be chosen via an application process and an assessment of whether the schools have the capability and sustainability to implement the community school model. Supporters of this policy, including the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, believe that the impact of this model will level the playing field for Pittsburgh’s students. 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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