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May Newsletter 2015


 Vol. XII - Issue 5 - May 2015

In This Issue

Different Stories, Same Important Lessons - This Year's Award for Excellence Winners

Frederick Douglass 1st and Goal

Poverty and family stress are thwarting student success.  That’s what the 2015 State Teachers of the Year said in a recent survey by the Council of Chief State School Officers.  Not surprisingly, our teachers are right according to recent research done by MIT economist Esther Duflo – "poverty causes stress and depression and lack of hope, and stress and depression and lack of hope in turn cause poverty." 

These problems are reinforced by Robert Putnam’s conclusion in his new book, Our Kids, The American Dream in Crisis, that our lower-income youth no longer trust anyone to be there for them. 

So how does our society respond to the voices of our teachers and the desires and needs of our students? Read More>

Higher Learning at University-Assisted Community Schools


"Educate. Engage. Empower." This belief drives the mission of the University of Pennsylvania's Netter Center for Community Partnerships, which developed the model of University-Assisted Community Schools. Although the Netter Center helped create a national vision for university-community relations starting in the late 1980s, similar work has been occurring across the country. In fact, increasing numbers of colleges and universities are mobilizing their resources to help traditional public schools become hubs of real-world, problem-solving learning and innovative university-community partnerships. Read More>

Partner Spotlight


As the nation's leading voice for afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance is working to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs.

We talked to Erik Peterson, Vice President of Policy, to find out more about what Afterschool Alliance is doing to achieve its goals. Read More>

Blog Spotlight

equity cover

Community Schools and Equity: Changing Systems
To create fairness of opportunity and to advance ideas that allow all students, families, and communities to thrive, it is our civic and moral responsibility to own up to the problems in our society and invest in equity-driven strategies. We must address poverty, social justice, and education together. We need a comprehensive approach to our most complex problems. Honest conversations about the relevance of poverty and race in our nation’s educational challenges are vital. Read More>

New Resources and Upcoming Opportunities

Webinar - Mobilizing Families and Communities (June 3, 3PM EDT)
Our four-part "Community Schools and Equity" webinar series will conclude with our final webinar, Mobilizing Families and Communities. Learn how community schools are an organizing vehicle for families and community members to become local partners in school decision-making, and gain useful tools for engaging low-income and struggling families as local advocates in their schools and communities. Register today!

Community Schools Directory
Don't miss your chance to mark your place in the movement! We are collecting your information to ascertain the number, location, and scope of community schools. Upon submission of your entry we will provide you with a "summary report" of your responses. 

Realizing STEM Equity and Diversity through Higher Education Community Engagement

The National Science Foundation supported White Paper "Realizing STEM Equity and Diversity through Higher Education-Community Engagement," by Ira Harkavy, Nancy Cantor, and Myra Burnett presents a promising approach to advancing equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through higher education-community engagement.Read More >

Take Action - Ask your Congressional Member to reauthorize ESEA!

National Institute of Justice - Apply for Funding to Evaluate School Safety Methods 


Poverty, Family Stress are Thwarting Student Success, Top Teachers Say

56 Teachers of the Year were recently asked to identify the greatest barriers to school success for K-12 students. The top teachers ranked family stress as the greatest obstacle, followed by poverty, learning, and psychological problems. The teachers explained that the most important part of their job is helping students learn to cope with problems outside of school. Read More >

Oakland to Halt School Suspensions for Willful Defiance

From now on in Oakland schools, minor infractions, such as mouthing off to a teacher or falling asleep in class, will not result in suspension. The Oakland school board unanimously voted to restrict suspensions in order to encourage schools to focus on why the student is acting in a particular way. This is an attempt for Oakland to reintegrate students into the classroom instead of excluding them, for minor offenses. 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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