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Newsletter 5.17

Community Schools Online

Looking Outside the Classroom...
October 20, 2008 Vol. V, No. 17

We know that public schools are not islands; they operate within communities of family, agencies, and individuals who all share an interest in the preparation of young people and young people as future citizens. --Anne Bryant, National Press Club, 9/2408

 

Coalition Update: Report to the Field
The Community Agenda for America’s Public Schools
Ed Week On-Line Chat: The Community Agenda and Community Schools
Tenderloin Community School
“From Outside to Inside Schools”
“What Matters Most: Keeping the Community in Our Schools”


In the News
“Foundation: School-Community Links Vital for Students”
“A Path to Success Opens Quietly for Dropouts”
“Service Learning: An On-Ramp to National Service”
 “Beyond the Classroom”
“Put to the Test: Confronting Concerns About Project Learning”


Research, Publications, and Tools
Present Engaged and Accounted For: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades
Cultivating Demand for the Arts
Using Evaluation to Inform OST Programming and Serve Older Youth
Responding to a Crisis
Communities in Schools – National Evaluation
Engaging and Re-engaging Students in Learning at School
“What Works” Clearinghouse


Awards & Events
Ed Week - Upcoming On-Line Chat on Early Chronic Absenteeism
NASBHC Convention Call for Abstracts!
Education Commission of the States Call for 2009 Awards Nominations
NCEA 2008 Annual Conference
Coalition for Essential Schools Fall Forum 2008
PEN 2008 Annual Conference
2008 National Family Week
Pre-k Now National Conference


Funding Opportunities
Coalition Allies and Partners Grant Tracking Systems

 Job Opportunities
American Youth Policy Forum - Program Associate
The Rural School and Community Trust – President
Massachusetts Executive Office of Education – Policy Analyst

Coalition Update: Report to the Field

kidsCALL TO ACTION! The Community Agenda for America’s Public Schools
With your help, the Coalition has successfully launched The Community Agenda (TCA)! Individuals and organizations continue to endorse TCA.  Several endorsers have are highlighting TCA on their websites and posting press releases. These actions are helping us take the next step in moving forward with strong dissemination efforts by both the Coalition and its partners.  We encourage you to share The Community Agenda with your partners and networks, as well as getting them to endorse. We also NEED YOU to send letters to Congress, asking them to support TCA! If you would like copies of The Community Agenda, contact Shital C. Shah at shahs@iel.org.  You can also send her stories about how you are using The Community Agenda in your communities and with your policymakers!   Finally, click here to read what the blogosphere is saying about The Community Agenda!


ACTION BEING TAKEN! “What Matters Most: Keeping the Community in Our Schools”
In her latest NY Times column, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, argues that teachers need to help “the community get its schools back.”  She notes the strong role that relationships between parents, teachers, and communities have played in the past to secure resources, conditions, and respect for teachers. Click here for more of her reflections.


Ed Week On-Line Chat: The Community Agenda and Community Schools
Marty Blank, Director of the Coalition for Community Schools, was a featured guest on the October 15th Ed Week chat. Marty answered questions about The Community Agenda and its role in the work of community organizations, social workers, health care providers, and other groups in helping improve the lives of students in the nation’s low-performing public schools. Click here to view the full transcript of the chat. Please share the transcript with your networks and partners!


Tenderloin Community School: A Model of What a School Can Be
The Tenderloin, home to more than 3,500 children, was the only San Francisco neighborhood without its own public school. Prior to the schools opening, some 1,200 pupils rose before the sun to catch buses to nearly 50 schools. Most parents rely on public transportation—and many require translators, as a result they were unable to participate in school activities or talk with teachers. To address these issues and strengthen the community-school relationship, Bay Area Women's & Children's Center (BAWCC) launched a campaign to construct and renovate San Francisco schools. Click here to read more about how Tenderloin Community School serves its community.


 From Outside to Inside Schools
Logan Square Neighborhood Association, a nonprofit, multi-issue, grassroots community organization which started in Chicago during the early 1990’s, understands that creating and maintaining relationships between schools and communities is essential in achieving their mission “to ensure that the community is an excellent place to live, work, play, raise children, run a business, and worship.” They believe that creating the strong connection between the parents and the teachers helps break down barriers between the community and schools, as well as enabling students to achieve academically.   LSNA is a lead partner for a series of community schools in its neighborhood as part of the Chicago Community Schools Initiative.

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In the News

Communities in Schools – National Evaluation
A model for providing "integrated student services," advanced by Communities In Schools (CIS), a nonprofit group devoted to dropout prevention, has been shown to yield more positive educational outcomes than services offered in an uncoordinated manner. The conclusion comes from initial results at the midpoint of a five-year longitudinal study by ICF International, a global consulting and research firm. The initial findings come from a comparative analysis of more than 1,200 schools, half of which used the integrated model and half of which did not.


Foundation: School-Community Links Vital for Students
As part of their Closing the Achievement Gap series, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released: Closing the Achievement Gap: School, Community, Family Connections, highlights the George Washington Elementary School (an community school which was awarded one of the DOE full-service community school grants) in their argument that community schools can improve student learning, increase parent participation, give teachers more time to focus on instruction, and contribute to making schools and the community safer.  They also showcase parent organizing in Texas and Denver, one California school district’s innovative parent engagement policy, and the Foundation’s contribution to results measurements in the field. Click here to read more.


“A Path to Success Opens Quietly for Dropouts”
In response to a severely high dropout rate, the Philadelphia School District opened a Re-Engagement Center for drop-outs, this past summer. Philadelphia has among the highest drop out rate in the country – about 8,000 students. The District has set aside $300,000/year of permanent funding for the Center which serves as a “one stop shop” of academic programs and social and emotional services to help students re-enter school. The Center is a testament of how offering supportive services to youth can help improve their academic outcomes. Research from Johns Hopkins University and others shows that it is possible to identify students likely to drop out as early as sixth grade -- emphasizing even more that we need to offer supportive services to our youth early on.  Finally, it is important to ask ourselves and our local leaders why all Philadelphia schools do not take this comprehensive approach which is consistent with the community schools vision.

“Service Learning: An On-Ramp to National Service”
John C. Kielsmeier, founder of NYLC and Jim Schiebel, former mayor of St. Paul, MN, highlight the need for service-learning in schools.  They state that youth who have been involved rebuilding hurricane destroyed communities and monitor environmental quality, have grown academically, increased their civic participation, and strengthened their leadership skills.  They cite that in Minnesota, service learning has helped improve academics for the past 25 years. Service learning in schools has been supported by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. Click here to read further.

“Beyond the Classroom”
Teaching Brazilian martial arts, parents and teachers making home visits to new students, providing information to families who need extra help, opening school-based health clinics– these are just a few ways in which many schools in Chicago are looking outside of the classroom to help their students and families.  The intention is that these activities, seemingly unrelated to academics, will help low-income students achieve better grades and test scores.  Acknowledging the importance of the more holistic approach, in March 2008, Atlantic Philanthropies awarded 5 schools and their communities a 4 year, $18 million dollar grant to provide health and social services to their students and families.  The grants are being administered by Local Initiative Support Corporation’s Chicago Office.   


“Put to the Test: Confronting Concerns About Project Learning” Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups. While many teachers have embraced project based learning (PBL) there are still some who have concerns around the ease of implementation and therefore do not use this method. To address the teachers’ issues, the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) has launched a PBL Starter Kit, the first in a series on project learning.  The series will discuss: standards, time commitment, collaboration, and classroom management, in the hopes of empowering teachers.  Read more….

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Research, Publications and Tools


 

Present Engaged and Accounted For: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades
Although students must be present and engage to learn, thousands of this country’s youngest students are academically at-risk because of extended absences. A new report, by Hedy Chang, a consultant to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Mariajos√© Romero, from the National Center for Children in Poverty, shows that nationally, an estimated one in ten kindergarten and first grade students are chronically absent. Chronic early absence in kindergarten is associated with lower 1st grade academic performance for all children and the worst fifth grade academic achievement among poor children.  Fortunately, chronic early absence can be significantly reduced when schools, communities and families join together to monitor and promote attendance. Currently, Chang is working with a group national Coalition for Community Schools’ partners to study the rates of chronic early absence in their respective communities. Stay tuned for more details in the weeks ahead!

 

Cultivating Demand for the Arts
Years of cuts to arts education in schools and after-school programs is taking a heavy toll on students. A new report from RAND and the Wallace Foundation looks at collaborative efforts in six cities and counties to revive and support young people's interest in arts and how they marshaled resources to support local arts education. Research shows that students who participate in the arts, both in school and after school, demonstrate improved academic performance and lower dropout rates. The authors argue that arts policies have long focused on supporting supply and expanding access while neglecting demand, which calls for cultivating the capacity of individuals to have engaging experiences with the arts.


Using Evaluation to Inform OST Programming and Serve Older Youth

This Research Update, put out by the Harvard Family Research Project, explores two major themes: using evaluation to shape program improvement and planning, and out-of-school time (OST) benefits to older youth and their families. Increasing demands for accountability have led many OST staff to use evaluation to demonstrate their programs’ value to stakeholders. But, in many instances, accountability demands leave staff with little time and few resources to examine how evaluations can improve the quality of their programs. Several of the studies in this review, however, succeed in using evaluation both to demonstrate their programs’ value and to strive for continuous improvement.


Responding to a Crisis
The UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools will be devoting the next few weeks on their Mental Health in Schools Practitioner Listserv to “How to Respond to Crisis.” The listserv will offer suggestions and resources for how we need to support students during the aftermath of the hurricane and evacuations.  This report argues that after such crisis, as soon as school opens, despite their own suffering, school personnel will need to hit the ground running in providing social and emotional supports for students and staff. Click here for a list of the resources.

 

Engaging and Re-engaging Students in Learning at School
Howard Adelman and Linda Taylor, co-directors of Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA, recently published a new practice guide on how to use supportive structures to engage and re-engage students in the classroom. They argue that engagement is associated with positive academic outcomes, including achievement and persistence in school.  Adelman and Taylor note that engagement is higher in classrooms with supportive teachers and peers. Also when students become disengaged, behavior and learning problems could lead to dropouts.

 

“What Works” Clearinghouse
The Institute for Education Sciences (IES) offers practice guides which provide practical recommendations for educators to help them address the challenges they face daily.  Developed by a panel of nationally recognized experts, the practice guides consist of recommendations, strategies for overcoming potential roadblocks, and an indication of the strength of evidence supporting each recommendation. IES practice guides are subjected to rigorous external peer review. Guide topics range from reducing behavior problems to dropout prevention.

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Events, Funding, and Job Opportunities

EVENTS

 

Ed Week - On-Line Chat about Early Chronic Absenteeism
Debates over test scores and graduation rates have recently come to dominate the education policy scene. However, a series of recent reports point out an obvious, though oft-ignored, fact: Students have to be physically present in school in order to succeed.  Check out  a live chat on Monday, October 27 from 3-4 p.m. , featuring experts in the issue of chronic absenteeism. The guests will be:

-- Dr. Mariajos√© Romero is co-author of "Present, Engaged, and Accounted For." Dr. Romero is a senior research associate at the National Center for Children in Poverty.
-- Hedy Nai-Lin Chang is co-author of "Present, Engaged, and Accounted For," as well as a researcher, writer, and facilitator. She also consults with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
-- Dr. Jane Sundius is the director of the Education and Youth Development Program at OSI-Baltimore and co-authors a series of policy papers on absenteeism in Baltimore City Public Schools.

Be sure to check in next week to submit questions for this chat!

 

NASBHC Convention Call for Abstracts!
The 2009 convention marks the fourteenth annual convention of the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care. The convention theme will be: "School-Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity".  NASBHC invites you to share your expertise, best practices, resources, and tools with school-based health care professionals at the 2009 Convention, June 24-27, to be held at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida.  Click here to submit an abstract. [Deadline: October 24, 2008]

 

Education Commission of the States Call for 2009 Awards Nominations
Each year the Education Commission of the States (ECS) presents awards to individuals, states and organizations that have made significant contributions to public education. This year's awards will be presented at the 2009 National Forum on Education Policy in Nashville, Tennessee, July 8-10. The deadline for submissions is October 24, 2008. Click here for the nomination form.

43rd Annual NCEA Conference
Join National Community Education Association for their 43rd Annual NCEA Conference and connect with Community Education colleagues and resources from around the country. It will be held in Dallas, TX from November 5 – 8, 2008.


Coalition for Essential Schools Fall Forum 2008

Connect with thousands of K-12 educators, students, parents, and other leading thinkers who are changing lives through learning. Create schools for the 21st century that are personalized, equitable, and intellectually challenging through your life, through your teaching and learning, and through the change that you inspire.

 

PEN 2008 Annual Conference
The conference will take place from November 16-18, 2008, at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, in San Francisco. The conference, which will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the first local education funds, will focus on the education imperative of extending the reach of high quality learning. Click here to register.

 

2008 National Family Week

The Alliance for Children and Families has just announced that National Family Week will be from November 23 – November 29. They hope that you will promote National Family Week to your constituents by posting a news release  on your Web site and including it in other appropriate communications vehicles. Resources and materials for planning observances are available, at no charge, on their web site, www.nationalfamilyweek.org.

 


Pre-k Now National Conference

On December 10th, Pre-K Now National Conference will have a live broadcast at 1 PM ET.  Its live conference broadcast — viewable at hundreds of sites throughout the country — will share new lessons and best practices to help you win high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all children.  For more information go to www.preknow.org.

FUNDING

Coalition Allies and Partners Grant Tracking Systems
For up-to-date funding opportunities, please bookmark our partners’ websites and/or sign up for their newsletters:

JOBS

American Youth Policy Forum – Program Associate
AYPF is seeking to hire a Program Associate to assist in the development of various AYPF learning events and products, including forums, field trips, and publications on a range of education and youth policy issues depending on current grant projects. Projects address middle grades and secondary school reform, dropout prevention and recovery, postsecondary education access and success, and youth employment and workforce development.  Click here for more information.

 

The Rural School and Community Trust - President
The Rural School and Community Trust is seeking an energetic executive as its new President.  Rachel Tompkins, longtime leader and advocate is retiring June 2009.  This national advocacy and professional development organization works with a network of rural schools and community groups.  The successful candidate will be an entrepreneurial individual who has a proven track record of leadership, creativity, vision, and managerial oversight. Click here for more details. Closing date:  October 31, 2008

 

Massachusetts Executive Office of Education (EOE) – Policy Analyst
The Massachusetts EOE is seeking a policy analyst to assist in the development and implementation of the Readiness Project, Governor Deval Patrick’s comprehensive education action agenda for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The analyst will join a small but active policy team working on a broad array of issues, including initiatives in early care and education, P-12 education, higher education, and adult education/lifelong learning. Click here for details.

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Additional Information
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