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Newsletter 5.7

 

Full Service Community Schools Program Gets Going

April 2, 2008 Vol. V, No. 7

In This Issue

Coalition Update: Report to the Field
Special Briefing on Full Service Community Schools
Full Service Community Schools Program Gets Going
National Forum Early Bird Deadline Extended: Only Two Days Left!!

Register Now

In the News
Tour of Scandinavia offers US Educators Valuable Insight
New take on Educational Philanthropy
St. Louis School Closing "takes the heart" out of Neighborhood

Research, Publications, and Tools
New Broad Goals Proposed for School Systems
New book about Business Leaders’ roles in Community Change
Afterschool Investments Project offers new resources
College Access and Success for former dropouts

Events and Opportunities
Healthy People 2020 Regional meetings

Coalition Update: Report to the Field

In response to The Department of Education has issued the grant announcement for the Full Service Community Schools program The Coalition for Community Schools hosted a telephone briefing on Full Service Community Schools on Thursday, March 27. There were close to 200 participants on the call.The briefing shared information about the Full Service Community Schools strategy for individuals and organizations who are considering applications for the Full Service Community Schools grant program which is now available from the Department of Education.  You can access the full briefing recording at our website: www.communityschools.org. The briefing panelists included:

  • Marty Blank, Coalition for Community Schools
  • Jane Quinn, National Community Schools TA Center, Children’s Aid Society
  • Joann Weeks, Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania
  • Bob Seidel, Communities in Schools

This briefing was not meant to address specific questions related to the Department’s Request for Proposals and was not sanctioned by the Department.  Rather it served as an opportunity for experts in the field to share their knowledge and experience with potential applicants.  Grant applications are due April 15, 2008. A total of $4.9 Million is available for awards ranging from $75,000-$500,000. The estimated average size of awards is $415,000, and the maximum award is $500,000 per year. 

Full Service Community Schools Program Gets Going
You could feel the excitement in the room at the Department of Education’s briefing about community schools last week. More than 200 people were present and 400 phone lines connected lots more people. The words "Full Service Community Schools" stood out in sharp relief on the LCD panels in the room. The occasion was an affirmation of what we have accomplished together in the past 10 years and how much more we have to do.

Of course this first installment of nearly $5 million is only a start. But it does do several important things for our movement. Most importantly, it gives significant new visibility to our vision and at the national and state policy levels; on Capitol Hill and in state education agencies, there is a new conversation about Full Service Community Schools.

The funding also provides an opportunity for local advocates to talk with leaders about how community schools bring together our school and communities and help students succeed. Whether your school or communities decide to submit a proposal, we encourage you to discuss the possibility with local leaders to educate them about community schools.

And finally it is an opportunity for educating your Senators or members of Congress. Please let them know about your local commitment to the community school strategy when you submit your proposal and even if you decide not to compete.

Together we can and will move our agenda forward. See you at the National Forum in Portland

Marty Bank

 

National Forum Early Bird Deadline Extended: Only Two Days Left

The excitement about our National Forum in Portland is growing! Folks have been putting together their teams and registration increases daily. A number of people have asked us to extend our early bird registration deadline and we listen to our constituency. So you now have until Friday, April 4. Register at the national forum website.

Lots of excitement for the conference has been stirred up by our promotional video. Click here to view our video, and be sure to share it with friends and colleagues.

We are pleased to announce THREE additional hotels that are now available to be booked for the National Forum:

Heathman Hotel
1001 SW Broadway @ Salmon
Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503)-241-4100

The conference rate is $169. Rooms are available from April 29-May 2. You must call to make a reservation at the Heathman. You can check out their website at http://www.heathmanhotel.com/.


Hotel Lucia
400 SW Broadway
Portland, Oregon, 97205
Phone: 877-225-1717

The conference rate is $155. Rooms are available from April 29-May 2. You must call to make a reservation at the Hotel Lucia. You can check out their website at http://www.hotellucia.com/.


The Paramount Hotel
808 S.W. Taylor Street
Portland, Oregon 97205
Phone (503) 223-9900

The conference rate is $149. Rooms are available from April 29-May 2. You must call to make a reservation at the Paramount. You can check out their website by clicking here.


The Portland Hilton and Executive Tower has extended your room rate until April 4th! Reservations are available from April 30-May 2. They no longer have space available on Tuesday, April 29. The conference rate is $149. Reservations can be made by clicking here, or by calling the hotel at 503-226-1611.

Don't forget to sign up for the Portland Spirit Dinner and Cruise. Check out the cruise flyer and share the excitement with your colleagues who will be joining you in Portland. You can register for the cruise separately from your reservation. Limited to the first 300 people

 

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In the News

Tour of Scandinavia offers US Educators Valuable Insight

A delegation from the Consortium for School Networking recently visited three Scandinavian countries: Denmark, Finland and Sweden. All three countries scored extremely high on the Program for International Student Assessment, with Finland’s students scoring the highest in both math and science.

Visitors found many contrasts between the US Education system, and the one used in these Scandinavian countries. The various ministers of education attributed their success to autonomy, project-based learning and nationwide broadband internet access. Unlike the United States, these countries do not use competitive grading, standardized testing, or top-down accountability in order to measure success. Instead, they use a model in which students do not start formal schooling until age seven, after they have participated in a comprehensive early-childhood program, which focuses on self-reflection and social behavior, rather than academic learning. Additionally, in order to inspire continuous learning, students are not graded until high school because administrators believe such measures "take the fun out of learning." To read more about the delegation’s visit, click here.

New Takes on Educational Philanthropy

New York Times Magazine editor Paul Tough assembled a panel of five experts involved with education and philanthropy to discuss recent developments in the field. Education is the second leading recipient of charitable donations in the United States (behind religious organizations), and in the last 10 years has seen a new wave of donors, including the Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, and the Tiger Foundation, among others. With these new faces in educational philanthropy came a plethora of new ways in which money can be invested in American education.

Panelists stressed the importance of philanthropists sticking to what they know, which in most cases means business. According to Joel Klein, chancellor of the New York City school system, "They should spend their money the way they made their money, which means investing in great people, testing out new ideas, being tough-minded in evaluating what’s working and what isn’t." The group also discussed the paradigm shift away from philanthropists being worried about inputs (How many students is this affecting?) towards a focus on outputs (What is the increase in graduation rates, test scores, etc?). The panel closed by stressing the importance of the philanthropists’ role in the future of educational reform, with the problems being "too dogmatic" to be solved without outside intervention. To read the full text of this dialogue, click here.

St. Louis School Closing "takes the heart" out of Neighborhood

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently chronicled the strain put on the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of St. Louis, after the district closed Hempstead Elementary. In the last six years, enrollment in St. Louis Public Schools has fallen by 14,000 students, leaving buildings such as Hempstead operating at only 66% of capacity. This, coupled with $13 million budget deficit the city is currently facing, has left numerous schools throughout the district in the same situation as Hempstead.

Steven Bingler, president of the educational planning firm Concordia, Inc., explained that one of the most serious consequences of school closings is the effect they have on student achievement. If students and parents are not able to walk to neighborhood schools, parental involvement erodes and student achievement suffers.

Further criticism of the St. Louis school system can be found in their unwillingness to explore alternative options. In a school like Hempstead, non-profit community organizations could have found their home in the school to help offset operating costs and contribute to other community building initiatives. The remaining facility could then be transformed into a "small school," a concept which has proven useful in urban schools. Instead of leaving the building unoccupied, this would have made Hempstead a community school.  Hempstead Elementary's closing has put a strain on Hamilton Heights.

 

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Research, Publications and Tools

New Broad Goals Proposed for School System

A new paper, Report Card on Comprehensive Equality, pushes back on the idea of a single test determining student outcomes by identifying eight broad goals for the American school system, including basic academic skills, critical thinking and problem solving, and social skills and work ethic, among others. Written by Richard Rothstein and his colleagues, this framework is consistent with the comprehensive view of education advocated by the Coalition.

The report details the performance gap between black and white youths in United States schools. In most cases, this gap is measured by the differences in standardized test scores between whites and blacks, with a particular emphasis on reading and math scores. This report, however, suggests that such a gap can be better understood by focusing on outcomes of educational development, described as the "achievement of adequacy in the eight goals" of students who have been in school long enough "to exhibit the impact of our educational and youth development policies."

The report weighed the eight goal areas according to importance in educational achievement, and found an overall gap between white and black students of 18%.

One telling example of how the community schools model could be used to improve this gap is the differences among blacks and whites in student health, and their mothers’ health. Researchers found that 25% of the black-white achievement gap was associated with these health differences between two groups. These results compelled them to urge policymakers to consider "placing health clinics in schools as a strategy for improving academic achievement." To read the full report, click here.

New book about Business Leaders’ role in Community Change

Bert Berkley, the founder of the Local Investment Commission in Kansas City, a Coalition partner, has written a new book with Peter Economy titled, "Giving Back: Connecting You, Business and Community." The book recalls the story of several businesses which have made significant contributions to their communities. It discusses corporate responsibility to communities, and ways in which anyone in the business community can give back. Additionally, the book provides community schools' advocates tools and ideas on how to approach and engage local business leaders. Berkley draws on his experience as chairman of Tension Envelope Corporation, based in Kansas City. To read more, click here.

Afterschools Investments Project offers new Resources

Afterschool Investments, a technical assistance provider for Child Care and Development Fund grantees, among other state and local leaders, has announced four new resources to assist in afterschool programming development. In support of these efforts, Afterschool Investments released the following reports: "Using Quality Rating Systems to Promote Quality in Afterschool Programs"; "School-Age Children in Regulated Family Child Care Settings"; "Building Professional Development Systems for the Afterschool Field"; and "State Child Care Subsidy Administration Policies for School-Age Children." To learn more about these useful publications, please visit Afterschool Investments Project's website.

College Access and Success for Former Dropouts

The Youth Development Institute (YDI), a Coalition partner, has released a paper detailing the college experience of youth who had formerly dropped out of high school to earn a GED. The report details the results and challenges faced by two organizations, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation and the New York City College of Technology, in their first year efforts to implement a college access and success model for former dropouts. Because the path towards college is considerably more difficult for these students, YDI hopes to instill a sense of self-sufficiency in the youth dropouts and support their efforts to enter four-year colleges, and substantially increase their ability to compete in the labor market. To learn more about the Institute’s efforts, please visit their website.

 

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Events and Opportunities

Healthy People 2020 Regional Meeting Announced

Healthy People 2020 has announced the dates and locations of their 2008 Regional Meetings. The initiative is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts to engage public perspectives when developing a framework for the national health goals for the next decade. Meetings have already begun, and will continue through May 2008 in San Francisco, Fort Worth, Chicago, New York, and Bethesda. Individuals from many diverse sectors are encouraged to participate. Questions can be pre-submitted online, even by those who are unable to attend. To learn more about the meetings, and how to register, or submit questions, please visit the Healthy People website.

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Additional Information
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