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Newsletter 6.4

 

Teachers Unions Support Community Schools!

April 15, 2009 Vol. VI, No. 4
 
 

Editor’s Note                                    editornote

The Coalition is delighted to announce the support of the National Education Association (NEA) for community schools!  In a recent Washington Post "advertorial", NEA’s President, Dennis Van Roekel, writes how the community schools approach helped Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD make "significant school-wide gains in student achievement." The case of Broad Acres illustrates the value of and need for more community schools.  

Along with NEA, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) also calls for more community schools. AFT President Randi Weingarten called for community schools in her inaugural address (in July 2008) – asking us to "imagine a federal law that promoted community schools" and in AFT’s American Teacher Magazine in Fall 2008. Community schools support teachers in moving youth towards academic success. We know that Secretary Duncan is also excited that community schools now have the support of both major teacher/education unions!

With strong support from a variety of different sectors and as the community schools movement advances with the new Administration, it is crucial to continue stressing the value of community schools locally to your school administrators, teachers, school support personnel, policymakers, local business, nonprofits, etc. We know that so often, policy does not translate locally into practice – this is why we are asking you to help increase awareness around community schools. You can begin by conducting visits to your local community school. It may sound simple – but it really does leave an impression. If you have any stories, news articles, or blogs about community schools – share them with us! Email them to shahs@iel.org. Finally, don’t forget to email this newsletter to at least 10 people!

Headlines

Coalition Update: Report to the Field

  • Editor's Note: The National Education Association Gives Public Support for Community Schools
  • VIDEO: Schools as Centers of Communities
  • Register NOW for the Lincoln Community Schools Learning Laboratory
  • View and Download: "What Does the Federal Stimulus Mean for Community Schools" webinar!
  • NEW Community Schools Training Site: Oklahoma University - Tulsa
  • The Birth of a Neighborhood School in Cincinnati
  • Add your voice and images to the Coalition’s Blog!
  • Got Pictures of Your Community Schools in Action? Send them along today.
  • Visit The Coalition’s YouTube Channel and See Community Schools in Action!

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In the News

 

Research and Tools

  • School - Community Partnerships are the Key to Financing Expanded Learning
  • Innovative Financial Strategies Support Citywide Systems of Out-of-School Time (OST) Programs
  • The Cost of Quality Out-of-School-Time (OST) Programs
  • Expanded Learning Opportunities Support Student Outcomes
  • Community Schools Address Out-of-School Factors   
  • Whole Child Initiative Revealed in ASCD’s New Report
  • Quasi-military Schools Focus on the Whole Child
  • Ensuring Equity of Opportunity
  • NEW Tool! Working Together: School-Family-Community Partnerships

Announcements

 Fifth Eastern Regional Conference on After-School, Baltimore, MD – May 5-6, 2009


Funding Opportunities

Coalition Allies and Partners Grant Tracking Systems

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Coalition Update: Report to the Field

Schools as Centers of Communities
Secretary Duncan's idea of the school as a community center is being picked up by mainstream media. Watch as he outlines his education reform goals, including making schools the hubs of communities during his conversation with Charlie Rose.  I encourage you to share this video with your networks, colleagues, family, and friends!


Register NOW for the Lincoln Community Schools Learning Laboratory
What does it take to become a community school? Learn about what it takes and how in an intensive Learning Laboratory scheduled for April 27th- 29th in Lincoln, NE, for teams from schools and communities that want to adopt a community schools strategy. Access the Learning Lab brochure here.  

Learn How Federal Stimulus Monies Can Help Community Schoolsstudents on playground
As money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act becomes available to states and localities, there are significant opportunities for community schools. This webinar covers how the stimulus package will affect education in general, as well as key components of community schools, including school-based health care and youth development. The Coalition has produced a Stimulus Brief, outlining growth opportunities for community schools through the Department of Education and other federal agencies.

 

NEW Community Schools Training Site at Oklahoma University - Tulsa  
Oklahoma University – Tulsa (OU-Tulsa), in partnership with the  University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, will open its first regional training center on university-assisted community schools. University-assisted community schools are designed to help educate, engage and serve all members of the community in which the schools are located. This partnership will take place at Eugene Field Elementary.  For more information on the UPenn and OU-Tulsa partnership, click here. Also, read the Tulsa World article about Eugene Field Elementary.

 

The Birth of a Neighborhood School in Cincinnati
In Cincinnati, a community revitalizes a failing neighborhood school as they figure out how to integrate a new population. Broad-based involvement brought the community together. "The community owns this school," Darlene Kamine, an attorney turned community organizer, said. "When the principal sent out word that there could be a shortage of books, the gap was filled within hours."

petting zoo
Add your voice to the Coalition’s Blog!

Click here to hear what Coalition staff, partners, and networks have to say about community schools the education policy climate as it relates to community schools. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send me an email: shahs@iel.org !

Got Pictures of Your Community Schools in Action? Send them along today.
Add your mark to the Coalition’s website as we work with a professional firm to redesign it to better serve a growing number of visitors. We want your community school to be featured, so send us pictures of students, teachers, families, parents or community partners in action.  Send jpg electronic images to Shital C. Shah, Research Associate: shahs@iel.org. As they say, a picture is worth a 1000 words!

youtube iconVisit The Coalition’s YouTube Channel
Click here to check out the Coalition’s YouTube channel and view Community Schools in Action!

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In the News

duncanDuncan Watch …

Sec. Duncan Claims Community Schools as Top Education Reform Strategy! 
When asked the question: "What education reforms do you want to see during your administration?", Secretary Duncan says he wants a longer school day, saying that its about, "really trying to redefine fundamentally what it means to be a school...incorporating all of the values and principles around community schools."

Is Secretary Duncan visiting your town? Let us know so that we can be on the watch and include any community schools media that is generated in our next newsletter!

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Stimulus Watch …

stim_watchDuncan Challenges Schools to Think Creatively
If you want to win the money you must be creative. With $5 Billion in the "Race to the Top" fund, Duncan seeks to fuel innovation in schools.  He notes that the status quo should no longer be supported if we want to improve the lives our youth. Additionally, there will be an Innovation Fund of $650 million for partnerships between schools, or schools and nonprofit groups. Click here  to read more.

Will "Race to the Top Funds" create an "Engine of Innovation"?
In May 2009 ED will issue a RFP for the fund, which includes $4.35 billion for states and a $650 million Innovation Fund to reward school districts, nonprofits and other groups that are executing promising programs. This is a great window of opportunity for existing community school initiatives! Read more here...  

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Around the Nation…

around the nation

Community Schools -- Soften the Blow between Education and Assimilation
A recent NY Times article, "Where Education and Assimilation Collide,"  raises the question of how to best serve the needs of immigrant students and families. How can schools strike the balance of meeting the academic and social needs of all of their students? In a "letter to the editor," Richard Negron from The Children's Aid Society cites community schools as the solution. 


President Obama Says All Americans Must Share Responsibility 
President Obama, during a speech at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, noted that economic progress and educational achievement need be to hand in hand. He also stressed the importance of doing "what works." He noted that we are collectively responsible for turning around our schools. Knowing already that community schools DO work, this is a great window of opportunity for the field.  Read the transcript of his speech here and click here to see the video.  

Budget Cuts = No Art or Physical Education
As education budgets are cut across the nation, enrichment classes (i.e. art, music, drama, and physical education) are also feeling the pinch.  As policymakers look for ways to improve and align curricular standards nationwide, they must understand that schools that exhibit continuous student growth have deep and expansive curriculums that have real world application. Unfortunately, these cuts are seen mostly in low performing schools –– taking away from the joy of learning. 

chess

We Can’t Afford to Throw Away Any More Children
Using interventions and hope, Governor Strickland is on his way to closing Ohio’s achievement gap. The last Coalition newsletter highlighted Governor Strickland’s (D-OH) State of the State speech, in which he called for educators, families, and community service providers collaborate to enrich and support academic achievement. The Community Engagement Teams he cited as part of his plan will play a key role in increasing the graduation rate. Additionally, Strickland is allocating $20m initiative to schools with low graduation rates in 13 urban school districts. We think Governor Strickland should go one step further and use the community schools approach to help increase high school graduation rates. Click here to read more.

 

Schools as Centers of Community in South Africa
Al Witten, from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education has worked as a teacher and principal in South Africa, for more than two decades. He knows all to well that students are dealing with poverty, crime, violence, and disease everyday. He believes that by making schools the centers of communities the country can begin to address some of the country’s needs. Witten says, "We need to look much further than just the school walls." Continue reading here

 

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Research and Tools

Research 

NEW REPORT features School - Community Partnerships as the Key to Financing Expanded Learning
The report, Enhancing School Reform Through Expanded Learning, highlights the benefits of integrating expanded learning opportunities into overall school reform. The report argues that by pooling expertise and resources, schools and communities can begin to break down barriers between in-school and out-of-school learning and find new ways to help students succeed in school and beyond.  Read more... children reading
 
Innovative Financial Strategies Support Citywide Systems of Out-of-School Time (OST) Programs  
To successfully support citywide OST systems, municipal and other community stakeholders must look at new, innovative means to strategically finance these activities. This strategy guide, made possible by support from The Wallace Foundation, describes several options that city officials may consider for supporting and sustaining local OST programs.  Options include: creating dedicated, local funding streams; making better use of existing funding streams; maximizing state and federal funding sources; and strengthening collaborative efforts between the school and community partners.
 
The Cost of Quality Out-of-School-Time (OST) Programs
OST programs are expected to be of high enough quality and produce real benefits for children, but until now there has been little information on what such quality programming costs. A new report provides an examination of the costs of 111 diverse, quality OST programs in six cities. It finds that costs vary widely depending on a range of factors from program goals to times of operation and the ages of the children served. To bring these findings to life, Wallace Foundation and the report's research team also created an online "OST cost calculator" on Wallace's website to help users calculate the costs of various options for high-quality OST programs.
 
Expanded Learning Opportunities Support Student Outcomes  
The Harvard Family Research Project investigated the role of after school and summer learning programs in supporting student success. Their paper explores how to bridge the divide between out-of-school time programs and schools by offering research-derived principles for effective expanded learning partnerships. The paper was commissioned by Learning Point Associates and the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems (CBASS) as part of a report on school reform and expanded learning.
  computer lab
Community Schools Address Out-of-School Factors 
The U.S. has set as a national goal the narrowing of the achievement gap between lower income and middle-class students, and that between racial and ethnic groups. However, out-of-school factors (OSFs) such as inequalities in prenatal care, health care, family stress, etc. all play a powerful role in generating existing achievement gaps, and if these factors are not attended to with equal vigor, our national aspirations will be thwarted. By making schools the centers of community – the anchor - we can begin to diminish the effects of OSFs so that our youth can succeed.  Community schools are working across the nation to address OSFs.
 
Whole Child Initiative Revealed in ASCD’s New Report
What does a school and community working together to ensure children are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged actually look like? Over the coming months, ASCD will feature communities that have taken on the five tenets of the Whole Child Initiative. No one school or community will be the model for all or will have all of the answers, but communities across the country are making progress.
 
Quasi-military Schools Focus on the Whole Child
A report from an independent evaluation of the National Guard "Youth ChalleNGe Program", presents early results of an intensive residential program that aims to "reclaim the lives" of young people, ages 16 to 18, who have dropped out of high school. The model employed new approaches for out-of-school youth by addressing the whole child. The report concluded that aspects of the military structure, such as their strong community service mission, could be beneficial for disadvantaged youth. How can promising attributes and approaches like these be applied more widely in public education to aid youngsters who are struggling in school and in life?  Click here to read more about this model and its early results.
 
Ensuring Equity of Opportunity
The severe impact of disproportionate budget cuts related to student and learning supports is causing alarm across the country. It is imperative that we change our schools to meet the needs of students and their families. To make this happen a comprehensive system of learning supports needs to be put in place. Despite recognition that there are several factors that interfere with learning at school, there have been extreme cuts to efforts directly address these matters. It is important to take steps to counter the imbalance in cut-backs. Read more…
 
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Tools
tool kit

NEW Tool! Working Together: School-Family-Community Partnerships
Developed by the Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations at New Mexico Highlands University, this toolkit is designed to support the development of school, family and community partnerships with the ultimate goal of helping all children and youth succeed in school and in life.

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Announcements
announcements
Integrating Practices of After-School, Community Schools, and Mentoring
May 5-6, 2009
Fifth Eastern Regional Conference on After-School
Baltimore Tremont Plaza Hotel-- 222 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
Click here to register!

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Funding Opportunities  

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

Public Education Network: http://www.publiceducation.org/newsblast_grants.asp

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Additional Information
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