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Newsletter 6.6


A Time to Mobilize!
June 2009 Vol. VI, No. 6

Editor’s Note

Mobilizing students, parents, communities, teachers, and others that are invested in the education of our youth is how we can make a change in our education system. We must all get involved ‘in finding solutions.’ In this June/July edition of Community Schools On-line, you will find a number of compelling stories around mobilizing and making the case for community schools in localities, states, and nationally.

American Educator - Community SchoolsIn our last newsletter, we shared the National Education Association’s (NEA) advertorial in support of community schools. Recently, the American Federation of Teachers’ (AFT) president Randi Weingarten continues to publicly push for community schools, and posted an advertorial in the New York Times, writing, "students need new learning experiences- not a new school with a new name or a new coat of paint." Also, during a recent speech at UFT, she outlined her vision of community schools, ACES - Active Communities Enabling Success. In her most recent support of community schools, Weingarten urges schools to use the stimulus money to fund community schools by using it for extra services outside of education, like health clinics, child care, immigration advice, and teachers.  Most recently, AFT’s Summer ’09 issue of the American Educator  - Surrounded by Support, is devoted to community schools!

Mobilizing creates energy and a momentum that can bring about change that we, NEA, AFT, and other people around the country are demanding. This issue of Community Schools On-line illustrates the power of parents and communities in Los Angeles, CA and Silver Spring, MD.  The election of President Obama is evidence that this collective power creates change.  President Obama has called us to action saying, "Nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change." (Speech, Jan. 8, 2008) Let’s keep his words close to our minds and hearts as we push forward…

In an education reform environment where our children are being left behind– it is critical that schools mobilize their partners, communities, and families by reaching out to local policymakers and making the case for schools as the centers of communities. We MUST work to break down the silos that multiple sectors often unintentionally create – health, youth development, business, CBOs, and local government agencies – making an effort to work together. Mobilizing to coordinate services that are offered to youth, families, and communities across federal, state, and local agencies will ensure that our youth get the education and experience that every young person deserves.

Coalition Update: Report to the Field

  • Lincoln Community Schools Learning Lab…the learning continues
  • Why do Policymaker Support Community Schools?
  • Tap Into Your Civic Energy
  • Community Schools: A Rose By Any Other Name 
  • 100 % of the Class of 2009 of this community school in Indiana Will Go to College
  • A Harlem Miracle, Really?
  • Pedro Noguera challenges Chancellor Klein of New York City
  • Recipe for Success = Student-Friendly Schedule + Community Connections
  • Taking Risks for Transition-Age Youth
  • Principal's Policy Blog: Congress Passes Service Bill with Eye on...
  • Add your voice to the Coalition for Community Schools Blog!
  • Community Schools in Action!                                                           

In the News

Duncan Watchplant1

  • Schools Don’t Belong to You or Me…They Belong to the Community
  • Our Children Need More School Time
  • Getting Rid of the Status Quo

Around the Nation…

  • Schools are the Pillars of the World
  • The Parent Revolution
  • Children are STILL Being Left Behind
  • 'Mindful Parenting' Produces Positive Results for Children

Research and Publications


  • American Educator's most recent issue, Surrounded by Support, spotlights Community Schools!
  • Schools and Communities
  • School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth


  • What’s Helping Philadelphia Students Succeed?
  • Higher Self-Esteem Leads to Better Grades
  • State Education Agencies & Learning Supports: Enhancing School Improvement 
  • Learning Around the Clock
  • Exploring The Links Between Family Strengths and Adolescent Outcomes
  • Students of Color Placed in Crowded Classrooms 
  • Poor Health Affects Learning… duh!

Announcements and Events

  • The Coalition for Community Schools’ National Forum 2010
  • ASCD Whole Child Partner Update

Funding Opportunities

  • Coalition Allies and Partners Grant Tracking Systems
Coalition Update: Report to the Field

Lincoln Community Schools Learning Lab…the learning continues
Catch what you missed during the community schools sessions through these videos and PowerPoints.  Share with your friends and colleagues!
kid brown pantsWhy do Policymaker Support Community Schools?  
This webinar will take you inside the minds of local school and municipal leaders – shedding light around how they are implementing community schools. We were joined by an expert panel including a Mayor, County Chairperson, and a District Superintendent about how and why they chose community schools. How are they bringing their community schools initiative to scale?  What challenges did they encounter? Also, download the PowerPoint used during the webinar.
Tap Into Your Civic Energy
Is your school reaching out to the community? These tough economic times are bringing out the best in the community of Silver Spring, MD. Residents want to help in whatever way the can to improve the lives of the people in their communities. They have already beautified their metro station area and created a community website. Community schools offer an approach to harness the energy of communities and families to not only strengthen the community, but also their schools! 
Community Schools: A Rose By Any Other Name
In an editorial for Youth Today, Jane Quinn, member of the Coalition’s Steering Committee, makes the case for community schools…or whatever you choose to call them. She notes that Secretary Duncan uses various terms to describe community schools - schools as centers of communities, anchors of communities, hearts of communities, etc…however you choose to coin this model, we can all agree on one thing: schools cannot do it alone.


100 % of the Class of 2009 of this community school in Indiana Will Go to College
Washington Community High School in Indianapolis, IN has a lot to be proud of.  All 78 graduates have been accepted into a post-secondary school. Eighty-nine percent of the school's students live in poverty. About a fifth are still learning English. And only 5 percent of adults in their community have ever attended college!
A Harlem Miracle, Really?
David Brooks, an Op-ed columnist from the New York Times, stated that the Promise Academy, a Harlem Children’s Zone school, "eliminated the black-white achievement gap." Brooke’s column elicited commentary from some key figures in education reform, notable Mrs. Alma Powell and Pedro Noguera.  Mrs. Powell says that in addition to working with children in the schools HCZ also uses comprehensive approaches for strengthening student achievement by also working with families and the community.   Noguera notes that HZC is not a miracle and that there are many other schools also succeeding. They are successful because they address social, health and psychological needs of the children and families they serve.

Pedro Noguera challenges Chancellor Klein of New York City
In line with what Secretary Duncan and many others are saying, Pedro Noguera says that student achievement is linked to more than just better teachers. Recently he challenged Chancellor Klein of New York City to visit a Brooklyn public school that addresses the whole child. What did Klein make of his visit? What did he write in his memo to principals? Read more… computerlab
Recipe for Success = Student-Friendly Schedule + Community Connections 
Spry Community Links Mason High in North Lawndale, Chicago, IL, offers a student-friendly schedule and connections to the community. Due to the success of Spry, beginning this summer, Mason High School in North Lawndale will begin a new high school program modeled after Spry. The school aims to foster better connections between the school and outside institutions that can have a positive impact on student achievement.

Taking Risks for Transition-Age Youth
In her latest column, Karen Pittman, from the Forum for Youth Investment,  reflects on conversations between leaders of the juvenile justice and the child welfare systems about their efforts to strengthen supports for young people. The experts agreed that partnerships between community organizations and public systems should be stronger and that youth-focused community-based organizations can and should play a larger role.

all smiles

Principal's Policy Blog: Congress Passes Service Bill with Eye on...
Through a partnership with the Coalition for Community Schools, National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)has been urging federal policymakers to enact legislation that would help schools partner with their communities as part of an integrated effort to address the health, social, emotional, academic, and other elements that factor into students’ preparedness for success in college and the workforce. Continue reading Mr. Ames’ blog…
Add your voice to the Coalition’s Blog!
Click here  ( to hear what Coalition staff, partners, and networks have to say about community schools and the education policy climate as it relates to community schools. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send me an email:!

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: As they say, a picture is worth a 1000 words!

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In the News


Duncan Watch

Schools Don’t Belong to You or Me…They Belong to the Community
Secretary Duncan speaks passionately during a speech at the Brookings Institute, stressing that schools don’t belong to any one person – they belong to the neighborhoods they serve. He argued that keeping school buildings safe and available to students and community groups has to be a priority. View a clip or listen to his speech. 

Our Children Need More School Time
Secretary Arne Duncan reiterates his support for children & families through the idea of "schools as centers of community," during a conversation with Ed Week reporters. Please share with your networks.
Getting Rid of the Status Quo
Over the next 5 years, Secretary Duncan intends to strengthen the nation’s pool of teachers, hire better principals, and close down low-performing schools. Extended learning time is going to be a big part of making sure these efforts are successful. He wants schools to be open 12 to 14 hours a day and become community hubs that support students’ academic achievement. 
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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Around the Nation…

Schools are the Pillars of the World
When you read about Community Schools throughout the nation- you find that they don’t call for more government, rather, they centralize services that already exist in a community. Brooklyn Center schools Superintendent Keith Lester wants to turn his schools into community schools. By providing such services, the kids get taken care of, and parents look increasingly to the schools as pillars of their world, Lester said. Read about what Superintendent Lester is talking about.

The Parent Revolution
Parents are mobilizing in Los Angeles, CA to demand that their schools become public charter schools – or Green Dot Public Schools.  Steve Barr, founder and Chairman of Green Dot Public Schools, is encouraging parents at all schools to join the movement by forming chapters.  If more than half of the parents at a school sign up to be in a parent chapter at the school, Green Dot will guarantee them an excellent school campus within 3 years. Green Dot has a proven track record of successfully serving the highest-need students in Los Angeles.  Learn more…
 homework time
Children are STILL Being Left Behind
Some would say that NCLB has failed in a number of ways. A federal report on student achievement has brought us both good and bad news. The good: Minority students made dramatic gains on standardized tests over the past four decades. The bad: There has been little change in the achievement gap between white and minority students since the 1980s. Read more…
Mindful Parenting' Produces Positive Results for Children
PTA’s Metro Magazine highlights the importance of parents paying attention, being intentional, focusing on the here and now with their youth. This type of engagement allows for deeper, more meaningful connections between parent and child.  Find out  about strategies you can use to create this type of relationship.

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Publications and Research


American Educator's most recent issue, Surrounded by Support, spotlighting Community Schools!
Get your copy now! Contributing authors inluce community school leaders such as: Richard Rothstein, Ira Harkavy, Jane Quinn, Joy Dryfoos, Marty Blank, and more. Collectively, they assert that coordinated partnerships between communities and schools is key to offering services to youth, families, and communities. Email this issue to policymakers, school administrators, colleagues, and your networks!

Schools and Communities
Community organizing for education reform plays an important role in building the civic capacity to create lasting and effective change that comes from a community, rather than to a community. The Annenberg Institute’s most recent issue of the VUE focuses on Schools and Communities.  Share the issue your colleagues and networks!  Information from this issue can also be used to help make the case for community schools as we push forward with our policymakers. Read more…kid blue pants

School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth
In a new publication, the Center for Disease Control argues that families, schools, and communities need to work together to create an environment that facilitates healthy development of children and adolescents.  The study found that school connectedness was found to be the strongest protective factor for both boys and girls to decrease substance use, school absenteeism, early sexual initiation, violence, and risk of unintentional injury (e.g., drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts). Read more about school connectedness and academic achievement…

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What’s Helping Philadelphia Students Succeed?
A report by Research for Action cites "student-centered school community" as an effective organizational practice used by better performing schools.  Student-centered school communities are intentionally designed by adults to create a school community that prioritizes student engagement and students’ needs. They also make sure that students actively participate in this community-building process. Learn more about 5 strategies your school can incorporate to become "student-centered".

Higher Self-Esteem Leads to Better Grades
A study finds that black 7th grade students, who are performing poorly academically, improve their gradeschildren reading (through 8th grade) after performing a series of brief confidence-building writing exercises. It was found that the exercises made no difference for white students, or for black students who were already doing well. Services and programs offered at community schools across the country are helping students build their self-esteem through hands on learning, before/after school activities, and strong relationships with the community.

State Education Agencies & Learning Supports: Enhancing School Improvement 
Any school where a significant number of students are not doing well academically must not only improve its instruction and curriculum, but also must focus on enabling learning through a comprehensive and cohesive approach for addressing barriers to learning and teaching.  This report offers an analysis and recommendations intended to help agency leadership better facilitate how districts and schools fully incorporate development of a comprehensive and cohesive system for addressing barriers to learning into school improvement planning.

Learning Around the Clock mom and kid
This report by American Youth Policy Forum provides evidence that Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) improve academic performance, college and career preparation, social and emotional development, and health and wellness for youth. It highlights the benefits of ELOs for older youth. ELOs encompass a range of programs and activities available to young people that occur beyond regular school hours and include traditional afterschool activities with an academic focus, but also activities such as internships with employers, independent study in alternative settings, classes on college campuses for high school students, and wraparound support services.

Exploring The Links Between Family Strengths and Adolescent Outcomes
A recent Child Trends research brief addresses the need to involve families in the positive development of our youth.  Based on data from 2005, it finds that family strengths are associated with significantly better outcomes for adolescents in both lower-income and higher-income families.   Family strengths include emotional/subjective strengths (such as close and caring parents); behavioral/concrete strengths (for example, parental monitoring and parent involvement); and passive parenting strengths (for instance, positive parental role modeling).  

Students of Color Placed in Crowded Classrooms 
An Educational Testing Service study in 2003 found that students of color, as compared to white students, werepetting zoo less likely to be engaged in rigorous academic course work, taught by certified teachers and live in two-parent homes. Instead, they were more likely to be placed in crowded classes and attend school hungry. Five years later there is very little improvement in these factors which contribute to the achievement gap.  These findings provide more of a reason to implement the community schools model to diminish the learning barriers that students face at school.

Poor Health Affects Learning… duh!
If being healthy in college can get you better grades, then why not pay attention to being healthy during primary and secondary school years? A new study finds that Americans with the least amount of education are the unhealthiest.  Research has shown us that when students come to school healthy they are more attentive and do better in class. Community schools across the country are addressing learning barriers, such as poor health, in an effort to give students an opportunity to do well. Many have school-based health clinics that are open all day and even open to the community. Hmmm …if only more schools could catch on, maybe we would have healthier and globally competitive students.

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Announcements and Events


Save the Date!
The Coalition for Community Schools’ National Forum 2010 - Philadelphia, PA
April 7-9, 2010
Download Flyer
ASCD Whole Child Partner Update
The update showcases a few of the newest partners, ASCD’s most recent work on the initiative, along with debuting their new "Whole Child" blog and podcast!


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

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