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October Newsletter 2014

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Vol. XI Issue 7 October 2014

In this Issue

October: National Principals Month

Now is the time to celebrate all the hard work principals do to improve student success! Students succeed in great schools, and great schools have great principals. Visit the National Principals Month website to see what’s happening this month and for ideas to celebrate.


Upcoming Events

The Federation for Community Schools Forum (November 14)

With a special focus on the ways in which community schools mitigate the barriers to learning presented by systemic racial and socioeconomic inequalities, the Federation's 10th Annual Community Schools Forum, Harnessing the Power of Partnership to Promote Equity through Community Schools, will offer attendees the tools, strategies, research, and inspiration to enhance their community school efforts. Whether you're new and seek strategies to help lay a solid foundation upon which to build a quality community school or have been involved in this work for many years and seek ways to reinvigorate and deepen your work, this conference is for you! 



If you are interested in posting a job or sharing an event, please reach out to Heather Naviasky.



Equity Cover3

At the 2014 National Forum, the Coalition delivered a strong message that equity is core to the community school strategy.  In this final Equity Framework and new equity website, the Coalition voices its belief that each and every person should have an equal opportunity to learn and use their talents to climb the ladder of success; and that society must remove the systemic institutional barriers and the mindsets that limit opportunity.

This vision of equity is at the heart of what community schools represent: a place where all members of a community feel they belong, and see themselves as stakeholders in the success of young people and their community.  Community schools have already proven that they offer a powerful framework for creating opportunities for students and helping them navigate barriers so they thrive academically, socially, emotionally and civically.

The Coalition is now taking steps to ensure that equity is fundamental to the work of community schools across the nation and central to the progress of the movement moving forward.

We are collecting stories from leaders, practitioners, and advocates across the field to illustrate the ways community schools are moving an equity agenda.  There is no standard, universal picture of inequity. Just as community schools respond to the particular needs and assets of their communities, equity strategies should also be appropriate to the community’s social, historical, and cultural context.

Community schools have increased access and diminished disparities in areas of food and nutrition, health, college and career access, academic achievement, socio-emotional well-being, effective teaching and learning, funding, and more. Whether placed in a suburban, rural, or urban setting, each community school recognized its unique history and utilized strategic partnerships to counter the status quo of inequality.

We’ve gathered different examples of how equity in community schools can be realized at a school, local, and district level:

  • School - Y.O.U. is ensuring that the community schools in Evanston and Skokie, Illinois are thriving hubs of a unified community by empowering traditionally underrepresented families in local school and community decision-making.
  • District - Oakland Unified School District has made a strong commitment to decreasing disparities in academic achievement, college access, and behavioral and disciplinary rates through its various programs and initiatives, including: Linked Learning, Restorative Justice, and the African American Male Initiative
  • County - The Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Community Schools initiative in Multnomah County, Oregon has recently applied an Equity and Empowerment Lens to its site selection. Their recent research and data strategy identifies high-minority and high-poverty schools and uses their funding to transform these at-risk schools into high-quality, full-service community schools.

The Coalition’s new Equity Website shares these stories and more.  Our goal is to be explicit with the community schools field, and the education reform movement more broadly, that community schools and equity are inextricably linked. The website includes an expanded equity framework, detailing the roles all education stakeholders can play in ensuring fairness and opportunity. Additional tools from the field will also illuminate new understanding and perspectives of the issue at hand. 

As the Coalition continues to gather more stories from the field, the underlying message remains the same:

  • Community schools ensure everybody in the school -- youth, teachers, principals, families, and community partners -- have a voice, work together, and share accountability for student success.
  • Community schools believe in and set high expectations for every child.
  • Community schools build on community strengths and embrace diversity.

With these principles driving our work forward, equity will remain a core element of the community school strategy.

If you would like to share how your school or initiative is intentionally addressing equity issues, please contact Perpetual Baffour, our National Policy Emerson Fellow, at For more information, please visit our new equity page.


CEOSE: Recommendation for a Bold New Initiative for Broadening Participation

The Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE), in its newest report, recommends that the "NSF should implement a bold new initiative, focused on broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM ….” We are especially excited that the report explicitly calls, in effect, for an anchor institutions approach, involving higher education-school-community partnerships as a means for broadening participation for all groups across all levels of schooling. Read More >

PRESS RELEASE: My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge and Community Schools

The Coalition for Community Schools applauds President Obama for his announcement of the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge. We strongly encourage the leaders that make up our network of community school initiatives including mayors, county executives, and community partners to accept the President’s challenge. Already, the executives of over 100 places, many of them cities and counties with robust community school initiatives, have accepted the challenge. Read More >

Video: Kansas City Public Schools Revamps Approach to Early Childhood Education

“Just two years ago, the district was on the verge of losing its federal Head Start grant… since then, the district has worked to reinvent its approach to early childhood education.” Today, almost 700 Head Start students will attend one of two early learning community schools, with embedded social services and community supports” This represents some of the best of what can happen what efforts to provide high quality early learning experiences are connected to the community school vision. Read More >

NYC Vice Mayor Tours CPS Community Learning Centers

The 34 Community Schools in Cincinnati are shining examples of efficient collaboration within previously struggling neighborhoods. These achievements have not gone unnoticed, and are receiving attention this week from NYC Deputy Mayor Buery and UFT President Mulgrew. The pair is in Cincinnati to “glean best practices” from the successful community school initiatives as New York City aims to implement several community school models in the coming years. Read More >

PRESS RELEASE: Nine Federal Full Service Community Schools Awards Announced Among a Pool of 147 Applicants

The U.S. Department of Education today announced the nine awardees of the 2014 Full Service Community Schools grants out of a pool of 147 applications. The high number of applicants despite the small number of awards available proves the continued need and demand for a comprehensive approach to student learning and development that community schools provide. Read More >

Are Community Schools the Key to Fixing Education?

Beginning with a young girl’s community school story, Thomas MacMillan presents the arguments around the current nationwide push for a holistic approach in education. With specific emphasis on the ways in which community schools are a strategy rather than sets of programs, MacMillan presents an introduction to the community schools initiative. Read More >

"Full-Service Schools More Than Places to Learn"

Brooklyn Center Community Schools are highlighted as helping Minnesota students and families to lead healthier and more community-engaged lives. Responding to skeptics, partners explain that the positive impacts of community school initiatives cannot be shown merely through test scores, but also through quality of life for students and their families. Read More >

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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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