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ESSA Commentary from Marty Blank featured in Washington Post

President of IEL publishes commentary: 'Is a new day really dawning with No Child Left Behind’s successor law?'. He explains that the new Every Student Succeeds Act differs significantly from its discredited predecessor, No Child Left Behind, creating opportunity. The post details six concrete changes and why they are promising- including more local control, less standardized testing, comprehensive supports, stakeholder and family engagement, community partnerships and equitable budget reviews. Read More >

Years Into Austin’s Community Schools Experiment, National Policy Catches Up

Allen Weeks presented Austin ISD board members with the community-generated plan for Webb, the result of nine months of meetings with teachers, students and neighbors. It includes a short list of new priorities- stronger college-going culture, more afterschool and summer classes for students, and better communication between school staff, parents and community groups. Community schools remain relevant in Texas where lawmakers added community-based assessments of school performance in 2013. Read More >

Bill to provide funding for Community schools serving students who live in poverty

Baltimore City delegate Mary Washington is calling for the state to spend more money on community schools serving students living in poverty, nearly half of Maryland's public school student population. The bill sets out a $25,000 state grant over four years for qualifying schools. Principal Gaither of Wolfe Street Academy, a community school, says in support, "It's the system that discovers the need and addresses it with partnerships and ideas that are already out there waiting for clients". Read More >

RFA Policy Brief: What does it take to create a successful community school?

As city and state lawmakers debate the shape and scale of future community school initiatives, Research for Action is pleased to provide analysis of the existing research on both comprehensive models and common elements. Community schools are receiving increased attention in Pennsylvania and across the country as policymakers and practitioners strive to address the effects of poverty on academic performance, and provide more comprehensive supports for traditionally-underserved populations. Read More >

Community schools promising, but take effort

ESSA explicitly encourages low-income districts to use Title I funds for integrated student supports and enhanced community partnerships. Variety in implementation and resource levels make consistent evaluation of Community Schools a challenge. Emerging evidence suggests they can make a real difference for traditionally underserved students, especially when the model is carefully implemented and sustained. For success in Pennsylvania, Harrisburg will need to take -and stick to- a very new path. Read More >

An Idea Whose Time Has Come—Community Schools

One of the many positives of the new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, is its inclusion of the Full-Service Community Schools program. AFT President Weingarten calls it a ‘big win’. Momentum for community schools is strong in Texas and across the nation. Legislation to promote the model passed the Texas House and had strong support in the Senate in the 2015 regular session. Local initiative growth and the federal passage will renew energy for state legislation efforts next session. Read More >

West Virginia Board of Education Approves Community Schools Plan For McDowell County Public Schools

The West Virginia Board of Education today unanimously approved a community schools plan for the McDowell County Public Schools, marking one of Reconnecting McDowell’s most significant efforts thus far to improve the education, health and well-being of the county’s students and their families. The American Federation of Teachers played an important role in this work. AFT is a national partner of the Coalition for Community Schools. Read More >

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