Below are some examples of community school systems and national models of community schools that are achieving results for students, families, and communities.
The Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative (TACSI)
was established through the Tulsa Metropolitan Human Services Commission (MHSC) in 2007. It is administered by the Community Service Council of Greater Tulsa (CSC) and guided by a community steering committee which includes leaders from the Union and Tulsa school districts. TACSI operates 18 community schools (31 starting in school year 2011) that serve as centers of community life, offering comprehensive programs, services, and opportunities to students, families, and the neighboring community. TACSI has a strong emphasis on early childhood education, especially transitions, and is a site for the Coalition’s Linkages to Learning project.
Researchers compared 18 TACSI schools to 18 non-TACSI schools found
that students in TACSI schools that had deeply embedded the community school model scored significantly higher than comparable students in non-TACSI schools on math (+32 points) and reading (+19 points) achievement tests. Further, the eighteen TACSI schools had higher ratings of instructional leadership, effective supervisory practices, culture of faculty trust was stronger, Instructional agency, student trust of teachers, school identification among students, parent trust in school, and school outreach than comparison schools.
Redwood City, California
Redwood City 2020 is a collaboration of public and nonprofit organizations in San Mateo County, CA. Formed in 1995, its mission is to maximize partnerships in support of students and families. Among their strategies is the implementation of a community school plan with Redwood City School District serving as the lead agency. The district employs a Director of School – Community Partnerships who works to support four community schools and their coordinators. They are working to expand to two more schools.
Working in partnership with the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities at Stanford University, Redwood City 2020 community schools are seeing results.
- Redwood City community schools are serving the most socioeconomically disadvantaged students;
- The percent of students receiving supports in either extended learning, family engagement, and social support services has increased over time;
- Students who accessed extended learning and family engagement programs reported feeling more supported at their schools, and feeling supported was linked to increases in academic motivation and confidence and, ultimately, achievement;
- 70% of students are receiving one or more supports in the areas mentioned above; and
- Elementary students receiving family engagement supports had higher growth in English language development scores than students not receiving in family engagement supports.
Read the Redwood City study here
Watch a video of the study presentation and panel discussion on community results below.
Communities in Schools (National)
Communities in Schools (CIS)
is a national community school model. CIS is located in more than 181 local CIS initiatives across 25 states and the District of Columbia. It provides a flexible approach/process for states and localities interested in building school-community partnerships. CIS encourages innovation and the sharing of best practices and awards, special grants and nationally leveraged resources to members of its network.
CIS has conducted one of the most rigorous evaluations of community schools to date. Over five years they conducted a number of studies using multiple designs
, including rigorous methods such as quasi-experimental and randomized controlled trials. High-implementing CIS schools outperformed matched non-CIS schools on measures of dropout (.36 effect size) and graduation (.31 effect size) rates. For those students in CIS schools receiving targeted case management, studies demonstrated significant improvements over the control in dropout, retention, academics, attendance, and behavior measures.
In 2007 Hartford’s Mayor and Superintendent convened The Community Partnership, a group of local leaders, to act as the planning body for the development of community schools in Hartford. In 2008, five schools were selected as the first cohort of Hartford Community Schools (HCS). In 2008, the Board of Education adopted a community school policy outlining the model and a framework for implementation. In the spring of 2011, two additional schools are being developed as community schools. Currently, a policy framework is also being established to plan for the development of community partnerships at all district schools.
Despite being a relatively new initiative, HCS is already showing promise in improving academic outcomes
. While participating schools scored lower on the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) in Reading than the average of all Hartford schools in 2009, soon after the community schools started, this pattern was reversed in 2010; HCS schools had a greater percentage of students proficient in reading than the Hartford average in 2010.
is one of many community school models in the Boston area. Originally named Boston Connects, the model tailors interventions for students in collaboration with community partners. City Connects is used in 15 Boston Public Schools and is operated by Boston College in partnership with the school district and 109 community agencies. City Connects, specifically a site-based school site coordinator, works with teachers to develop a customized support plan for every student in the school. Services are tailored based on the level of risk assigned to each student.
A recently published study
that used a quasi-experimental design found significantly higher achievement on mean report card scores for City Connects students over comparison students, with a particularly noticeable and significant effect for ELL students in reading scores. While City Connects is an elementary school program, researchers found significant lag effects in achievement by using students’ middle school Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) scores. Students who participated in City Connects had significantly higher mean ELA and Math scores than comparison students. City Connect also has a significant and positive effect on a student’s work habits and academic effort in the elementary school grades.
Multnomah County, Oregon
In Multnomah County, Oregon, Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN)
transforms schools into community learning centers. They bring together schools, community leaders and agency professionals to plan the best ways to support youth – in education, family involvement, and the community, providing services and making good use of community buildings. SUN uses the following teams to organize their work: an Operating Team consisting of the principal, site manager and lead agency; a Site Partners Team representing all the entities in the school that work with the students; and a Site Advisory Body with broad representation from the school, youth, families and community. SUN is a partnership of Multnomah County, the City of Portland including Children’s Investment Fund, local school districts, the Oregon Department of Human Services, a Business Leader’s Roundtable, and non-profits. SUN has a strong emphasis on early childhood education, especially transitions, and is a site for the Coalition’s Linkages to Learning project (funded by Kellogg).
Data show that students who regularly participated in SUN activities showed strong gains in academics, attendance and behavioral areas. For example, 76% increased state benchmark scores in Reading and Math, the average daily school attendance was 95%, and 74% had a more positive attitude toward school.
Providence, Rhode Island
The Providence Public School district recognized the success of a local Federal Full Service Community School (FSCS) grantee and has decided to scale up the community school strategy district-wide. Superintendent Steven Adamowski said, "The normal day beginning at 8 o’clock and ending at 2:30 is not going to be sufficient for the community and student achievement for our students. We need a structure, a coalition of organizations, to assist what we’re trying to do with the school district because it’s a bigger issue than public education."
The Providence FSCS Initiative will create an easily accessible, comprehensive set of services based in the school. By integrating these services with existing school systems and curriculum, children and families will experience success and maximize learning.
The district started to fully implement the FSCS strategy during the 2010-2011 school year. However, results
from Bailey Elementary School, the first FSCS, are positive. In 2009 Bailey met AYP in both math and reading for the first time in 4 years. In reading, third-graders went from scoring 27 percent proficiency in 2007 to 41 percent in 2009; fourth-graders jumped from 28 percent proficiency to 59 percent during the same period and fifth-graders moved from 12 percent proficiency to 39 percent.