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U.S. Department of Education Features Community Schools at Recent Events


Federal policymakers continue to take notice of the growing number of places embracing the community schools strategy. Last month, the U.S. Department of Education asked community school leaders in Cincinnati and Grand Rapids, Michigan to present their work at two major Department-sponsored events.

The Department visited Grand Rapids May 14 for a town hall meeting on "the value of community partnerships in helping to propel school improvement."

Ron Koehler, Assistant Superintendent of the Kent Intermediate School District, talked about how Kent School Services Network (KSSN) community schools are providing physical and behavioral health services, human services, and expanded learning opportunities to fifteen schools in six school districts in Kent County. . .and they're seeing results.

Subsequent speakers from different programs even referenced the KSSN presentation. Community schools are truly "smart schools," as KSSN presenters explained.

Leaders from Cincinnati Public Schools' Community Learning Centers Initiative (CLC) held a standing-room only presentations during the U.S. Department of Education's Labor Management Conference.

Cincinnati Community Learning Center leaders talked about the community engagement and the union and teacher buy-in found in CLCs. They were also able to give participants a district-level perspective of implementing a community school strategy.

"We wanted to show people that it isn't just partnerships all over the place," said Annie Bogenschutz, Director of Training and Development with Cincinnati's Community Learning Center Institute and former resource coordinator at the award-winning community school Ethel M. Taylor Elementary. "Partnerships can be so much more."

Just as Grand Rapids showed, Cincinnati echoed the sentiment that community schools are "smart schools." These are the schools that The White House is targeting with their reform efforts.
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