Stages of Development

Policy & Advocacy

Advocating for policies that promote Community Schools and advance high-quality and equitable education for all students


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  • State policy opportunities discussed
  • Informal inquiries of elected official interests in process

More about Policy: Examples of policies to support Community Schools can be found in chapter 2 of


  • Clear goals set for policy and funding
  • Organized education of elected officials is occurring

Story demonstrating organized education of elected officials:

Every Valentine’s day, the Maryland Coalition for Community Schools celebrates “We Love Community Schools Day”, bringing together Maryland’s Community School champions to create awareness around the impact of Community Schools. 

Since 2016, this yearly event has engaged Community School Coordinators and staff, students and families, and community partners in sharing their Community School stories with Legislators.

A lunch hosted by the Maryland Coalition for Community Schools gives Legislators and Community School Coordinators the opportunity to share a meal and conversation. “We Love Community Schools” swag is shared at the event, along with promotional materials describing Maryland’s Community Schools. Students from Community Schools make valentines that are shared at the event and delivered to those Legislators unable to attend.

“We Love Community Schools Day” has had excellent participation from Maryland’s legislators, helping create bipartisan support for Community Schools in Maryland. The event has created momentum for Maryland’s Coalition for Community Schools, helping increase statewide awareness and advance Community Schools related policy.

For more information, please contact the Maryland Coalition for Community Schools at

a table adorned with valentines-day themed goody bags with artwork depicting why students love their community school


  • Consensus on state policy agenda, informed by various local and state partners, is established among partners and local communities
  • Key outcome measures and goals are identified
  • Annual organized grassroots advocacy strategy is in action
  • Elected official champions are identified

Story demonstrating annual organized grassroots advocacy in action:

The Indiana Community Schools Network launched at the 2014 national Community Schools Conference hosted by IEL/Coalition for Community Schools. During a state breakout session, about 50 of Indiana’s Community School supporter attendees contemplated a shared vision of transforming Indiana’s schools into Community Schools through a statewide coalition.

In 2015, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) launched a Family, School and Neighborhood Engagement division within the Office of Community Engagement. This division committed to continuing the conversation that began at the 2014 national conference, and asked Jim Grim, its newly hired Director of University/Community School Partnerships, to convene the previous participants and interested others. 

A luncheon transpired to rekindle the conversation and excitement. At the luncheon, a consensus was reached to create the Indiana Community Schools Network (ICSN) that would focus on communication and networking, sharing best practices and professional development, and advocacy. Jim Grim agreed to continue to facilitate the network. Later, co-chairs were selected to lead ICSN, a monthly newsletter was developed, and social media pages launched including @IND_CSN.

About five years into the network’s existence, policy efforts began. The ICSN hosted a Policymakers’ Town Hall that featured Indiana examples of Community School initiatives. Attending the town hall were state lawmakers, a University president, local government officials, and other important community leaders. Following the town hall, a request was made of the ICSN to draft legislation for potential funding for Community Schools. While this attempt at legislation has not yet been successful, support continues to grow and the ICSN  works toward this goal.

Subsequently, a statewide proclamation passed to support Community Schools. The Proclamation states that all schools in Indiana should be Community Schools, and was initiated at the request of the Senate Education Committee chairperson through a young Senator from the opposite party, a bipartisan effort. Champions for the proclamation included the state teacher’s association, the Rural Education Coalition, CIS of Indiana, ICSN state leadership, and local superintendents, coordinators, and educators. 

Indiana’s network of Community Schools has grown statewide to 215 schools serving 108,396 students and their families. The ICSN continues to work towards state legislation to fund Community School strategies.

For more information, contact

Hadley Moore Vlahogeorge of CIS Indiana and Indiana Community Schools Network Co-Chair, Patricia Weinzapfel of Evansville and Network Co-Chair, Jim Grim of the Network and IUPUI, Shelia Richardson of MSD Lawrence Township, Indianapolis, and LaQuita Maxey of ISTA gather outside the Senate Chamber before the committee hearing, Feb. 24.

Hadley Moore Vlahogeorge, CIS Ind & ICSN Co-Chair; Patricia Weinzapfel, Evansville & ICSN Co-Chair; Jim Grim, ICSN & IUPUI; Shelia Richardson, MSD Lawrence Township; & LaQuita Maxey, ISTA, outside the Senate Chamber before unanimous Community School Resolution 31 passage Feb. 24


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