Promising Practices to Follow for Community School State Coalitions

Maine Coalition of Community Schools: Building a Visioning Day

Written by Joline Collins

Target Audience: State and Initiative Leaders

On August 7, 2023 the Maine Coalition of Community Schools and the Maine Department of Education organized a one-of-a-kind statewide Visioning Day in Augusta, Maine. Facilitated by Charley Martin-Berry and Julie Redding from the Community Caring Collaborative of Washington County, over 50 participants representing various sectors, institutions, and organizations, gathered to co-create a shared vision and plan to advance Community Schools in Maine.

As outlined in the Building a Community Schools System Guide, once an initiative has convened innovators, assessed readiness, and compiled a rationale for Community Schools, it’s important to engage the larger community to co-create a shared vision and identify core values. By doing so, the initiative begins to build trusting relationships and cultivate the buy-in necessary for scale and sustainability.

While Maine has three state-recognized[1] Community Schools, as authorized and established by Title 20A MRSA Chapter 333, when an internal scan of those organizing in a similar way or who share a similar vision and values was conducted, multiple models emerged.  Those models were then identified as critical partners.

While there are many ways to co-create a vision, Maine’s approach and structure of their Visioning Day is one that can be replicated by other states. Essential elements consisted of:

  • Grounding & Context: Share common language on what Community Schools are.
  • Ice Breaker: Introduce participants and to uplift assets within the community.
  • Large Group Visioning: Share thoughts and ideas on how Community Schools can help students, families, communities reach their full potential.
  • Poster Session: Highlight work of existing Community Schools and an opportunity to learn more about the Coordinators role.
  • Panel Discussion: Highlight other existing collaboratives and entry points into the work.
  • Reflection: Make meaning of information shared and how it can be applied to participants work.
  • Small Group Breakouts: Identify assets and root causes to barriers.
  • Action Steps: Gather consensus on next steps.
[1] Maine celebrates that many schools have Community School designations in its title, however, at this time, only 3 receive state funded dollars to support implementation.


If schools and communities are working in partnership to support kids and families, what would it look like in Maine?

Click the link below for a more detailed break-down of the convening for those looking to replicate.

Maine’s Visioning Day