While good teachers are critical to student performance, research shows they account for less than 20 percent of academic progress. Considering that in one year, a child only spends 12 percent of their hours in a classroom, this is easily understood. Community schools acknowledge this reality and use an integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement to improve student learning and develop stronger families and healthier communities.

"Evidence is mounting in support of the community school strategy as being one of the best ways to improve outcomes for children, families, schools, and communities."

– Community Schools Research Brief'09

Community schools enable connection, collaboration and creativity. Children and families have an array of supports from community partners at their school. Communities and schools leverage their shared physical and human assets to help kids succeed.

One of the nation's most outstanding community school programs is Cincinnati, OH, a national leader in creating partnerships and leveraging resources. Since instituting the community schools approach, Cincinnati Public Schools became the first urban district in Ohio to receive an "effective" rating andhave increased high school graduation rates to 82 percent. These workshops will give Alabama educators, social service agencies, non-profits and others the opportunity to learn first-hand from key Cincinnati community school leaders.

Since the Cincinnati Public School system adopted a Community Schools model, 4th grade reading scores increased 15 percentage points and math increased by 18 points (2004-05 to 2010-11). During this same time, their graduation rate has gone from 72% to 82%.

Presenters include Darlene Kamine, executive director of the Community Learning Center Institute and one of the program founders; Dr. Marilyn Crumpton, Cincinnati Health Department and coordinator of health programs for CLCI; Annie Bogenschutz, CLCI director of training and development and Jami Luggen, resource coordinator, Oyler School Community Learning Center.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the Community Schools Workshops:

  • What is a Community School?
    A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Community schools offer a personalized curriculum that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone.
  • How do Community Schools Operate?
    Using public schools as hubs, community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of supports and opportunities to children, youth, families and communities.
  • What can Community Schools Accomplish?
    Partners work to achieve these results: Children are ready to enter school; students attend school consistently; students are actively involved in learning and their community; families are increasingly involved with their children's education; schools are engaged with families and communities; students succeed academically; students are healthy - physically, socially, and emotionally; students live and learn in a safe, supportive, and stable environment, and communities are desirable places to live.

    Source: National Coalition for Community Schools

Last Updated: April 4, 2014