Community Schools can trace their roots back 100 years or more and were developed based on the idea that the school and the community are closely connected. Community Schools are a research-based strategy for helping students succeed academically and in life. Community Schools focus on addressing social issues, increasing student achievement and narrowing the achievement gap. Services provided go beyond health, mental health and dental clinics, extended school hours and counseling. A Community School may not be able to bring all services into a school building but they usually have resources in the community to obtain the necessary services.
Community Schools are about building relationships. Community Schools serve as a hub that strengthens neighborhoods, families, students and the community to address the inequities facing our students and their families and to help improve student achievement. There is a direct link between success in school and the school environment in which student learning takes place. Students are more likely to achieve their full potential in schools that have a positive school culture and one in which students feel safe and supported.
Full-service Community Schools offer a full academic program and accessibility to health, mental health and social services at the school, sometimes called wrap-around services. They focus on partnerships between a school and its community to improve the lives of students and to support and strengthen the community.
A Community School is not a three year grant strategy. A Community School is not a program within the school that may have a short shelf life; the entire school is a Community School. Sustainability planning activities should be specified from the onset of developing a comprehensive and strategic long-term plan for a community school.