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IEL Staff and DC EPFP Alum Publishes Community Schools Report with Brookings

Monday, November 21, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sarah McCann
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Reuben Jacobson (DC EPFP '04-05), Director of the Coalition for Community Schools at IEL, released a new report Community Schools: A Place-Based Approach to Education and Neighborhood Change. The full report was published by Brookings and is available online. 

Executive Summary

The institutions of a neighborhood are vital to its health and economic strength, and public schools are one of the most important shared institutions. They function not only as centers for providing education but also as hubs for communities to organize a range of supports and opportunities for children and their families.

In the growing attention to “place-based” strategies for tackling health and social needs, community schools are commanding attention. Community schools are places where educators, families, nonprofits, businesses, faith-based institutions, and community members form teams and develop partnerships to create the conditions for children to learn and thrive. Such school-based partnerships provide social services and supports, enriching educational opportunities, healthcare, mental health services, adult education, and nutrition programs, with a strong emphasis on equity and making greatest use of the community’s strengths.

Community schools have emerged from America’s long history of exploring schools as community hubs. The number of such schools has grown significantly over the past 10 years, with an estimated 5,000 now in operation. The evidence indicates impacts on attendance, health, school climate, and achievement. But such school-hubs also face challenges that need to be addressed:

  • Sustained and scalable funding is often lacking.
  • Cooperating and sharing control with partners is not easy.
  • “Place” falls on a continuum, requiring any school-hub to be seen as part of a wider network.
  • The research is growing, but is limited, and data are difficult to collect.

As attention to this education and community change reform grows, we will continue to learn more about its impact on schools, families, and communities.

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