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What Is A "Community School "

Children playing with liquid chalk during summer program
Community Schools Forward Graphic

Our community needs are greater than any single agency or school district can handle.


Issues of poverty, trauma, and transience create hardships that students and their families find extremely difficult to overcome. Students cannot learn and grow if their most basic needs – food, shelter, and personal safety – are not being met. A school cannot even begin to teach skills and academics until our students and families are taken care of. It is unrealistic to expect a school – any school – to provide for every need facing our communities.

Community Schools start with the idea that a school cannot be all things to all people. Services to assist families in overcoming their challenges are available throughout our communities. Literacy, mentoring, tutoring, food pantries, mental health services, physical health services, legal services, and financial guidance (to name a few) are offered by many agencies and organizations. A school cannot, and should not, recreate and duplicate these services. Doing so is beyond their abilities, skill sets, and finite resources.

A community school partners with service providers, welcoming them and weaving them into the fabric of the students’, families’, and community’s daily lives.

The Community Schools strategy is person-centered and place-based.

The Community Schools strategy is person-centered and place-based.

The winning strategy starts by determining the individual’s unique needs and then connecting that individual with the best resources to address that need. The school, the student, and the student’s family are all integral parts of this formula, and no two community schools will look the same.

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