Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Community schools are the schools we need now

Community schools are the schools we need now
To the rescue — The schools we need now are community schools
When the coronavirus struck, the community-school model showed how quickly families and schools needing extra resources could be helped

When America’s schools shut down in mid-March as a result of Covid-19 and transitioned to some form of remote learning, the nation’s community schools responded rapidly.  That’s because these schools already had strong existing relationships with providers of community resources, both public and private.

At least 8,000 American public schools identify as community schools, meaning that they work in well-planned partnerships with local organizations that offer resources like medical, dental and mental health services; before- and after-school programs; and housing and employment assistance to parents. These partners are integrated into the life of the school, both through formal mechanisms and through informal day-to-day contact, which means they can get the right services to the right students at the right time.

City Connects, an organization that integrates student support services in more than 150 urban schools, saw the coronavirus pandemic highlight its value.  

“Having a systemic and systematic strategy for supporting every student made a huge difference when Covid closed the curtain,” said Mary Walsh, executive director of City Connects, an organization based at Boston College. “We were able to avoid ‘random acts of student support’ and to ensure that every student had their needs met and their strengths supported.” CONTINUE READING: Community schools are the schools we need now