District Administration December2017 - 32

Community
Coverage

organizations become involved. Most districts hire a community schools coordinator, who may have staff stationed at individual buildings, to oversee programs and
recruit new partners, says Jane Quinn,
director of the National Center for Community Schools, part of the anti-poverty
organization Children's Aid Society.
"A community school is more than
a program," Quinn says. "It's a strategy
for organizing school and community
resources around student success."
The Boise district hired a strategic
partnership coordinator to oversee all initiatives, while each school's coordinator
works at the neighborhood level to find
more partners and to work with families.
District and building administrators
who serve on various community boards
have also enlisted organizations to provide services.
In the Evansville Vanderburgh School
Corporation in Indiana, rising crime,
mental health issues and attendance
emerged as key focuses for community
school programs.

Substantial support

A sampling of services offered by
community school districts:
For students
* Healthcare
* Mental health counseling
* Homework help
* Mentoring
* Improved relations with police
For parents
* English, computer and leadership
classes
* Legal guidance
* Tax preparation
* Community organizing
* Volunteer opportunities
For families
* Housing assistance
* Food pantries
* Clothing

32 December 2017

VIRTUAL BALANCE-Sun Prairie Area School District in Wisconsin works to
maintain students' privacy online while also encouraging them to use social
media as a modern communication tool.

The district, Indiana's third largest,
has deep experience with community
schools, having gone systemwide with its
program after launching the services at a
single Title I school in the 1990s.
"Now, everywhere you look in our
district, community partners are pushing
in and supporting the identified needs of
our kids and families," says Cathy Gray,
the district's associate superintendent of
family, school and community partnerships. Its programs include:
* Crime: District teams with Evansville police, who raise money for mentoring programs including an annual trip to
Disney World.
* Mental health: With suicide a growing concern in the community, counseling services prescreen students for trauma.
* Site councils: Each of the district's
30-plus community schools has a council-comprising district administrators
and representatives of approximately 70
community organizations-that meets
monthly to add or adjust programs.
At the district's alternative high
school, the site council and the principal

launched a nursing certification program
after realizing students were skipping
class because they hadn't been engaged
by their courses. Several of the students
who have completed the program now
work at nursing homes that may eventually pay for these students to attain more
advanced degrees.
"The certifications give them the
immediate gratification that motivates
them to get their diploma," Gray says.
'More work, but it's worth it'
Funding for community schools comes in
a variety of forms. In Evansville Vanderburgh, the key to winning and sustaining
the grants that fund the programs is constant evaluation.
The district and its partners have
found that students who regularly attend
after-school programs have better grades.
"As a result of those evaluations, we've
been able to secure federal grants to grow
and support this work," she says.
In Albuquerque Public Schools in
New Mexico, partners-such as the city
and county governments, the University
District Administration



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