ERIC Number: ED499103
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-May
Reference Count: 187
Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools
Blank, Martin J.; Melaville, Atelia; Shah, Bela P.
Coalition for Community Schools
Through this report, the Coalition for Community Schools, an alliance of more than 160 national, state, and local organizations, makes the case that community schools offer a practical and effective strategy for educating all children to their full potential. It outlines the advantages of community schools and the conditions for learning that these advantages create. It reviews the research on which these conditions are based and illustrates the extent to which community schools make a difference to students, schools, families, and communities. This report adds significantly to the knowledge base by gathering in one place the research on which community schools are based and current evaluation data that show their effects. The report divides into five chapters. Chapter 1 discusses the unique advantages that set community schools apart from traditional schools and make them a better choice for students. Community schools have the capacity to: (1) garner additional resources and lessen the demands on school staff; (2) provide and nonacademic competencies; and (3) create social capital by building networks and relationships to support students, families and communities. Chapter 1 also presents snapshots of how community schools are making the difference locally. Chapter 2 establishes five essential conditions for learning that are possible because of community schools' unique advantages. It presents the major research findings from various fields on which each condition is based. These conditions are clearly linked to attaining better learning and related outcomes for children and youth, as well as to strengthening families and communities. This chapter describes the general approach community schools use to fulfill each condition and includes a specific example from an individual school. Chapter 3, the centerpiece of this report, presents a review of 20 current evaluations of community school initiatives. Data from these evaluations show the positive impact community schools have on students, schools, families, and communities. Chapter 4 moves from research to practice. It outlines four key elements that drive local efforts to create and sustain community schools: A motivating vision, connected learning experiences, community partnerships, and strategic organization and financing. This chapter demonstrates the alignment among these four elements and the qualities that make a community school better. Vignettes of community schools show these elements in practice. Finally, Chapter 5 offers an action agenda for the multiple stakeholders who must work together to promote community schools locally. This agenda builds on the elements, identified in Chapter 4, that drive local community school efforts. Appended are: (1) Community School Profiles and Narrative Overviews; (2) Community School Evaluations: Description, Design and Findings; (3) Additional Resources; (4) National and Local Community School Networks; and (5) Coalition for Community Schools Partners.
Descriptors: Traditional Schools, Community Schools, Profiles, Social Capital, School Community Relationship, Holistic Approach, Educational Strategies, Outcomes of Education, Academic Achievement, Partnerships in Education
Coalition for Community Schools. 4455 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 310, Washington, DC 20008. Tel: 202-822-8405; Fax: 202-872-4050; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.communityschools.org
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Sponsor: KnowledgeWorks Foundation, Cincinnati, OH.; Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City, MO.; Nellie Mae Foundation, Braintree, MA.; Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.; Polk Bros. Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: Coalition for Community Schools, Washington, DC.