Community Schools (National Final)

Community Schools (National Final)

December 2, 2019 3 By Stanley Isaacs


All children are filled with light, fire,
and wonder. Every child needs nurturing and care for their
light to shine, their fire to burn, and their sense of wonder to expand. But right now, our nation remains divided
by predictable patterns, high rates of violence, and a lack of connection. And in the middle
of it all, our students are falling through the cracks. Too often, kids come to school in a state
that interferes with learning, carrying the baggage of fear, hunger, physical pain, and
psychological distress. They don’t have opportunities to play and learn after school and in the
summer, and college seems like a far away dream. It’s only by coming together as a community
that we can create thriving students who will climb to meet their full potential. That’s going to take work. It’s going to take
a change in mindset. We must break the system built on division and build in its place a
new model that connects individuals, families, neighborhoods, schools and other institutions
together with the understanding that our fates are linked. This country can only reach its potential
if we help our children develop the skills required for success in school, career, and
life. The goal is thriving students. The vision is community schools. Community schools are welcoming, fun, and
attractive spaces for students and families to use before, during, and after the school
day. In this approach, the school acts as the hub of the community, working with public
and private partners to serve children, their families, and their neighborhood. Youth development opportunities, health and
social services are not seen as extra or complementary– they are integrated into the fabric of the
school as an essential part of its DNA. Every community school responds to local needs,
but all community schools: -Provide a safe healthy and supportive environment
for students -Collaborate with community partners to enhance
learning and create enriching opportunities for students -Develop the knowledge and skills needed for
students to succeed in college, career, and life. More and more schools and communities across
the country are working toward the day when every school is a community school, providing
every child with high-quality instruction with a focus on college and career, expanded
learning opportunities beyond the school day, health, nutrition, and physical education,
and strong family and community engagement. That includes access to crucial support systems
such as housing, language learning, and employment. The road is long, and the work is hard, but
it’s the most important work there is. Please join us as we work to create a nation full
of community schools and thriving students.