What is a community school?
Hannalei is a California Community School grant recipient. A community school is a school that utilizes a “whole child” approach to education. We integrate a focus on academics with health, social services, community development and community engagement. A robust community school includes the following four pillars:
- Integrated student supports,
- Family and community engagement,
- Collaborative leadership and practices for educators and administrators, and
- Extended learning time and opportunities.
Consider joining our Community School Advisory Council.
Community Schools are a place-based strategy for school transformation. Community schools leverage the expertise and resources of the broader community to deliver mental and physical health care, nutrition, social services, and learning supports that meet student and family needs all with the ultimate goal of improved academic achievement. We need your help!
The Four Pillars of Community Schools
· Integrated student supports, which can support student success by meeting their academic, physical, social-emotional, and mental health needs. Statute defines this as including the “coordination of trauma-informed health, mental health, and social services.” Effectively supporting students also requires that students be well known so that they can be well served.
· Family and community engagement, which involves actively tapping the expertise and knowledge of family and community members to serve as true partners in supporting and educating students. Statute defines this as including “home visits, home-school collaboration, [and] culturally responsive community partnerships.” Learning opportunities for family members as well as structures and opportunities for shared leadership are other important elements of authentic family engagement.
· Collaborative leadership and practices for educators and administrators that establish a culture of professional learning, collective trust, and shared responsibility for outcomes in a manner that includes students, families, and community members. Statute defines this as including “professional development to transform school culture and climate that centers on pupil learning and supports mental and behavioral health, trauma-informed care, Social Emotional Learning [and] restorative justice.”
· Extended learning time and opportunities that include academic support, enrichment, and real-world learning opportunities (e.g., internships, project-based learning). Statute refers to these opportunities as both “extended learning” and “expanded learning” and defines them as including “before and after school care and summer programs.” Expanded learning opportunities can also include tutoring and other learning supports during school hours.
These four pillars have served as the basis for California’s community schools. As a comprehensive transformation strategy California’s community schools will implement authentically developed and community driven strategies in all four pillar areas. Moreover, while direct services are critical, the California community schools model is far more than the delivery of integrated student and family supports. The CCSPP Framework also expands these definitional elements to specific strategies that will guide community schools’ implementation. Every district and every school are different, and there will therefore be variation in design and practice, but to be a California Community School, each of the four pillars must be evidenced in implementation and practice.