"Community Schools" Concept Gaining Ground

Last Updated: April 27, 2014

This article appeared in the April 2014 Rural Policy Matters.

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The Coalition for Community School’s 2014 National Forum was its largest yet. Held earlier this month in Cincinnati, “Community Schools: The Engine of Opportunity,” attracted over 1,400 participants.

Those participants work in preK–16 education, youth development, health and human services, family services and supports, neighborhood and community development, business, organizing, philanthropy, all levels of government, and related fields. They represented 37 states, the District of Columbia, and five countries.

The Coalition for Community Schools (CCS) is an alliance of organizations that work in and promote the community schools concept. Those schools foster collaboration among schools and community partners around a common set of principles including setting high expectations, building on the community’s strengths, sharing accountability for results, and embracing diversity and innovative solutions.

The 2014 National Forum offered more than 135 workshops as well as plenary and networking sessions for participants to learn and share approaches and ideas. The Forum also provided opportunities for participants to visit 17 Community Schools that are part of the Cincinnati Community Learning Center Initiative.

Cincinnati’s work is featured in the recent report, Partnerships, Not Pushouts, A Guide for School Board Members: Community Partnerships for Student Success,” (See RPM coverage of the report here.) Cincinnati also received the 2013 Award for Excellence from the Coalition for Community Schools.

Robert Mahaffey, Vice-Chair of the CSC Steering Committee and Director of Communications at the Rural Trust, participated in the event. “This is a time of growing recognition that the proposition at the heart of community schools — that schools must be centers of the community where educators, families, and community partners work together — is vital to the success of our young people, especially our most vulnerable. Participants left with energy and new networks and ideas to implement and deepen this work in their communities.”

The next CSC National Forum will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2016.

Read more:

Highlights of the 2014 Community Schools National Forum


Coalition for Community Schools website



Read more from the April 2014 Rural Policy Matters.