A community school is a school that acts as the hub of its community by engaging community resources to help meet student, family, and community needs. Community schools offer a range of on-site programs and services that support the success of students and their families. Every community school looks different bceause each school works to meet the unique needs of its unique students, families, and community members. The fundamental goals -- success for all students and families -- remain the same.
Community School Profiles
Community Schools in Action - Watch these videos to see for yourself!
Map of Community Schools in Illinois
Supporting Research and Evaluations
Community School Profiles
Sycamore Community Unit School District's community school initiative began with an emphasis on providing quality out-of-school time opportunities for students. After almost eight years of development, highlights of the district's community schools work include a coordinated mental health services program, a partnership with Kishwaukee Community Hospital and the CATCH program to improve community health indicators, and one elementary school's efforts to foster meaningful relationships with community agencies in order to provide a network of services for students and families.
Like many schools in Illinois, Sabin Magnet Dual Language School in Chicago has experienced significant leadership and funding changes in recent years. Throughout these changes, Sabin's staff and lead partner Columbia College Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) have cultivated a community school vision, one that has resulted in collaboration amongst staff members to encourage student learning, strategies that bridge the school day and out-of-school time activities, and close monitoring and problem-solving around students' engagement in programs.
Community school work at Mildred I. Lavizzo Elementary School, led by lead partner Metropolitan Family Services, is centered around providing opportunities for students to improve their academic performance and build upon their skills through integrated school day curriculum and out-of-school activities, thoughtful and data-driven decision making to place students in programs best suited to their needs, and close collaboration between school staff and afterschool workers to coordinate resources for students and their families. Along with Lavizzo's development as a community school, the school has experienced dramatic growth in its academic performance over the past four years.
community schools in action look like!
Heads Up Lancaster - The Community School Experience
A Day in the Life of a Community School Student - Featuring Fulton Elementary Fifth grader, Jeffrey Sanchez, from Lancaster, PA.
Animated Video about Community Schools Created by Oakland, CA Youth
This animated video project on the role community schools can play in uplifting children and neighborhoods was created by Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) students in the Media Enterprise Alliance (MEA) journalism and multimedia program sponsored by OUSD's Communications Department and KDOLTV-27. The students were not given a script, but instead created this video based on their lived experience of community schools.
2012 Community Schools Leadership Award Winners
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and United Way of Metro Chicago (UWMC), Chicago, IL
As the fastest-growing neighborhood in Chicago, Brighton Park is home to a large proportion of Latino families. Through their LIVE United Neighborhood Network, the UWMC is investing in Brighton Park to increase the availability and access to education, income and health services to help residents and the community reach its goals. UWMC works in close collaboration with the lead partner, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, which operates social service hubs within three middle schools providing after-school academic programs, tax assistance, health services and more.
Children's Home + Aid
The Children’s Home + Aid Community Schools program provides professional family support services and quality after-school programming to complement the services being provided within at-risk schools. The agency understands that children who feel connected to their families and schools engage in fewer illicit behaviors and perform better academically. Research shows that higher levels of participation in after-school programs lead to better school attendance and higher academic achievement on standardized tests of mathematics, reading and language arts.
The Community Schools program includes physical and mental health services, performing arts and sports enrichment activities and academic support in a holistic program design. These services include tutoring, after-school activities and in-class groups on topics such as conflict resolution for children and behavior management classes for parents.
Evansville School-Community Council, Evansville, IN
In June of 2000, the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation received its first 21st CCLC grants that provided funding over three years to three schools to provide school social work services and institute year-round programs for youth and families during the after-school, weekend, and summer hours. The goals included increased academic achievement of youth through educational enhancement, community services, family intervention, and reduced drug use and violence. Through the continued support of community agencies, after-school programs continue to be sustained and expanded in their schools.
Hillcrest Community School, San Francisco, CA
Hillcrest Community School is a safe, happy multilingual and multicultural school located in southeast San Francisco. Their mission is to engage students to become enthusiastic, lifelong learners who will make positive contributions to their families and their communities. They have a fully developed arts program, as well as an excellent after school program with enrichment opportunities and plenty of academic support. They are full of supportive staff and families who are full of energy and share a vision of providing an academically challenging school experience while also ensuring a consistently caring school climate that validates each for who they are.
YMCA of Metro Chicago, Chicago, IL
At the YMCA of Metro Chicago, they know that low-income children in underserved communities need access to high-quality out-of-school time (OST) programs. That is why the Y’s Community Schools Initiative collaborates with Chicago Public Schools and other organizations to provide high-quality programs and services at partner CPS schools for students in grades K-8. The Community Schools Initiative bridges the traditional boundaries of formal and information learning to improve student academic and social outcomes, empower families and develop strong communities. Learn more about the YMCA's Community Schools Initiative.
Youth Guidance, Chicago, IL
• Building their Social and Emotional Resiliency
• Influencing positive gains in their Academic Engagement & Achievement
• Positively impacting student/teacher/parent perception of School Culture & Climate
• Providing an increased number of opportunities for Parent & Family Engagement