Community schools are the center around which the community revolves.   In the community school model, public schools, non-profit organizations and local businesses come together to provide a broad range of programs and services to students and their families in support of comprehensive child development.  Through this approach, community schools create an environment where students and their families can reach their full potential.

Community schools promote a comprehensive and collaborative approach to child development. They strive to elevate learning and to encourage family and community engagement with initiatives that extend beyond traditional after school programs.

The community school model has three distinct features:
  1. Boost academic achievement through educational, social and emotional supports, offering programs and services that remove barriers and provide enhanced opportunities
  2. Comprehensive support of the health and wellness of children and their families through medical support, counseling services, and youth and community development programs
  3. Parental and community engagement, including an active role in decision-making through shared leadership

Various partner organizations and an on-site resource coordinator bring these many elements together to create an optimal learning environment and a strong, vibrant community.

Check out these community school profiles to learn more about the powerful community school work of one district and two schools in Illinois.

The Community School Model
Every community school looks slightly different, because it is developed through mutually beneficial partnerships with students, families, community agencies, businesses, and residents that are unique to that community.  

The community school model is often characterized by these four components:

  1. Partnership between the school and at least one community-based organization; 
  2. Development of an advisory board with broad representation from the community; 
  3. Programs and services that support the whole child and are aligned to classroom learning, and; 
  4. A full-time community school director or coordinator to manage all out-of-school time activities.

The Parthenon
The Federation, through its work, input, and thought leadership, has identified the Community School Parthenon as a way to organize and depict community school work.  Structured into community school programming pillars (ACADEMIC, HEALTH, FAMILY, and COMMUNITY) and implementation foundation bricks (Shared Leadership, Data-driven Decision Making, Broader Opportunities, Leveraged Resources, Integrated Learning, Partnership, Collaboration, and Shared Vision), the Parthenon provides a "road map" for community school transformation. 

Other Resources

Map of the community schools in Illinois.

Community School Developmention

Supporting Research

Community Schools In the News

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