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Community Schools
in Action

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.

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

You can also view these videos to really see community schools in action!

Community Schools Map

There are nearly 200 community schools in urban, surburban, and rural communities all over Illinois. Click on the interactive map to learn more about community schools in your area.  

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Recap: PARCC Preview Session for Community Schools & Partner Organizations

On January 15, 2015 the Federation partnered with Dr. Barbara Radner from the Polk Bros. Foundation Center for Urban Education at DePaul University to offer the PARCC Preview for Community Schools and Partner Organization. This orientation to PARCC provided partner organizations with an understanding of PARCC and how they can support student achievement on this new standardized assessment.

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Thanks for Joining Us for Our 10th Annual Community Schools Forum!

On November 14, 2014 we held our 10th Annual Community Schools Forum, Harnessing the Power of Partnership to Promote Equity through Community Schools. This year's event brought together nearly 300 community school practitioners - from California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin - who came to learn from each other and from experts in their fields about the ways community schools can and should be equity drivers. Through 30 workshops, a plenary panel, recognition of outstanding community school leaders and opportunities to participate in advocacy efforts, including demonstrating support for community schools on social media, we worked together to enhance and strengthen our collective community school efforts. Thank you to all of our presenters, planners, and supporters for helping to make the day so successful!

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Community School Leaders Honored at Annual Forum

2014 marked an important year for the community schools movement, in Chicago, Illinois, and across the country. In November, the Federation held its 10th annual Community Schools Forum. On this occasion we wanted to recognize and celebrate some of our strongest leaders who have made important and indelible impacts on the community schools movement in Illinois and nationally. Over the years, we've benefited from the leadership of community school trailblazers: innovative leaders who have tirelessly forged a path forward, despite funding and policy challenges, to ensure children and families can access the supports they need to succeed. In 2014 we also saw Illinois' very own Congressman Aaron Schock (R-18) step forward to champion community schools by co-sponsoring the Full-Service Community Schools Act of 2014. And, of course, we once again celebrate the leaders in our communities who, day-in and day-out, play a vital role in shepherding a shared vision of student success amongst all stakeholders.
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In October, the Federation launched its first ever "My Community School is Awesome" Video Contest! We asked community schools to record a short, 2-3 minute video highlighting what makes their community school so awesome!

The rules were simple: HAVE FUN and BE CREATIVE; Keep it to 3 minutes; and, show what makes your community school special.


The videos were posted on our Facebook page so our members could vote on their favorite.

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Three Champaign Elementary Schools to Adopt Community School Model

On September 8 the board of the Unit 4 School District, which serves 9,600 students in Champaign, IL, approved plans to begin implementing the community school model at three elementary schools.

Community and district leaders believe the community school model will enable Champaign schools to fulfill a 2001 consent decree to promote racial equality and excellence in education at schools in the northern zone of Champaign. The decree was reached after federal complaints were filed against the school district.
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Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) Introduces Full Service Community Schools Act of 2014

Rep. Aaron Schock, a Republican representing Illinois' 18th Congressional District (Peoria, Quincy, Bloomington), joined forces with House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) to introduce the Full-Service Community Schools Act of 2014 (HR 5168). The bipartisan bill would create a competitive grant program to expand the number of full-service community schools around the nation.

The introduction of the Full Service Community Schools Act of 2014 in the House is only the beginning of the journey.  With ongoing collaboration from our members at the local and national level, including the Coalition for Community Schools, we encourage every community school supporter to use this action alert to connect with your Representative to urge them to co-sponsor this bill to support the Community Schools Act of 2014.

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Transition to Common Core Presents Challenges - and Opportunities - for Community Schools

Like almost every other state in the country, Illinois is making the shift to Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The new standards are aimed at ensuring that children and young people develop necessary critical thinking, analytical, problem-solving, and learning skills, and are prepared to do increasingly rigorous academic work as their educational careers progress. As schools embark upon the huge task of transitioning to the CCSS, it is absolutely essential that community school partners take every opportunity to support students' mastery of these rigorous requirements during out-of-school time programming, and work to engage parents as partners in the transition.

Community schools and resource coordinators, in particular, have an important role to play in helping schools transition to the CCSS.  With generous support from The Boeing Company, the Federation has partnered with Dr. Barbara Radner from the Polk Bros. Foundation Center for Urban Education at DePaul University to educate our members about the CCSS.

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Decrease Chronic Absenteeism, Boost Student Engagement

Reducing chronic absence takes an entire community, so community schools have a special role to play. High average daily attendance rates often mask chronic absence problems amongst a subset of a school's student body. The first step to increasing attendance is better understanding what school data is telling us and why students are missing so much school so specific interventions can be used to mitigate challenges to attendance.

Chronic Absences & Community Schools
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Oakland Youth Create Animated Video About Community Schools

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. 
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A community school is a public 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.

The Future of Public Education: Community Schools brings to life the different components of a community school, and uses real-life examples to highlight the ways in which community schools throughout Illinois are impacting students, families, and the surrounding communities.
to see this player.