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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.

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

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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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IN THE NEWS

Article  Video  Audio
 
-- 2014 --
     
2-12-14 Community Schools at Center of United Way LUNN Initiative in Brighton Park
WTTW's Chicago Tonight aired a segment on the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago's LIVE UNITED Neighborhood Network (LUNN) in Chicago's Brighton Park community. The LUNN model integrates and concentrates education, income and health services in a single community and uses community schools as a primary infrastructure for delivering many critical supports to students and families.
     
-- 2013 --
     
6-21-13 Community Schools: A Model for the Middle Grades
Expanding the number of community schools is no longer a goal that can be left on the periphery of school reform. No academic standards, tests, or school-based interventions will ever be able to completely mitigate the economic, family, medical, and emotional needs that interfere with a student’s learning.
 
6-17-13 Linking Home and Classroom, Oakland Bets on Community Schools

The Atlantic published this article about the Oakland Unified School District, which has adopted a new strategy to retain students in the district: draw them in with a holistic education that brings academic and home life together. 
 

6-6-13 One School, One Year: A look inside Oyler community school
Marketplace on American Public Radio followed a grand experiment in education as it unfolded at Oyler School in Lower Price Hill, a lower-income neighborhood in Cincinnati. The effort hinges on a central question: can a school transform a community battered by poverty and crime by creating a culture of high school graduates almost from scratch? Oyler is part of a growing community school movement built on the idea that the best way to lift kids out of poverty is to give them the services and support they need to succeed in school.
 
6-6-13 President of AFT Expresses Support for Community Schools
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, recently expressed her longtime support of community schools at an event hosted by the
Coalition for Community Schools, an alliance of national, state, and local organizations, schools, and community partners.
 
March, 2013 COMMUNITY SCHOOLS: Aligning Local Resources for Student Success
This brief describes how community school efforts are financed—primarily, how local government agencies partner to align existing resources. Aligning resources means redeploying them—not small or easy decisions to make.
 
-- 2012 --
     
11-15-12 D-427, community agencies partner on education
Highlights the ways in which Sycamore Community School District 427 has made education a "community effort" and the formalizing of a community-level collaboration that connects schools and partners in a systemic way. By connecting with area agencies, schools are able to offer an array of services, like mental health counseling, during the day and extended learning opportunities after school.
 
May/June 2012 Community Schools: A pathway to student success
The cover story of the May/June 2012 edition of American Teacher, a publication of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), is dedicated to community schools and the ways in which they give teachers the support they need to help students excel.
 
5-20-12 Schools and Communities: Stronger Together
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, authored this column for the New York Times which highlights the ways in which community schools address the non-academic factors that often impede student learning.  She also speaks to the impact that community schools can have on the surrounding community - including lowering crime and increasing home values. 
 
4-9-12 Picking up the Pieces of No Child Left Behind
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, authored this essay in which she explains how America should move towards addressing the shortcomings of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  As she puts it, the schools and districts that are getting it right "embrace shared responsibility and collaboration among teachers, administrators, parents, and the community."
 
4-3-12 Finding a better approach to school discipline
This editorial, written by Syda Segovia Taylor, Elev8 Chicago Program Director, promotes Elev8 and the community school model as a way in which we can move away from harsh and inequitable disciplinary policies and instead look to positive behavior supports, conflict resolution and mediation as ways in which schools can adopt fairer and more effective disciplinary policies. 
 
4-4-12 Working to Reduce Violence
Last week in Springfield Senator Kwame Raoul received a compelling visit from four male students from Reavis Elementary School.  They were promoting Elev8, a community school program that engages community partners in the lives of disadvantaged middle school youth through in-school and after-school activities. 
 
3-14-12 Oregon Community Schools Show Staying Power
Much attention is given to the SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods) Community Schools program in Multnomah County, OR - which includes Portland - which have grown to serve more than 19,000 children and youth across six school districts.  Leaders of the SUN Community Schools program identify the development of the SUN program "as an anti-poverty initiative and strategy for providing services" as critical to developing shared leadership and sustainability for the program.
 
3-11-12 Randi Weingarten speaks with Tavis Smiley
Tavis Smiley spoke with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, about the effects of poverty on women and children.  Weingarten spoke of the need for “multifaceted strategies” in education policy that mitigate poverty’s impact on families.  Referencing the community school model, she said "...we also know teachers can’t do it alone.  But when we actually have services wrap-around schools… health services, social services, afterschool services – really help level the playing field for poor kids.” 
 
2-27-12  
 
 
Community Schools: America’s New Village
”It takes a village to raise a child.”  The African proverb, made popular in a book that Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote in the 1990s, is being reflected in America’s growing community schools movement.
 
2-18-12 Oakland's McClymonds High is a full-service school
After school each day, dozens of students at Oakland's McClymonds High School crowd through a generic-looking door and into a space that offers them amenities that are few and far between in their West Oakland neighborhood.
 
2-16-12 Arne Duncan Extended Interview with Jon Stewart
In this unedited, extended interview, Arne Duncan wants to provide greater support for teachers and to open public school facilities to the community.
 
2-7-12 Duncan urges experiments in education
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would like to see reform of the nation’s public educational system, and he urged administrators, educators, politicians, and parents to work together to overcome the nation’s tough educational challenges.
 
2-3-12 Arne Duncan: Fighting the Wrong Education Battles
At the Askwith Forum, “Fighting the Wrong Education Battles,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed either-or orthodoxies about school reform, including competing claims about the importance of in-school and out-of-school influences on student achievement, and the struggle to advance both a well-rounded curriculum and school accountability.
 
2-1-12 Eliminating Childhood Poverty in America
It is up to all of us, working together in our communities, to help families access early education and the critical services -- like health care, nutrition awareness, and others -- that will keep these children on the path to opportunity and future success. One of the most effective ways to do so is by bringing all of these services together under one roof.
 
-- 2010 --
     
12-7-10
 
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Calls for Schools to be Centers of their Communities
Listen to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on PBS Newshour and calling for schools to be the centers of their communities. He called for schools to be community centers, and to work with partners to overcome the obstacles that some children face and that impeded their academic achievement. He said, “if children are hungry, they need to be fed.
 
9-9-10 Peoria Journal Star highlights Garfield Elementary and Bradley University's community school partnership
Large wooden posts for a fence outside Garfield Primary School mark where seeds will be soon sewn.
But the fruit of labor will not be just in the harvest of a new community garden being plotted there. Instead, the plan is to cultivate deeper roots between Peoria's schools and the surrounding neighborhoods.  Large wooden posts for a fence outside Garfield Primary School mark where seeds will be soon sewn.

 
8-16-10 Community Schools Support Immigrant Students, strengthen democracy
Immigration and community-focused schools reflect and strengthen the core values of democracy in America. Both are just and wise investments.  Our country was founded on the principles of freedom and economic and educational opportunities. All immigrant groups have contributed to these ideals.  Yet, history sadly repeats itself as new immigrants face resistance.
 
3-11-10 Chase Elementary School Featured on Chicago’s NBC 5 News
NBC 5 Chicago reports on the state budget cuts, and how they will impact Chase Elementary School and its students, families, and community. The piece features Children's Home + Aid Community School Manager Lilly Leon!
 
2-8-10 Federation for Community Schools Named to Illinois’ Partnership Zone
The Federation for Community Schools in Chicago has been selected to join Illinois’ “Partnership Zone” and to help implement its promising community-involvement model of school improvement for the benefit of the state’s under-performing schools. 
 
1-21-10 City Official Calls for After-School Program Vouchers
If Chicago Family and Support Services Commissioner Mary Ellen Caron gets her way, Chicago’s after-school funding landscape could be turned on its head with money following children, rather than being awarded to programs.
 
1-19-10 Not just an add-on
After-school programs benefit low-income students by providing more time for enrichment activities that, in turn, can boost learning
 
-- 2009 --
     
11-19-09 More time for learning: Necessity of Tangent
From Mayor Daley to Education Secretary Arne Duncan to President Obama, there is a drumbeat to extend the school day and year to keep schools open as community centers, providing more learning times to children and their families. 
 

 
10-8-09 Nine Illinois Community Schools Get State Honor
Nine Illinois community schools will receive the 2009 Dimon Distinguished Community Schools Award at the Illinois Community Schools Forum on Friday, October 9th.
 
8-25-09 HB 684 Signed Into Law
On August 25, 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed House Bill 684 into law, making Illinois the only state in the nation to codify community schools into their state school code.  By institutionalizing the community school model and providing a structure for community school oversight and expansion, Illinois is also poised to answer Secretary Arne Duncan's call for innovation in education and take full advantage of Race to the Top funds.  Thanks to all of our members for their efforts to propel HB 684 through the legislative process!
 
6-1-2009 American Educator dedicated to community Schools
The Summer 2009 issue of the American Federation of Teachers' quarterly magazine, American Educator, focused entirely on community schools.
 
6-25-09 Community Schools: Bringing Together Community Partners to Increase Opportunities for Youth
“Where schools truly become the centers of the community, great things happen.… We need the schools open much longer hours, and we don't have to do this all ourselves…you can bring in great nonprofits, mentoring and tutoring groups to co-locate their services and bolster the community from the school,” he said.
 
4-19-09 Community School Programs Featured in Documentary
Last year, representatives from the Federation for Community Schools selected the district’s Out of School Care and Spartan Responsibility, Education, Achievement, Caring, and Health programs to be featured in a documentary about community programs in Illinois.  The Sycamore School District was one of three districts in the state to have its community school programs…
 
1-13-09 Few Specifics from Education Pick
Arne Duncan, the Chicago schools chief, told the Senate on Tuesday that he would work for “real and meaningful change” in the nation’s schools if confirmed as education secretary and said he hoped President-
elect Barack Obama’s example as a model student could inspire millions of American children.

 
1-12-09 Catalyst analysis of Arne Duncan's initiatives
On Dec. 16, President-elect Barack Obama nominated Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan as U.S. secretary of education. The night before, Catalyst Chicago, an independent news magazine that has covered school reform in Chicago since 1990, posted the first in a series of analyses.
 
-- 2008 --
     
12-19-08 Community Schools are Duncan’s Legacy, Too
I read with interest the first in the Catalyst series about Arne Duncan’s achievements in Chicago, the challenges that remain, and how all of this will play into his work as the Secretary of Education. Today’s installment focused on school reform, but left out one of Mr. Duncan’s major contributions to transforming schools (and communities) in Chicago.
 
12-17-08 Duncan's task: keep the spotlight on education
"Why not walk the streets of Seattle or Houston or Miami after school and round up idle students as a way to bolster support for a longer school day, for community schools that stay open till the evening, or for more partnerships with organizations that provide tutoring or music and art classes?"
 
7-15-08 New Vision for Schools Proposes Broad Role
“Can you imagine a federal law that promoted community schools — schools that serve the neediest children by bringing together under one roof all the services and activities they and their families need?” Ms. Weingarten asked in the speech.
 
-- 2007 --
     
10-1-07 Community Schools Should be Priority
Recently, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan jointly announced an expansion of "community schools" and other coordinated after-school activities as a way of creating safe havens for Chicago's children.
 
10-1-07 Plan to expand community schools
Chicago Public Schools will expand its community schools effort over the next year with an infusion of $7.5 million from CPS and between $700,000 and $800,000 from Chase Bank.
 
9-14-07 Slain student's parent help launch school havens
At the 110 existing community schools in Chicago, parents receive job training, families access on-site medical and dental care and children have the option to take music and art lessons.
 
9-14-07 Parents of slain student join bid to curb violence
In addition to calling for tougher gun laws, Daley said schools will spend $26 million this year to expand or create new programming for after school and weekends -- the times when kids are most at risk, officials said.
 
9-13-07 Schools aim to be havens after classes
In response to a spate of violent student deaths last year, Chicago schools and city officials are expected to launch an anti-violence campaign Thursday that keeps students on school grounds longer.
 
9-1-07 Taking it to the streets
What the Chicago Public Schools needs is a strike—not against it by the teachers union, but for it by everyone who cares about the city’s children and understands the importance of their education.
 
-- 2006 --
     
6-1-06 South Chicago: A school for the community tries to raise math and reading test scores
Principal's vision to make Sullivan 'the educational center in the neighborhood' pays off.
 
5-1-06 Chicago-style reform sells
Steady, personal leadership and targeted improvements are winning increasing private support for the district.  Meanwhile, state funding is barely keeping pace with inflation.
 
-- 2005 --
     
9-1-05 A new vision of 'community schools'
Educators have long known that many Latino students do not complete high school. Still, education models have remained the same. It is imperative that school districts listen to students, teachers and parents and begin to implement new approaches.
 
3-1-05 Thousands go without glasses
CPS is doing more screening, but follow-up is needed to make sure kids get --and wear-- their glasses.
 
3-1-05 Parents, educators offer tips
It takes only one committed person to get the ball rolling toward a student health plan, say those who have done it. To help individuals who want to try, Catalyst sought advice from staff at Chicago Communities in Schools, a non-profit that links schools to free services, and from people who work on Community Schools, a district initiative that pairs schools with non-profits that provide social and academic support to kids and families.
 


For more information about the community school model, its benefits, and/or to visit a community school in your area, please contact Melissa Mitchell.