Community Schools Resolution

Summary: This resolution promotes community schools as a way to improve student achievement by providing services and programs that address out-of-school barriers to learning.

WHEREAS, Every child should be able to grow up and have the opportunity to achieve his or her dreams and contribute to the well-being of society. Every community deserves a public school system that fully delivers on that promise.

WHEREAS, According to the most recent data, XX percent of [CITY’S/COUNTY’S] students, and in some of our schools as much as XX percent, qualify for free or reduced-price lunch—meaning they live in lower-income households. As a result, some students may face more challenges than others in succeeding in school and in life and need additional support.

WHEREAS, Community schools provide comprehensive programs and services that are carefully selected to meet the unique needs of students and families—such as lack of stable housing, inadequate medical and dental care, hunger, trauma, and exposure to violence—so students can reach their full potential.

WHEREAS, Some families cannot afford to provide their children with enrichment opportunities and additional academic support outside of school, community schools play a vital role in ensuring that all students have access to the learning and enrichment opportunities that support their academic and life success.

WHEREAS, According to a report from the Learning Policy Institute, the four key pillars of an evidence-based community schools approach—integrated student supports, expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities, active family and community engagement, and collaborative leadership and practices—promote conditions and practices found in high-quality schools, as well as address out-of-school barriers to learning.

WHEREAS, Research shows that community school interventions can result in improvements in a variety of student outcomes, including attendance, academic achievement (including reducing racial and economic achievement gaps), and high school graduation rates.

WHEREAS, Research also shows that these programs offer a strong return on investment: Up to $15 for every dollar invested in community schools.

WHEREAS, Federal funding can be used to support community schools, and research demonstrates that community schools meet the standard under the Every Student Succeeds Act for “evidence-based” approaches to support schools identified for comprehensive and targeted support and intervention.

WHEREAS, The [CITY/COUNTY] defines a community school as a school that includes each of the following:

(1) Integrated student supports, which address out-of-school barriers to learning through partnerships with social and health service agencies and providers, coordinated by a Community School Director, which may include but are not limited to: medical, dental, vision care and mental health services, or counselors to assist with housing, transportation, nutrition, immigration, or criminal justice issues;

(2) Expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities, including before-school, afterschool, weekend and summer programs, which provide additional academic instruction, individualized academic support, enrichment activities, or learning opportunities that emphasize real-world learning and community problem-solving and which may include, but are not limited to: art, music, drama, creative writing, applied learning experience with engineering or science, tutoring and homework help, and recreational programs that enhance and are consistent with the school’s curriculum;

(3) Active family and community engagement, which brings students’ families and the community into the school as partners in a student’s education and makes the school a neighborhood hub providing adults with educational opportunities they want, including but not limited to: English as a Second Language classes, assistance with immigration issues, computer skills, adult literacy, art, or other programs that bring community members into the building for meetings or events; and

(4) Collaborative leadership and practices, which build a culture of professional learning, collective trust, and shared responsibility using strategies which shall, at a minimum, include a school-based leadership team, a Community School Director, and a communitywide leadership team and may include, but are not limited to: other leadership/governance teams, teacher learning communities, and other staff to manage the multiple, complex joint work of school and community organizations.

WHEREAS, The [CITY/COUNTY] further defines a community school as a school that uses the following mechanisms:

(1) An annual needs and assets assessment of and by both the school and community, including student demographic, academic achievement, school climate, and other relevant school- and community-level information, and a review of needs and assets in the following four areas: integrated student supports, expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities, active family and community engagement, and collaborative leadership and practices;

(2) A community school plan that sets forth how educators, school staff, government agencies, and community partners will use and leverage all available assets to meet specific student and family needs in order to improve opportunities and outcomes for students;

(3) A school-based leadership team that leads the annual needs and assets assessment and develops and oversees implementation of the community school plan. The team shall be comprised of 12 to 15 people with no less than one-third consisting of parents or local residents and no less than one-third consisting of teachers and other school staff, as well as the Principal, Community School Director, representatives of nonprofit organizations that serve the school or community, and, for secondary schools, students at the school; and

(4) A dedicated full-time “Community School Director” at each community school site whose primary responsibilities include leading the needs and assets analysis and facilitating the development and implementation of the community school plan in collaboration with other members of the school-based leadership team.

Now, therefore be it RESOLVED, [CITY/COUNTY] supports the successful implementation of effective community schools as an evidence-based strategy to provide all students with equitable access to a high-quality education and improve student outcomes;

RESOLVED further, That [CITY/COUNTY] will establish the [CITY/COUNTY] Community Schools Task Force to advise and assist staff in the preparation of an action plan to support [XX] schools within the [CITY/COUNTY] to transition to becoming community schools over the next [X] years;

RESOLVED further, That the [CITY/COUNTY] Community Schools Task Force shall include, but not be limited to, the following, or representatives of the following:

  • The Mayor;
  • The City Council;
  • Each school district located within [CITY/COUNTY] (including, as applicable, representatives from the school district’s academic, facilities, student health, and family engagement departments);
  • Relevant [CITY/COUNTY] departments (including, as applicable, the Departments of Education, Children, Health, Housing and Homelessness, Juvenile Services, Youth and Community Development, Libraries, Workforce Development, Early Learning, Parks and Recreation, and Immigrant Affairs);
  • Teachers;
  • School leaders;
  • Students and families;
  • Community members; and
  • System-level partners, including relevant unions, and nonprofit and other community-based partners.

RESOLVED further, That in the course of preparing its action plan, the [CITY/COUNTY] Community Schools Task Force shall also engage extensively and collaborate with interested stakeholders, community members, parents, and students;

RESOLVED further, That the action plan will also include recommendations for:

(1) Sources of federal, state, local, and philanthropic funding that can be used to support community schools throughout [CITY/COUNTY], and an assessment of the additional funding or in-kind services that will be provided to each community school to support its transition to a community school;

(2) Collaboration across the full range of government agencies that create or influence institutional policies and practices across the entire service spectrum, including city, county, housing, health and human services, early care and education, and higher education;

(3) The optimal number of school sites for an initial cohort to undergo a community school transition, and the selection criteria for this initial cohort of community schools;

(4) Where appropriate, a proposal to responsibly scale the number of community schools throughout [CITY/COUNTY];

(5) Mechanisms to ensure school sites are transparent in decision-making processes and accountable to community concerns;

(6) Recommendations for evaluating the impact of [CITY’S/COUNTY’S] community school policy; and, be it finally

RESOLVED, That the staff shall form the [CITY/COUNTY] Community Schools Task Force within [XX DAYS OR MONTHS] of the passage of this resolution and present its findings, action plan, and recommendations to the City Council and the Mayor by [DATE].