Community Schools Initiative
A New Education and Community Initiative
The Champaign Unit 4 School District launched a Full Service Community School Initiative in 2016-2017 with the goal of gradually transforming all schools in the district into Community Schools. The district has identified Booker T. Washington, Garden Hills and Stratton Elementary Schools as the pilot sites for the Community Schools Initiative. Other school districts across the country have shown how the Community Schools model can be effective in better meeting the needs of students and families and promoting student success, healthy and prosperous families and a healthy community.
What is a Full Service Community School?
Community Schools bring a variety of services and resources to communities, including: health services, counseling, tutoring, after school programs, mentoring, and exposure to college and career opportunities. In a Community School, the school district, city, county, community and faith based organizations, businesses, teachers, families and philanthropists form a strong, deep and open partnership. They work together to meet the identified needs of students, families and communities in a way that is well organized and responsible for results. All of these stakeholders share leadership as they work toward a positive vision for the students and families in the Community Schools.
Why Full Service Community Schools?
Community Schools have demonstrated effectiveness in assisting students and their families to be more successful. They enhance the health of communities and neighborhoods. Communities in Schools (CIS), the largest nationwide model of Community Schools, reports "schools that fully implement the CIS Model of integrated students services have higher percentages of students achieving math and reading proficiency than students in other schools." Community Schools have also been proven to make a positive impact at the local level. In Tukwila, WA the Community Schools Collaboration’s middle and high school students demonstrated increased graduation rates while decreasing absenteeism and dropout rates. In San Mateo County, CA, parents’ skills and capacity to support their children’s academic success improved significantly when the Community Schools model was implemented. Community Schools’ methods are transforming schools across the nation by bringing together cities, counties, school districts, community-based and faith-based service organizations, higher education and business to improve students’ and families’ chances of success in a coordinated and systematic way.
- Enrichment and skill building activities for students during the regular day and in Out-of-School Time (OST)
- Family engagement activities, including parental involvement, parent leadership, family literacy, and parent education programs
- mentoring and other youth development programs
- Community service, service-learning, and community-based learning opportunities
- Assistance for students who have been chronically absent, truant, suspended, or expelled
- Restorative justice programs
- Job training and career counseling services
- Nutrition services and physical activities
- Primary health and dental care
- Social services and behavioral counseling
- Mental health services
- Workforce investment and adult education, including Englash as a Second Language (ESL)
- Community building activities
- Support public safety