What is a Community School?
A Community School is a public school that combines best educational practices with in-house youth development, health and social services to ensure that children are physically, emotionally and socially prepared to learn. Active, long-term partnerships between school personnel, parents and community agencies are prioritized. Children, youth, families and communities receive a range of support and opportunities before, during and after regular school days, six or seven days a week.
Partners involved in Community Schools work toward these goals:
- Ensure that children are ready to learn once they enter school and every day thereafter.
- Encourage all students to learn and achieve higher standards.
- Prepare young people for adult roles as workers, parents and citizens.
- Involve parents and community members in the school and their own lifelong learning.
- Build families and neighborhoods that are safer, supportive and engaged.
Community Schools increase opportunities for children to succeed in school by providing resources that make a difference:
- Increased parental involvement in children’s education.
- Extra learning opportunities through educational enrichment.
- Consistent access to adult guidance and support.
- Convenient access to health, dental and mental health services.
- In addition, Community Schools address contemporary economic and social realities, including families’ need for safe and affordable childcare.
The Community School concept is an innovative vision of the school's role within the community. Its primary goal is to promote children’s learning and development by expanding educational, health, social and recreation services. They include:
- An extended-day program that offers educational enrichment before school, after school, weekends and summers.
- Medical, dental, mental health and social services.
- A comprehensive parent involvement program
- Early childhood education.
- Adult education.
- Community-wide events.
Brittany Woods Middle School has partnered with Washington University and a number of other local resources to explore and implement the concept of a community school at Brittany Woods. The ELEV8 committee meets regularly to discuss the project and how it would look at Brittany Woods. With the help of Washington University, the school has conducted staff, student and parent surveys to identify the specifics needs of the Brittany Woods community as work continues on this initiative.
For more information, please contact Brittany Woods Middle School at (314) 290-4280.
*Adapted from the Children's Aid Society website: www.childrensaidsociety.org/communityschools/faq.