Issues 2016: Community Schools

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Community Schools
House Bill 1139: SUPPORT

In recent years, the Community Schools strategy has proved to be so effective that some states—most notably Kentucky—have adopted and implemented this strategy state-wide as a means of producing more efficient and effective schools. Maryland currently operates 65 community schools, 52 in Baltimore and 13 in Montgomery County. Community Schools have proved to be particularly effective in areas of concentrated poverty, conditions which constitute a significant barrier to student success. AFT-Maryland supports the adoption of a community schools strategy in Maryland.

The term “Community School” describes both a physical location and the relationship between a school and other agencies and resources located within a community. A Community School develops a series of strategic partnerships with health care providers, social service agencies, employment counselors, local businesses, and other community agencies and organizations to offer an integrated approach to learning that promotes student achievement and a positive learning environment.

At the same time, a Community School provides essential support services to the families of students. Thus, the Community School becomes a neighborhood resource and a center for the distribution of information and the provision of services provided through the school and directly to the surrounding community.

A Community School maintains a core focus on a student’s education, while understanding that families are an integral part of the community the school serves. The Community School uses this integrated strategy to enhance academic performance and student well-being through cultural enrichment, health and social service supports, family engagement, and community development.

The goals of the Community School are anchored by the work of a full-time Site Coordinator who develops relationships with businesses and other community resources and encourages such resources to establish a working partnership with the Community School. Thus the community school provides a base for parent and community advocacy on behalf of students. In doing so the community school produces a more viable and vibrant community, one in which parents are engaged and student performance is enhanced.

AFT-Maryland has secured the support of Delegate Mary Washington to introduce House Bill 1139 for the purpose of increasing the use of the Community School Strategy throughout the state of Maryland.

 

AFT-Maryland Legislative Issues 2016
For more information, contact Terence Cooper, Director of Legislative Affairs, AFT-Maryland, tcooper@aftmd.org, or Todd Reynolds, Political Coordinator, treynolds@aftmd.org.