Center for Community Schools
The Center for Community Schools (CCS) is an interdisciplinary center of research, development, consultation, technical assistance, and professional education. CCS provides these services through the development of partnerships between schools and communities while promoting education as a community-wide endeavor. The center is the administrative home and incubator for community education initiatives, demonstration projects and related grants.
The center sees communities as comprehensive sites for PK-adult education, with schools at the heart of social, cultural, health, and economic networks that improve and enrich learning. CCS recognizes that education is not confined to formal schooling but is widespread in community organizations and neighborhoods, and that schools cannot carry out their missions without investing in the community around them and enlisting its help. CCS promotes community schools as educating, empowering and serving all members of the community.
What is a Community School?
According to the Collation for Community Schools (2016), “a community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Community schools offer a personalized curriculum that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone–all day, every day, evenings, and weekends.”
Goals of Community Schools
- Children are ready to enter school
- Students attend school consistently
- Students are actively involved in learning and their community
- Families are increasingly involved with their children's education
- Schools are engaged with families and communities
- Students succeed academically
- Students are healthy - physically, socially, and emotionally
- Students live and learn in a safe, supportive, and stable environment, and communities are desirable places to live.
Connect, Faculty Projects, Executive Council
Get Connected and Involved with the Center for Community Schools
The Center for Community Schools (CCS) is a university and community resource. We are looking for volunteers to help with center projects and programs and to attend our events and take advantage of what we have to offer.
If you want to join our email list to be informed of upcoming events and programs, or would like to volunteer, please contact Claire Crane, 978.542.6019.
You can support the CCS by making your gift online or by mailing your check, made payable to the SSU Foundation/CCS. We are thankful for the generosity of our donors whose thoughtful contributions provide the funding needed to sustain, expand and enhance the programs and resources of the center.
Operating Principles and Goals
- To be positive places of learning, schools should be safe, welcoming places for families and neighbors, and the heart of their communities.
- Academic learning rests on the physical, social- emotional and economic health of children and the strengthof their families and communities.
- The community offers many places for nonformal education, including opportunities for schools to make education broader, more accessible and more meaningful.
- The school/community should determine its needs and the direction of program change.
- Educators and educational leaders should know how to work inter-professionally and across sectors for the benefit of the students in their schools and their caring systems.
- Community schools and community education build shared purpose, goals and responsibility.
- They speak to "big" issues of social justice, compassion, and democratic citizenship.
- To advance knowledge on effective community schools and community education through research, evaluation, and the development and dissemination of models
- To facilitate the Building And sustaining of strong school-community partnerships that benefit students, families and communities in the region, the state and nation.
- To advocate for national, state and local policies that promote community schools and schoolÂ community partnerships as resources for educational excellence and equality
- To prepare educators and allied professionals who understand and practice inter-professional and cross-sector collaboration that supports children, families and communities
Types of Community Schools
Beacon Schools — The Beacon Community Centers were first developed in New York City in the early 1990s to serve as community resources in high-need neighborhoods. The Beacons, which are operated by community-based organizations, are located in select public schools and serve youth and adults in the evenings, on weekends, over holidays and during the summer (LaFleur, Russell, Low & Romash, 2011)
Children’s Aid Society Community Schools — Since 1992, The Children’s Aid Society partners with the New York City Department of Education in 16 community schools, located in Washington Heights, Harlem, the South Bronx and Staten Island. These Community Schools are based on a “developmental triangle,” which calls for a strong instructional program, expanded learning opportunities through enrichment and services designed to remove barriers to students’ learning and healthy development, so that they can thrive academically and socially. The schools offer a comprehensive, integrated approach to education that extends the hours, services and partnerships of traditional public schools. Most Children’s Aid Society schools are open all day and well into the evening, six days per week, year-round. Because students in Children’s Aid community schools receive high quality services inside the schools, they arrive to classes ready to learn, and teachers are able to focus on instruction. Children’s Aid community schools produce better student and teacher attendance, increased grade retention, more appropriate referrals to special education services, improved test scores and higher parent involvement than similar schools.
Community Learning Schools — a community “hub” for programs and services, built around the unique needs of its students and community. A School Advisory Board — composed of parents, school staff, community members, local businesses, and services organizations — helps secure partnerships as well as establish and prioritize the scope of services. A school-based Resource Coordinator manages the ongoing development and coordination of services, and serves as the primary liaison between students, school staff, parents, community members and service partners (Community Schools Coalition, 2013, p. 12)
The Harlem Children’s Zone — The Harlem Children’s Zone network includes in-school, after-school, social-service, health and community-building programs. Components of the HCZ programs include: the Baby College®; allday pre-kindergarten; extended-day and extended-year charter schools; health clinics and community centers for children and adults during after-school, weekend and summer hours; youth violence prevention efforts; social services; and college-admission and retention support (Community Schools Coalition, 2013, p. 12)
Communities in Schools — Communities in Schools has been helping students achieve in school, graduate and go on to bright futures. Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. The story of Communities In Schools began in the 1970s, when Founder Bill Milliken, then a youth advocate in New York City, came up with the idea of bringing community resources inside public schools – where they are accessible, coordinated and accountable. Today, we are the nation’s largest and most effective organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed in life. Our unique model positions site coordinators inside schools to assess students’ needs and provide resources to help them succeed in the classroom and in life. We partner with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers and volunteers. Whether it’s food, school supplies, health care, counseling, academic assistance or a positive role model, Communities in Schools is there to help.
Community Learning Centers (Cincinnati Public Schools) — Cincinnati Public Schools has created campuses that strengthen this link between schools and communities. These schools, known as Community Learning Centers (CLC) serve as hubs for community services, providing a system of integrated partnerships that promote academic excellence and offer recreational, educational, social, health, civic and cultural opportunities for students, families and the community. Over the past ten years, this model has drawn national attention for successfully engaging community partnerships in school buildings.
SUN Community Schools (Multnomah County, Oregon) — Over the past eight years, SUN community schools (2007) have expanded from 8 to 55 schools located in the city of Portland as well as in five surrounding districts. SUN schools are operated as partnerships between schools and community-based organizations or public agencies. The County and City provide financial support to community-based organizations at each school and additional staff support. SUN Schools help students and communities succeed by expanding the use of neighborhood schools. Programs are added for students and families before or after regular school hours, focusing on academics, recreation and enrichment. Health and social services, such as career counseling, are also provided. Many activities at a SUN School are open to the entire community. Since each school and neighborhood is unique, each SUN School looks different and will evolve over time.
Faculty and Staff Projects
Faculty, staff and associates of the center engage in projects that link community resources to educational needs and evaluate the factors that affect their success. Among the work that CCS faculty and staff undertake are:
- Research, development and evaluation of community schools to identify effective policies and practices
- Roundtables, conferences and meetings that build relationships between schools and communities and across sectors and professional fields
- Piloting, documenting and disseminating of model community education programs
- Building a virtual library of information and resources on community schools and community education
- Conferences, workshops, programs and courses that prepare professionals with the understandings, values and skills they need to sustain community schools and community education
Through its academic programs, faculty and student research, and professional development activities, CCS prepares professionals to do creative and sustainable work within schools and community organizations.
University-Assisted Community Schools
- Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania
- Community School Student Partnerships (CSSP)
- Harvard University's Center for the Developing Child
Outcomes of Community School Models
- City Connects - CCNX (Boston) (Boston College's Lynch School of Education)
- Hartford Community Schools
- The Children's Aid Society
- Cincinnati Public Schools Community Learning Centers
- Communities in Schools
- SUN Community Schools (Multnomah County, Oregon)
- Coalition for Community Schools
- The Children's Aid Society National Center for Community Schools
- Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative
- Communities in Schools
- Catholic Charities
- Massachusetts Mentor
- Department of Transitional Assistance
- Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
- Children's Friend and Family Services
- Department of Children and Families
- Department of Mental Health
- Department of Education
School and Workforce Data
Building a Community School
After School Programs
Leap for Education (Salem CyberSpace)
Bridgewell - Youth Program
East Baptist Church - KIDZ ZONE and Youth Program
East Coast International Church - All-City Youth and KidZone
Girls Incorporated – Mentoring and Teen Programs
Khmer Youth Leadership Program - Lynn Community Health Center/Lynn YMCA
If you do not see your program or resource listed, please contact the Center for Community Schools.
Center for Community Schools Executive Council
Mary-Lou Breitborde, Secondary and Higher Education Mary Byrne, School of Social Work
Joseph Cambone, School of Education
Claire Crane, Center for Community Schools
Omar Longus, Communications Outreach Coordinator
Linda Saris, LEAP for Education
Kathy Adee, Nursing
352 Lafayette Street
Salem, Massachusetts 01970
Email the Center for Community Schools