Research & Policy

Community Schools as Part of Mayor de Blasio's Equity Agenda

The New York City Department of Education envisions the expansion of Community Schools as a central strategy for achieving an equitable educational system. The initiative builds off of the Department of Education’s (DOE’s) Framework for Great Schools and is aligned with the administration’s various efforts focused on youth and families, coming on the heels of expanding full-day pre-kindergarten to every four-year-old and offering after school programs to every middle schools student. 

With equity as a key driver, the administration will develop the next generation of Community Schools and establish the systems and structures to ensure they address inequality in sustainable ways. The programs and interventions provided in Community Schools are evidence-based strategies to close the achievement gap by expanding opportunities for young people. They prepare students—and families—to enter school on the right foot. By increasing student time in the classroom, as well as in the local museum, on the playing field, and in the chess club, Community Schools help prepare students to be college and career ready. For more information, read our Strategic Plan.

Evidence of Effectiveness: The Research 

There is a strong and diverse evidence base for the NYC Community School model. A New York City Department of Education review of over 20 national studies found that Community Schools have positive impacts on academic achievement, graduation rates, post-secondary outcomes, attendance and attitudes towards school. 
  • Community Schools see greater parent involvement and reduced student absenteeism, and consistent school attendance is strongly tied to academic improvement at all grade levels.
  • Increasing parent engagement is proven to increase academic outcomes for students
  • Increased instructional time—measured as the time students are engaged in learning—along with tutoring and high expectations, are strong predictors of higher achievement
  • Higher teacher attendance and job satisfaction have been observed in Community Schools.
  • Community Schools are an efficient strategy, demonstrating a strong return on public investment.

Theory of Change

Download the NYC Community Schools Theory of Change. A Theory of Change is methodology for program planning and evaluation that defines program inputs, desired outcomes (or preconditions), and short, medium, and  long-term goals. In this model,
causal relationships are mapped as an outcomes pathway. The Theory of Change is an important element in our program evaluation process, since we can measure success of the Community School initiative by demonstrating progress on the achievement of outcomes.