Getting Started‎ > ‎

Community Schools in Practice

Each Community School is partnered with a lead CBO partner that provides additional supports and services for students, both integrated into the instructional school day, as well as before and after school. These CBOs place a full-time Community School Director (CSD) on site, complemented by a full-time AmeriCorps member. 

At a New York City Community School, the school, its partner CBO, and families work in partnership, sharing leadership and organizing resources so that academics, social services and other supports are integrated into the fabric of schools. These combined supports help the school better serve the needs of young people, resulting in improved student learning, stronger families, and healthier communities.

Once a school has been selected to transform into a Community School in NYC, there are certain initial steps that occur. 

Theory of Change
What makes an NYC Community School special? Community Schools share a common vision that all children receive the individualized attention they need to succeed. The 
Theory of Change embraced by Community Schools shows that by investing in partnerships and infrastructure to provide support, Community Schools have the capacity to work efficiently and effectively to help students and their families get the help they need to thrive. The Core Capacities Table provides a brief overview of each of the core capacities of a Community School. 

Stages of Development
As a school begins the process of becoming a fully operational Community School, the undergo four distinct stages of development: Exploring, Emerging, Maturing, and Excelling. The NYC Office of Community Schools has created a Stages of Development Rubric to support this type of self-assessment

Community Schools in Practice
Every Community School is different and reflects the strengths and needs of its students, families, and local community. However, the best and most successful Community Schools all share common features which support student learning:
  • School leadership has a clear instructional vision and high expectations for all students.
  • Schools implement a collaborative school governance structure that includes a lead CBO partner and members of the School Leadership Team.
  • Parents and the community help design and plan the community school according to its strengths and needs, and parents and caregivers are real and active partners in their children's education.
  • Expanded learning time includes academic interventions and enrichment activities and 
    is aligned with school-day curriculum and expectations.
  • Youth development is integrated across academics, programs and services.
  • Mental health, medical, and social services are available to students who need them.
  • Community members are engaged in activities that help build a stronger school community.
  • Family members have access to education opportunities and programs that strengthen families.

Click here for Community Schools In Action, stories of success.