What is a Community School?
Hartford Community Schools are a strategy for aligning resources to support student achievement, strengthen families and build stronger communities. With a focus on extended days and hours, students and families are invited to make use of the school site as locus of community for learning, recreation and building neighborhood connections.
Hartford Community Schools represent a comprehensive approach for improving academic achievement by coordinating the services and supports that students need to be successful in school, while supporting the development of healthy families and communities.
How are Community Schools different?
At a Community School, a lead agency partners with the school to plan, implement and sustain on-site services that provide a holistic approach to well-being and development for children, their families and the wider community.
These services include:
- Health Services – medical, dental and vision screening services as well as sports and recreational activities
- Mental Health Services – clinical services, case management, crisis interventions and specialized referrals
- Youth Development/Out-of-School Time – safe school buildings are open for extended days and hours, providing youth development and leadership programming, academic enrichment, homework help, tutoring, recreational, cultural and summer school programs
- Life-Long Learning – adult education opportunities include English as a Second Language, GED courses, financial literacy and technology classes
- Parent Enrichment/Engagement – schools involve parents in meaningful ways through family dinners/PTO meetings, effective communication, parent workshops, cultural events and civic engagement opportunities
- Community Engagement – effective partnerships with private businesses and civic organizations promote the development of the community and stability of the neighborhood
The Community School is a center of community life, providing activities and services for students and their families, as well as the wider community. They are open beyond regular school hours: from early morning into the evening, on weekends and holidays. Nationally, it has been demonstrated that these changes lead to improved attendance and academic performance.
Examples of extra-scholastic resources available at a community school might include:
- After school programs for academic and cultural enrighment
- Services for adults, such as GED and ESL classes, job readiness, and financial literacy training
- A curriculum that incorporates the teaching of social skills, life skills, and character development
- Physical and mental health services
One of the reasons we support a choice of schools for students is the extent of cultural diversity in our student population. The impact of external influences on a student’s ability to perform has been acknowledged for a long time. By recognizing the student as part of a family, and part of a community, the Community Schools model addresses the comprehensive needs of school-age youth.