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Definitions of a Community School

No single, universal definition of a community school exists. Educational agencies or districts define community schools in unique terms. The following examples demonstrate the diverse ways community schools are defined.

Wisconsin Network for Community Schools

"A Wisconsin Community School is a neighborhood hub that brings together families, educators and community partners.  A Wisconsin community school provides students, families, and community members with quality academic, enrichment, health and social resources to succeed in school and in life. Equity and social justice are at the core of Wisconsin’s Community Schools."

Source (Accessed: September 7, 2017)

From the National Center for Community Schools

"The foundations for community schools can be conceptualized as a Development Triangle that places children at the center, surrounded by families and communities. Because students' education success, health and well-being are the focus of every community school, the legs of the triangle consist of three interconnected support systems: a strong core instructional program designed to help all students meet high academic standards; expanded learning opportunities designed to enrich the learning environment for students and their families; a full range of health, mental health, and social services designed to promote children's well-being and remove barriers to learning."

Source (Accessed: May 4, 2016)

From the Coalition for Community Schools

“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.”

Source (Accessed: May 4, 2016)

From the United States Department of Education

“Community schools provide comprehensive academic, social, and health services for students, students’ family members, and community members that will result in improved educational outcomes for children. These services may include: high-quality early learning programs and service; remedial education, aligned with academic supports and other enrichment activities, providing students with a comprehensive academic program; family engagement, including parental involvement, parent leadership, family literacy, and parent education programs; mentoring and other youth development programs; community service and service learning opportunities; programs that provide assistance to students who have been chronically absent, truant, suspended, or expelled; job training and career counseling services; nutrition services and physical activities; primary health and dental care; activities that improve access to and use of social service programs and programs that promote family financial stability; mental health services; and adult education, including instruction of adults in English as a second language.”

Source (Accessed: May 4, 2016)

From the Milwaukee Community Schools Partnership

Community Schools is a proven model to increase a school’s capacity to better engage and align partnerships centered on the self-identified, real-time priorities of schools and communities. Our strategy places the focus on the whole child by providing academic supports, social & emotional learning, health & wellness, family & community engagement, and a safe and supportive climate.

Source (Accessed: February 20, 2017)

For questions about this information, contact Scott Jones (608) 267-9269