Community Partnerships VISTA Project

PHENND is in the fifth year of an innovative project which seeks to improve and expand the infrastructure for community partnership development across the School District of Philadelphia. This year PHENND has placed 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members, full-time federally funded volunteers, in high-poverty public schools in Philadelphia and in key School District offices to serve as Community Partnership Coordinators. PHENND’s overall goal is to increase the capacity of schools to leverage community partnerships while also helping develop systems and policies that will foster better community partnership development at the District level. With the best practices learned from this program, PHENND is developing a replicable strategy for which there has already been considerable interest from School District leadership to bring to scale.

Some of the VISTAs’ activities include convening monthly community partner meetings at the schools in order to facilitate communication between the schools and their partners, as well as among partners, to encourage collaboration. They are facilitating communication to the broader community through the creation and/or improvement of the schools’ websites, newsletters and other social media platforms which are made widely available to the entire school community including community partners, staff, students and their families. They are also meeting with the School Leadership regularly to discuss school needs and then cultivate existing or new partnerships to better address those needs.

  • Download our 2015 one pager that summarizes accomplishments and school characteristics.

In the news:

The 2016-2017 participating schools are:

  • Meade Elementary (North Philadelphia)
  • Blaine Elementary (North Philadelphia)
  • Cramp Elementary (North Philadelphia)
  • Edison High School (North Philadelphia)
  • The U School (North Philadelphia)
  • Hartranft School (North Philadelphia)
  • Southwark Elementary (South Philadelphia)
  • Jackson Elementary (South Philadelphia)
  • Arthur Elementary (South Philadelphia)
  • Stanton Elementary (South Philadelphia)
  • Powel Elementary (West Philadelphia)
  • Cassidy Elementary (West Philadelphia)
  • Overbrook Education Center (West Philadelphia)
  • Houston Elementary (Northwest Philadelphia)
  • Henry Elementary (Northwest Philadelphia)
  • Parkway Northwest High School (Northwest Philadelphia)

along with VISTAs placed at the following School District offices:

Office of Strategic Partnerships
Office of Student Support Services
Office of Family and Community Engagement
Office of Academic Enrichment Services

More resources:

This project is made possible by support from the William Penn Foundation, the Samuel S. Fels Fund, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.