New Research supports Community Schools

Posted by on March 03, 2014

Research Review Gives Thumbs Up to Community Schools Approach

In the wake of newly elected New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to open 100 community schools, a report released last month finds promise in this type of educational intervention. The study, supported in part with a grant from an organization founded by de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, concludes that research and theory support the concept of community schools that seek to boost academic performance by offering mentoring, counseling, healthcare, and other wraparound services that extend well beyond the classroom.

“..[S]chool success (or failure) is the product of multiple and varied factors at the individual, family, and school levels,” write the authors of a white paper based on the report. “This suggests that providing an array of academic and nonacademic supports in a coordinated fashion….is a more effective strategy than focusing on one, or a small set of, supports.”

The report contains both a review of past research and an original analysis suggesting that myriad school, home, and student-related factors influence academic achievement. It  was produced by Child Trends, a Bethesda, Md.-based nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization and supported by a $250,000 grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies and AT&T. This is interesting given de Blasio’s stated intentions to undo centerpieces of Bloomberg-era education reforms such as A through F school accountability grades and free rent for charters that use district buildings. However, Bloomberg did support the Harlem Children’s Zone, a school reform model that incorporated many wraparound services.

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