III. Strategies for Community Schools

A. “A strong and proven curriculum, engaging students with culturally relevant and challenging material, and offering a robust selection of classes, AP and honors courses, as well as after-school programs in the arts, languages, and ethnic studies, ELL, Special Ed, GED preparation, and job training.”

The curriculum in Community Schools emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving skills. These opportunities would be provided by partners in the community–environmental groups, businesses, community gardens, internships, etc.

Removing barriers is a key component of Community Schools.

B. “They emphasize high-quality teaching instead of high-stakes testing, enabling teachers to identify and meet students’ needs.”

C. “They offer community support services such as health care, mental-health counseling, and other support, before, during, and after school and on the weekends.”

The Community Schools would be open during the summer to assure uninterrupted services to students and their families.

D. “They focus on positive discipline practices as well as social and emotional learning supports, resulting in fewer suspensions and harsh punishments.”

E. “They feature extensive family and community engagement, involving the full community in planning and decision-making.”

Empowering parents and family members would include parent leadership and parenting education, parent involvement in school decision-making, and volunteer opportunities within the classroom and the school. GED and ELL classes would be offered along with on-site food and clothing pantries.

F. “Many school districts are starting to connect early childhood programs to their community school initiatives and vice versa.” “They are providing ‘a linkage’ between early childhood and school that ensures a continuity of support across a child’s experience in school. As a result, many Community Schools are seeing increased attendance, less mobility, and fewer behavioral problems among kindergartners.”

The need for high quality Early Childhood Education is the subject of researchers, educators, and policymakers.

G. They offer enriching Youth Development Programs to provide opportunities for children to become well-rounded, successful adults. The emphasis is on fun learning activities that are innovative, educational, creative, and inspire students to be life-long learners.

IV. Goals of the Community School Movement

A. “Children are ready for school. Students succeed academically.

B. Students attend school on a consistent basis.

C. Students are healthy, physically, socially and emotionally.

D. Students live and learn in a safe, supportive, and stable environment.

E. Students actively engage in the learning process and in their community.

F. Families are involved and engaged in their children’s education.

G. Schools are engaged with families and communities.

H. Communities are desirable places to live.

I. Students graduate ready for college, careers, and citizenship.”

V. “Community Schools lead to:

*lower rates of absenteeism;

*Better work habits, grades, test scores, and behavior;

*higher enrollment in college preparatory classes; and

* higher graduation rates.”

Participants who spoke at the “What’s Best for Kids is Best for Our State” listening session at the Labor Temple in Wausau December 12, 2018 after Governor Tony Evers was elected reiterated all of the above strategies to improve the educational experiences of students, their families, and our communities.