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Community Schools Educate the Whole Child

By Nyesha McCauley

May 16, 2013

Hartford is home to seven Community Schools. The Hartford Community Schools received the national excellence award last month, highlighting Hartford’s level of commitment and implementation of this reform model.

Why is this a big deal? This school design model represents the most thorough way for Hartford to directly address some of the challenges of living in an urban city and its impact on learning.

Community schools combine providing education and social services in a way that is targeted to student’s needs and that saves times. When children in Commu­nity Schools get referred for services, their parents don’t have to drive across town. Even traumatic situations can be directly addressed. Focusing on learning when you are dealing with stressful situations at home is difficult. A community school provides the support to the family and child.

This type of school works because of the partnerships with community organizations that provide the support services to the students and their families. Partners work within the school building, after school and through the summer.

At Burns Latino Studies Academy, for example, students who need additional help with reading use the Read 180 software program during the after-school program, which is also used during the day. School staff works with Compass Youth Collaborative to make sure there is a seamless transition. Tutoring, youth development and recreational activities round out a typical week.

Currently, four lead agencies coordinate services at seven Hartford Community schools:

• Boys & Girls Club at West Middle

• Catholic Charities at Jumoke Academy at Milner

• Compass Youth Collaborative at Asian Studies Academy at Bellizzi, Hartford Magnet Trinity College, Burns Latino Studies Academy

• The Village for Families and Children at Burr and Clark School

Addressing the needs of the WHOLE child just makes good common sense. On that, I think we can all agree.

Reprinted with permission of the The Hartford News.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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