Spotlight on AIR's Community Schools Work
Community schools support students, their families, and the broader school community and encourage whole child development and positive family and community outcomes. Service hubs in their neighborhoods and communities, they unite families, educators, and community partners to accelerate equitable student outcomes in health, education, and employment. Community schools strive to be places where everyone’s voice matters and include multiple structures and platforms in place for shared and authentic decision-making.
A key component of community schools implementation involves establishing cross-sector partnerships between schools and community agencies and providers. For community schools to be successful, services, activities, and supports through these partnerships must be coordinated and aligned around a widely shared vision for how the school and its partners can support student development and family and community well-being.
A growing evidence base suggests that the community schools model, when implemented well, can positively influence a variety of student outcomes and enhance the effectiveness of schools, particularly those schools serving a high proportion of students and families living in poverty.
AIR’s work supports the adoption, evaluation, improvement, and maintenance of community schools in a variety of ways. AIR’s community school experts work with education agencies, schools and districts, universities, and other stakeholders to support their efforts to promote student growth and development by removing barriers to learning and providing access to new, integrated learning opportunities to support whole child development. AIR:
- Conducts rigorous multi-method evaluations at the school, district, and state levels that examine both the implementation of the model and the effects on student outcomes;
- Develops and provides tools, training, and ongoing support to help community school leaders and staff create, improve, and maintain excellent programs; and
- Gives guidance to school, community agency, district, and state stakeholders on critical organizational polices and processes that drive effective community school implementation and ensure high-quality learning environments for students.