WHAT IS COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT?
Schools, families, and communities are all responsible for the social, emotional, and educational development of youth. Schools that engage the community and serve as active partners in improving services for in and out of school time see positive outcomes for students. They can bring students and the community together through partnerships with businesses, community-based organizations, post-secondary institutions, workforce development centers, religious and civic groups, libraries, and other organizations that provide education, recreation, and youth development and enrichment. Effective school-community engagement includes a shared goal to develop a range of resources and partnerships to address barriers to learning, enhance the healthy development of youth, and strengthen the whole community.
WHY FOCUS ON COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT?
Schools are an integral part of a community thus, it is recommended that schools work in partnership with community organizations. By doing so, systemic change can occur. One of the goals of community engagement is to ensure that school improvement is developed with the community.
Students want to be prepared for life after school and communities can engage students as they prepare for their futures. Schools and districts can also use existing community partners and provide support services to students and families using the school as a hub. Supports such as health care, vision and dental exams, food programs, child care, teen pregnancy prevention programs and teen parenting resources, mental health services, substance abuse prevention and intervention, sports and recreation programs can produce healthier students, better academic outcomes, and numerous physical, social and emotional, and socioeconomic benefits. This approach not only benefits the students who need it the most; it also builds strong families and communities.
Local Examples and Resources
- Aurora Public Schools are working with the National Communities in Schools program to support community engagement at the school level.
- The Reading Partners community volunteer program mentored 629 students in Colorado schools in 2017-2018, utilizing 918 community volunteers.
- Every Colorado school is required to have a tiered instructional framework – this is known as a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and an essential component of MTSS is school and community partnering.
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers
- Promising Partnership Practices
- State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education
- Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
- Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University
- The Coalition for Community Schools
- Communities in Schools (Pilot program in Aurora)
- Mile High United Way Education Programs
- National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement
- Reading Partners