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New Guide Gives Roadmap to 'Scale Up' School, Community Partnerships

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Some public schools grab your attention with their astounding, against-all-odds ability to succeed.

One such story launches a new guide available for free from the Coalition for Community Schools:

"It is nearly impossible to imagine that, in just three years, a school that had experienced a dropout rate of 84 percent by grade 10 managed to transform itself into a school with a graduation rate of 100 percent. But that is the story of Cincinnati's Oyler Community Learning Center, which is one in a system of community schools that has helped raise the citywide graduation rate from 51 percent in 2000 to 83 percent in 2009."

The interactive guide, "Scaling Up School and Community Partnerships: The Community Schools Strategy," is published on the Coalition for Community Schools' website, along with an evaluation toolkit, blog and opportunities to discuss progress and issues with other stakeholders.

So, exactly what is "scaling up," anyway?

According to the guide, "A scaled-up system of community schools refers to a vertical network of schools from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 in a single attendance area with all schools linked horizontally across one or more school districts. What does it take to build a scaled-up system of community schools? That is the question posed by school leaders, service providers, and government officials around the country as they come to appreciate the value and importance of community schools."

The guide covers:

  • The community schools strategy

  • A framework for scale-up

  • How to effectively scale up

  • Case studies of scaling up community school initiatives

On May 9-12, these themes will be covered in a meeting of more than 1,300 people from 36 states and more than 100 communities, when they gather in San Francisco for the 2012 Community Schools National Forum. The forum will engage a broad audience of policymakers, administrators and practitioners who want to learn how to put together school and community assets to support student success.

Martin J. Blank, president of the Institute for Educational Leadership, recently blogged that there "are now more than 50 local community school initiatives across the country and many other communities where they are emerging."

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