Working Toward Solutions


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To combat achievement gaps, some schools have adopted a “Community Schools” approach. A community school is a place and a set of partnerships between a school and community resources. Here, they take an integrated approach to academics, youth development, family support, health, and social services. The resources are concentrated at or near the school and can include family centers, health clinics, wraparound services, positive behavior intervention and support programs, parent engagement, pre-school and after-school programs.Earlier this year, 100WomenStrong and Principal Jennifer Scott visited Donegan Elementary School in Bethlehem, PA to learn how a community school works and how it can thrive. Donegan Elementary was named a Community School in 2012 and is located in an urban area with more than 90% of students on the free and reduced lunch program. Students here are involved in and assigned to groups that have certain tasks, such as Welcome Group, Physical Activity Group, and Recycle Group. Social workers are also available to guide students to other resources and agencies that are not at the school.Community schools have proven to reduce absenteeism, reduce behavior issues, and improve grades. PalmerCare Chiropractic has already taken initiative in serving our community by supporting Sterling Elementary, but for a community school to succeed it requires more local sponsors. We’d love to hear your thoughts on community schools and other ideas on how to improve our children’s lives. How can we implement a community school system in Loudoun County? What schools could benefit from this? What other challenges do we face? What organizations would be willing to help?

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100WomenStrong is a proud fund of Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties