A Community School is a place and a set of partnerships between a school and community resources and programs to not only provide academics, but also health and social services, youth and community development, as well as community engagement.
The 100WomenStrong Community School Initiative is a pilot program that will be based out of Sterling Elementary School. It is designed to bring together nonprofits, private companies and government agencies for the benefit of the school kids and surrounding community.
Due to the rapid suburbanization of poverty, suburban schools like Sterling Elementary are in need of greater support for disadvantaged students and their families. With the Community School approach, vulnerable children and their families will have improved access to a range of wraparound services addressing health issues, language barriers, food insecurity, school readiness and more. If these programs are made available at the school, working parents or those without transportation will not have to worry about how to get their kids to and from appointments and enrichment programs. Parents can also breathe easier knowing their kids are being supervised after school.
To date, 100WomenStrong has identified and engaged the following potential partners for the Sterling Elementary Community School:
o Inova Mobile Health Bus for periodic screenings,
o LCPS Backpack Coalition program for food insecurity (in place at Sterling),
o YMCA for after-school-care to provide homework help and a recreation outlet,
o Loudoun Literacy Council for ESL learners, and
o All Ages Read Together for kindergarten readiness.
o Loudoun County Public Schools
Other programs also will be created to increase parental involvement and help children improve attendance and grades in school. Most of the programs will be offered free of charge or at reduced cost.
A new Community School Coordinator, hired by Loudoun Education Foundation, will work closely with parent liaisons while building community relationships. Sterling School Principal, Jennifer Meres, who has her eye on reducing the achievement gap, is excited to have the coordinator on board.
There is positive data available proving that this type of wraparound service approach works very well in urban school settings. But, will this approach prove successful in a suburban location? To answer that question, the initiative also will include a longitudinal study comparing key markers such as absenteeism, tardiness, participation and test scores.
In the long run, our goal is to reduce the achievement gap and improve outcomes for children, families and communities.
Interested in getting involved? Please contact the Community School Coordinator, Jaime Rubinos, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community School Facts and Figures
Work in Progress
A longitudinal study of key metrics will be tracked over time to determine the efficacy of the Community School Initiative.
“No great change came all at once” – Karen Schaufeld