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A Message to the Community Schools Forum National Planning Committee from Reuben Jacobson


Dear National Planning Committee-

Thank you. Together, you helped create a unique and meaningful convening for participants that I’m certain will move us closer toward our goal of more high quality community schools, with an even stronger focus on learning.

Thanks to your input, we tried out some new things (e.g., roundtables) that were very well received. Initial feedback from participants and partners tells us that the Forum was a huge success. We had 1,765 registrants, our largest Forum yet! It was also a diverse group with stakeholders representing multiple roles and perspectives that are essential to making community schools work.

I wanted to share some of our highlights which you can find in the attached PDF. And pictures and video will be coming soon on our Forum recap website.

Thank you again for your participation and support. Looking forward to Baltimore in 2018!


Reuben Jacobson
Deputy Director
Coalition for Community Schools | Institute for Educational Leadership
jacobsonr@iel.org | (202) 822-8405 ext. 131 | @commschool


Community School Leaders To Be Recognized at National Forum

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—April 1, 2016—The Coalition for Community Schools will present leadership awards to two superintendents, two district initiative leaders, a national partner, two educators, and a community advocate at the 2016 Community Schools National Forum, which will take place April 6- 8 in Albuquerque, NM.

The Coalition will also honor Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), a longtime community schools supporter, with the Joy Dryfoos Community Schools Lifetime Achievement Award.

“These awardees represent excellence in leadership and dedication to supporting all students,” said Martin J. Blank, president of the Institute for Educational Leadership and director of the Coalition for Community Schools. “These leaders have modeled what it takes to lead across boundaries to improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.”

Using public schools as hubs, community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of supports and opportunities to children, youth, families and communities. School and district leaders collaborate with organizations to bring a multitude of services into schools and accessibly to the community, including health, dental, and mental health services; food pantries and nutrition assistance; adult education and financial literacy courses; structured afterschool and summer programs; and cultural and recreational activities.

Joy Dryfoos Community Schools Lifetime Achievement Award: Named after Joy Dryfoos, a tireless advocate for community schools, the award goes to the individual who has made significant contributions to the growth of the community school field. 

  • Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Rep. Steny Hoyer has been a legislative champion for full-service community schools. Because of his leadership, community schools initiatives across the country have received federal funding since 2008. He has introduced legislation to encourage the expansion of fullservice community schools throughout the country since 2004. Rep. Hoyer was also instrumental in including a provision that encourages the wider adoption of the full-service community schools model into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was signed into law in December 2015. For interviews, please contact: Latoya Veal, latoya.veal@mail.house.gov​

National Partner Award: For the national partner that has made significant contributions to the work of the Coalition and toward growing the field. AASA, 

  • The School Superintendents Association AASA, The School Superintendents Association, has been an instrumental partner in the Coalition’s work to support and grow the community schools strategy. AASA engagement has been pivotal to the development of the Community Schools Superintendents Leadership Council and helped to grow the number of superintendents standing for community schools. AASA has continued to be supportive of the Coalition’s work in many areas, particularly on the programmatic and policy fronts. They have been a strong partner in raising awareness of community schools among federal policymakers through meetings on Capitol Hill with legislators and their staff, co-hosting webinars, and participating in the Coalition’s federal policy work group. AASA was also pivotal in the successful efforts to embed community school principles in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). An active member of the Coalition’s Steering Committee, AASA provides valuable insight and guidance to the future of the Coalition and its efforts. For interviews, please contact: James Minichello, jminichello@aasa.org, 703-875- 0723 

Superintendent Leadership Award: For the superintendent who championed the community school strategy and led the district in the alignment and support of community schools. (This award is copresented with AASA, the School Superintendents Association.)

  • Teresa Weatherall Neal, Grand Rapids Public Schools (Grand Rapids, MI) Teresa Weatherall Neal has led Grand Rapids in implementing the community schools strategy to help the district tackle many of its most pressing challenges. Building upon the relationships with community partners she established while serving as an assistant superintendent in Grand Rapids, Neal used the community schools strategy to connect to like-minded individuals and organizations in the area and formalize a collaborative approach to serving students. The district continues to partner with and nurture the development of the Kent School Services Network, which provides social supports to children and their families throughout the county. Neal is co-chair of the Coalition’s Superintendents Leadership Council. For interviews, please contact: John Helmholdt, HelmholdtJ@grps.org, 616-819-3740
  • Dr. Steven Webb, Vancouver Public Schools (Vancouver, WA) In 2008, when Dr. Steven Webb became superintendent, district leaders decided to address directly how poverty was impacting so many of its students, both inside and outside the classroom, by developing family and community resource centers in its schools. The community schools strategy has helped to create an environment that fosters academic growth and social success. The achievement gap for English language learners has narrowed by 20 points since 2008, the 2015 graduation rate is above 80 percent, and low-income and minority students are achieving at higher levels. Inspired by the change he’s seen in his district, Dr. Webb has become a tireless advocate for state and federal community school policies, and he works with national organizations to understand the positive impact of community schools. Dr. Webb is co-chair of the Coalition’s Superintendents Leadership Council, was named a 2016 Leader To Learn From by Education Week, and was one of four finalists for the 2016 AASA National Superintendent of the Year. For interviews, please contact: Tom Hagley, chief of staff, tom.hagley@vansd.org, 360-313-1200

Community School Initiative Leadership Award: For the individual(s) who have really pushed their initiatives to new heights over the past two years. These leaders also have made important contributions to their peers and taken on leadership roles within the Coalition.

  • Adeline Ray, Senior Manager, Community Schools Initiative, Chicago Public Schools (Chicago, IL) Adeline Ray serves as the driving force behind Chicago’s Community Schools Initiative, bringing her optimism and collaborative spirit to leading the nation’s largest scaled up system of community schools. She leads community school efforts throughout the city, providing support to schools and their resource coordinators and partners. She has helped to develop partnerships with more than 50 lead organizations, working with the American Institutes for Research on the development of community school implementation and evaluation tools, and the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration where community school coordinators are trained. Ray is a member of the Coalition’s Steering Committee and co-chair of the Community Schools Leadership Network. For interviews, please contact: Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Office of Communications, 773-553-1620
  • Curtiss Sarikey, Deputy Chief, Community Schools and Student Services, Oakland Unified School District (Oakland, CA) Curtiss Sarikey leads Oakland’s district-wide vision to become a Full Service Community Schools District and ensure that every student thrives. Oakland’s initiative is a collaborative strategy bringing together academic, health, and social services for students, their families, and the community at large in full-service community schools. Now, more than 30 schools have community school managers on-site, bringing these supports to those who need them most, with a goal to reach 50 schools by 2020. As part of the Full Service Community Schools District initiative, Oakland implements 76 afterschool program sites serving nearly 8,000 students, 45 summer learning programs for more than 5,700 PreK-12th grade students, and 16 school-based health centers serving thousands of students and their families. Maintaining the momentum and enthusiasm for community schools, even through leadership transitions, Sarikey has worked to embed the strategy in the core vision, climate, and culture of the district and within schools. He is a member of the Coalition’s Community Schools Leadership Network. For interviews, please contact: Andrea Bustamante, Andrea.Bustamante@ousd.org, 510-879-2901

Community School Educator Leadership Award: For educators of excellence for their work in supporting and growing community school efforts. These educators are also models to others in their work on community school partnerships and their impact on students and families.

  • Amanda Reyes, Teacher, Emerson Elementary School (Albuquerque, NM) Amanda Reyes is a leader of much of the community schools work being done at Emerson Elementary in partnership with the ABC Community School Partnership. She has been an integral part of Emerson’s efforts to reduce the school’s student mobility, which saw a 15 percent reduction in one year. She also assisted in surveying 100 percent of students for afterschool programs, which led to a 300 percent increase in participation. Reyes also cofacilitates Community School Council meetings with the school’s community school coordinator to set goals, objectives, and action steps for its continued growth. Through the Council’s work, teachers and principals regularly collaborate with families and local organizations such as the neighborhood association, Albuquerque Public Schools district leaders, the local Boys & Girls Club, the University of New Mexico Health Clinic, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Streetwise, Inc. For interviews, please contact: Lindsay Burkhard, lnburkhard@cabq.gov, 505-239- 2432
  • Peggy Candelaria, Principal, Manzano Mesa Elementary School (Albuquerque, NM) Peggy Candelaria has held a critical role in bringing academic, health, and social services to her students and their families, launching the largest afterschool program in the district, as well as the Community School Council with 29 organizations and individuals. She helped to start the Homework Diner program, an afterschool family engagement program that regularly welcomes more than 100 participants each week and has expanded to 11 Albuquerque schools and 11 states. Candelaria was instrumental in developing a partnership with the New Mexico Asian Family Center to support Asian families in her school, which has one of the highest Asian populations of any elementary school in the state. She also helped to create the Parent Pre-School Co-Op, a volunteer-run early childhood center for primarily Spanishspeaking families in the community. In addition to providing childcare, the Co-Op has helped 11 Spanish-speaking volunteers to receive childcare certification from Central New Mexico Community College. For interviews, please contact: Lindsay Burkhard, lnburkhard@cabq.gov, 505-239-2432

Community School Family and Community Advocate Award: For the local advocates that have mobilized to create or expand community schools. Awardees may include individuals, organizing groups, or coalitions.

  • Coalition for Educational Justice (New York, NY) The Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) has been instrumental in the creation of a sustainable community school strategy in New York City. We know that without the voice of families and community residents, community schools will not have the impact on the lives of young people and their families and communities that is needed. CEJ brings that voice to the table and continues to strengthen the capacity for authentic family and community engagement in community schools. Without CEJ, the community schools policy for the New York City Department of Education would never have passed; it is a landmark for New York and other large cities. For interviews, please contact: Natasha Capers, ncapers@nyccej.org, 212-328-9254

The awardees will be recognized at the 2016 Community Schools National Forum, a gathering of more than 1,650 community school advocates, educators, and partners in Albuquerque, NM. The Forum is co-sponsored by the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) together with the Albuquerque/Bernalillo Community Schools Partnership.

The theme of this year’s Forum, Rising Together: Learning Across School, Family, and Community, reflects the belief of the Coalition that in community schools all children can thrive, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or economic status. In fact, as leaders “rise together,” community schools pay particular attention to building on the assets of children and youth in families facing the greatest inequities. That is why equity and opportunity for all has been a central tenet of the Coalition’s work.


About the Coalition for Community Schools The Coalition for Community Schools, housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), is an alliance of national, state and local organizations in education K–16, youth development, community planning and development, higher education, family support, health and human services, government, and philanthropy as well as national, state, and local community school networks. The Coalition advocates for community schools as a strategy to leverage local resources and programs, changing the look and feel of the traditional school structure to best meet the needs of children and families in the 21st century.

About the Institute for Educational Leadership For a half-century, the Institute for Educational Leadership has championed the need for leaders at all levels to shake off their institutional constraints and work across boundaries to address the needs of young people and their families. Bound by no constituency, IEL serves as a catalyst that helps policymakers, administrators, and practitioners at all levels to bridge bureaucratic silos and undo gridlock to improve outcomes for all young people and their families. The work of IEL focuses on three pillars required for young people and their communities to succeed: Involving the broader community with public education to support the learning and development of young people; building more effective pathways into the workforce for all young people and supporting the transition to adulthood; and preparing generations of leaders with the know-how to drive collaborative efforts at all levels.

Registration Now Open for the 2016 Community Schools National Forum

All public school supporters are welcome to register for the 2016 Coalition for Community Schools National Forum hosted in Albuquerque from April 6-8, 2016.

Everyone involved in improving public education – from parents, principals and teachers to community, health care, business, nonprofit and social services leaders – are encouraged to learn more about Albuquerque’s successful school support strategy.

The conference is expected to draw an estimated 1,600 attendees, 1,200 overnight visitors and $1.2 million in direct spending. It’s one of the largest conferences in the metro area booked for 2016.

Visit http://www.communityschools.org/2016nationalforum/ to register and learn more.

“The ABC Community School Partnership is pleased to bring this national conference to Albuquerque and share our successful strategies that connect students and families with whatever resources they need to succeed in school,” ABC Board Chair and Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins says. “We hope policymakers, educators and school administrators from across the state of New Mexico can take advantage of this exceptional opportunity.”

The national Coalition for Community Schools chose Albuquerque because of the local partnership’s success in helping students and families overcome obstacles to learning. The ABC Community School Partnership is a coalition of local government, business and nonprofit leaders dedicated to helping students graduate ready for college, career and life.

The community schools strategy is simple – connect students and families with the resources they need to succeed in school and life.

The partnership supports community schools coordinators at select schools that help connect students and families with whatever they need to overcome barriers to learning, from job training to healthy food, healthcare or extra academic support. The partnership supports 23 schools today, a dramatic increase from four in 2012.

The ABC Community School Partnership was created in 2007 through a joint powers agreement.

Major partners include Bernalillo County, the City of Albuquerque, Albuquerque Public Schools, United Way of Central New Mexico and the Albuquerque Business Education Compact.

To learn more about the ABC Community School Partnership, please visit the partnership’s newly-designed website here: http://www.bernco.gov/community-services/abq-bernco-community-schools-partnership.aspx.

To learn more about the Community Schools National Forum 2016, please visit http://www.communityschools.org/.


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