Just like the latest smart phone operating system, community schools have a cutting-edge infrastructure that makes all the 'apps' work in a synchronized manner. A school-site leadership team, often comprised of educators, parents, community partners, and others, is responsible for creating a shared vision for the school, identifying desired results and helping align and integrate the work of partners with the school. A community school coordinator works hand-in-hand with the principal, and is a member of the school leadership team. The coordinator is responsible for building relationships with school staff and community partners, for engaging the families and community residents, and coordinator an efficient delivery of supports to students both inside and outside of the classroom, all day, every day. Data on academic AND non-academic factors drive the work for a community school.
At the district or system-level, a community-wide leadership (e.g., school districts, government, United Way chapters, businesses, community- and faith-based organizations) is responsible for overall vision, policy, and resource alignment. It creates the context and capacity for expansion. It serves as a networking vehicle for policy development and communication in which several leaders of community initiatives decide why and how to align their resources to build and sustain a system of community schools. An intermediary entity (an organization or a working group composed of key leaders and managers from one or more partner agencies) provides planning, coordination, and management. Leadership powers the work by ensuring communication between community-wide and school-site leaders and by facilitating operational functions at all leadership levels and across school sites. It convenes school and community partners, provides strategic planning, and ensures that what happens at the community leadership level empowers students, families, and practitioners at school sites.
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