Coalition for Community Schools
The Coalition for Community Schools 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, family support, health and human services, government and philanthropy as well as national, state and local community school networks. Community schools are both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. The Coalition’s goals are to:
- Share information about successful community school policies, programs and practices;
- Build broader public understanding and support for community schools;
- Inform public and private-sector policies in order to strengthen community schools; and
- Develop sustainable sources of funding for community schools.
The Coalition works to achieve these goals through several types of activities:
- Conducting research about community schools that demonstrates their effectiveness and explores how to create and sustain community schools.
- Convening national, regional and local community schools forums as well as Coalition partners meetings;
- Maintaining communications resources that provide learning opportunities about community schools;
- Promoting a policy framework at the federal, state and local levels that support community schools;
- Nurturing community school networks at the local and state levels, including Community Schools Leadership Network; and
- Carrying out public education efforts to help our citizens understand the importance of community schools.
Reason for Joining NREC
The Coalition wants to align community school data collection with other initiatives. Strategic alignment of data will improve local efficiency and effectiveness and lead to a greater impact on the lives of children, families, and communities. The Coalition works with over 88 systemic initiatives encompassing over 100 school districts and communities that are operating community schools at scale. Many of these places overlap with other education reforms, place-based, and collective impact initiatives. All are collecting data, oftentimes on the same children and schools. When initiatives work together on data and resulting solutions for turning the curve, communities will thrive. For more than 50 years, IEL, which staffs the Coalition, has worked to develop and support leaders capable of working across sectors and institutional boundaries to improve outcomes for children, youth and families. The goals of NREC are consistent with IEL’s goals and has direct intersection with all of our work, particularly as it relates to improving the capacity of policymakers, school and program administrators, parents and families, and youth service professionals in education and workforce development systems.
Anticipated contributions to NREC work
The Coalition is able to provide resources and direct support to communities that want to create community schools as part of their reform efforts. In addition, the Coalition will work with its 200+ local, state and national partners to mobilize resources and collaboration around data, strategies, and programs in local communities. For example, the Coalition has developed a results-based framework used by sites across the country. IEL’s broad networks in the areas of family and community engagement; school leadership development and support; early childhood education; and students with disabilities are additional sources of support available to this network.