Better Use of Community Resources

Leveraging community resources and local partnerships supports high-quality academic and enrichment opportunities by broadening the experiences that may be typically offered to students and by expanding access to local expertise. Better aligning and utilizing these resources can also help school systems identify and access low-cost services or facilities to support learning opportunities on and off school sites. Pulling in local resources such as health and human services agencies, departments of public safety and parks and recreation, community colleges, businesses, community-based organizations, and other entities can effectively maximize opportunities for students and school systems.

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City efforts

  • HandsOn Network – An Atlanta based network of corporate, faith, and nonprofit organizations, HandsOn Network seeks to leverage the resources and expertise of businesses and corporate leaders by providing them with opportunities to design and implement various projects designed to meet local needs. Project goals are to improve academic achievement, revitalize communities, and initiate systemic educational change by investing in schools and their surrounding communities.
  • Locke Full-Service Community Schools Collaborative – This initiative was launched by Green Dot Public Schools in collaboration with more than 10 partners to provide academic, social, and health services to the students of the Locke schools, their families, and the Watts community of South Los Angeles. With local partners and funds from the public and private sector, this initiative seeks to provide health, mental health and wellness services at the new Locke Wellness Center and educational services at the school sites. Additional link here.

Volunteer efforts

  • Success Mentors – This program recruits and trains volunteers to help improve attendance and reduce chronic absences in 25 New York City pilot schools. Each mentor is assigned 15 to 20 chronically absent students. When students do not attend school, mentors contact students to inquire about their absence. Mentors also provide support with classwork and managing the social dynamics at school. Mentors work a minimum of 15 hours a week and attend the school’s weekly attendance team meetings to discuss students who need more support. Participating schools are using mentors from a variety of sources to test which model works best.
  • Austin Partners in Education – This organization places volunteers in the classroom to coach students in math, reading, and college readiness. Teams of coaches are assigned to a teacher and a small group of students and provide 45 minutes of coaching each week. These volunteers support teachers, provide students with encouragement, and bring real world relevance to school work; many of the coaches come from technology companies and are able to lend their expertise to the classroom.
  • San Francisco Education Fund – This organization utilizes volunteers to improve the success of San Francisco’s public schools. Individual volunteers are matched with teachers based on their skills and interests and the teachers’ needs, and provide small group and one-on-one tutoring, enrichment activities, interpretation, and serve as career speakers. Businesses establish formal relationships with schools and apply their expertise to customized activities to help schools achieve their goals. The Fund also develops partnerships with local and national organizations to leverage various resources and services to strengthen the school system, help students learn through hands-on activities and team work, and achieve success in college or a career.

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