Kirp, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, notes that community public schools, which primarily serve high-need communities across the country, offer “expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities,” as well as a wide range of services, to students and their families. These can include tutoring, after-school classes for children and adults, health care screenings, psychological, nutrition and legal counseling, and food pantries.
In New York City, “the epicenter of the community schools movement,” the number of community schools has grown from 100 in 2016 to 247 today, Kirp writes. There are roughly 5,000 community schools across the country, and dozens of school districts have created system-wide networks, according to the National Coalition of Community Schools.
The Public Matters survey, released by Teachers College in 2018, affirms that the vision of community schools as hubs of learning, health and well-being for students, families and communities is also gaining acceptance among the general public beyond New York. In a national survey of 3,000 adults, two-thirds agreed that “students cannot develop basic academic skills without community resources, health and community services to students and families.”
Teachers College has long been involved in community schools. The College was founded to prepare a new generation of teachers work with immigrant children and families. In 1902, TC founded the Speyer School, one of the nation’s earliest community schools, in West Harlem. Today, in that same neighborhood, the Teachers College Community School (TCCS), founded and jointly run by TC and the New York City Department of Education in 2011, offers a full range of academic instruction and supports for students and families. Read more about TCCS.
Read about the Public Matters report It Takes a Village: Americans’ Views of Community Schools.
Read the full New York Times op-ed.