The New York City Regional Community Schools Technical Assistance Center at Fordham University – working closely with the New York City Department of Education – continues to prepare schools that are embracing the community school strategy for September 2019. In this month’s technical assistance activity, the focus turned to a review of the site reports generated from the Asset and Needs Assessment as well as identifying the initial steps to having a Community School Forum.
For new schools, the Community School Forum is a key opportunity and essential event for stakeholder buy-in to the community school strategy. Held at the local level, the school invites all parents and family members, school staff, and community stakeholders to participate in a launch of the school’s process to evolve into a full-service, community school. The agenda includes an update from the school leadership, plans for the implementation of the model, and what the vision for the community school will be based upon its local determinations (as identified by the Asset and Needs Assessment and translated into a plan of action). It is also a wonderful chance for all involved to participate in discussions that ensure the needs of the community are met.
In working with the NYCDOE’s Office of Community Schools, a relationship has been forged with the district’s Office of Family and Community Empowerment (FACE). As the city-wide office supporting all schools to ensure that parents and families are key participants in their child(ren)’s education, FACE supports the school communities in many ways, including the holding of the Community School Forum.
For additional information on parental empowerment in the New York City region, you may contact the Community Schools Technical Assistance Center at Fordham University at 212-636-6100 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit the NYCDOE Community School’s page on the subject.
Over the past four months, Resource Specialist Erin Verrier has crisscrossed the City of New York conducting site visits to schools and building partnerships with community-based organizations. Ms. Verrier is no stranger to the City or the needs of the students in the schools served by the Community Schools Technical Assistance Center at Fordham. She joins the newly-established CSTAC having served as a Community School Director herself for the past five years.
Erin’s role is focused on supporting the schools we serve by assisting the principals, community school directors, school liaisons, and parent coordinators. Her work, both in the field and through the CSTAC Help Desk, is to ensure fidelity to the community school strategy while embracing the individuality of the school. Whether working with existing community schools or one’s just coming to the strategy, Erin’s work is focused on listening and guiding, participating and observing. It is with a lens of critical friendship that Erin has ensured the CSTAC is present whenever possible to provide objective help to the schools in the five boroughs. To request assistance of the CSTAC at your school, please contact the Help Desk at (212) 636-6100.