June 2023

ETAC Community of Practice Update:
Implementing the Community School Roadmap Toolkit

Undertaking a new initiative that transforms schools or districts is often a daunting process. It requires a commitment to time, energy, and a willingness to follow a series of foundational steps that lead to success. The community school strategy is an initiative designed to transform and reimagine how schools operate so that students, families, and the community thrive. With this in mind, ETAC developed the Community School Implementation Roadmap in collaboration with National Implementation Research Network (NIRN). Broadly speaking the roadmap is used for the implementation of any new program, practice, or initiative. 

In November 2022, ETAC began a 4-session Community of Practice series (Nov. 9, Dec. 14, Mar. 9, and Apr. 13), “Implementing the Community School Roadmap Tool” led by ETAC Team Member Dr. JoAnne Ferrara to provide educators and administrators with the requisite skills needed to explore and implement the community school strategy. The roadmap provides specific tools for Technical Assistance Centers to use with educational practitioners as they implement the community school strategy at their site. Based on their extensive research and field testing, NIRN identified four stages of implementation: exploration, installation, initial implementation, and full implementation which are necessary to begin and sustain an initiative. A combination of downloadable forms and web links for each stage are embedded within the Roadmap. These easily accessible resources provide a systematic, comprehensive approach to help educators design their community school approach. 

While it is important to devote time to each stage, it’s recommended to spend a significant amount on the exploration stage. At this stage, stakeholders are beginning to think deeply about their vision. While visioning is critical it also requires concrete steps, such as forming an implementation team, conducting a needs and asset assessment, considering fit and feasibility, and building community school champions. Unless these components are securely in place there’s a risk that the community school strategy remains merely a lofty idea that never materializes.

Here are a few suggestions for what to do next:

1) start small,

2) create a clear vision, and

3) build a network of support.

Finally, assess stakeholders’ readiness and willingness to undertake a transformative initiative:
the community school approach.


The June Community of Practice marks the end of Rockland 21C’s tenure as the Eastern Region Technical Assistance Center (ETAC). It has been a pleasure these past five years serving the Eastern Region in partnership with the New York State Education Department. We wish you all the best.

For any questions specific to the Eastern NY region, please contact studentsupportservices@nysed.gov