NYC Regional Update
Interest in Community Schools Expands Across New York City
There are over 260 officially designated “community schools” under the Office of Community Schools (OCS) at New York City’s Department of Education — and each year, more schools are interested in becoming one. Fordham’s Community Schools Technical Assistance Center (CSTAC) is here to support aspiring schools through their process of understanding the community school strategy, accessing necessary technical resources, and completing an Assets and Needs Assessment (A&N) for OCS. It is beneficial for education professionals at these prospective schools to understand and engage with the community school strategy from the beginning, as this may put their school in the position to formally join New York City’s community school network in the future.
This Spring, Principal Olga Maluf of PS 316 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, attended one of Fordham CSTAC’s Critical Issues Conversations, a professional development event offered to all schools in New York City, not just community schools. The Critical Issues Conversations promoted participant discussion on collaborative leadership, parent engagement, and classroom impacts through a community school lens. PS 316 is not currently a community school, but Maluf shared, “it was enlightening to participate in a deep discussion with other educators and members of the community school movement, where I could be privy to their journey and their accomplishments to provide services to their community.”
Following the event, CSTAC visited PS 316 and supported staff in reviewing the defining factors of a community school, and introducing the Assets and Needs Assessment (A&N). PS 316’s A&N was immediately implemented, and its results concretely documented not only their students’ barriers to learning, but also the many resources already in place to provide support. PS 316 is thriving in its latest ELA scores, yet Principal Maluf wants to see “not only the child at the center, but the family too,” adding, “I think that’s the great distinction.” PS 316 would love to keep the building open after 6 pm with opportunities for adult learning, and would also like to increase access for students and families to comprehensive medical services. “Community schools are part of the answer for equity and excellence for all,” says Maluf, and the Fordham CSTAC, “is an organization that can stand behind us as we engage in this process to bring more resources and opportunity for our students, parents, and community.”
For any schools interested in becoming a community school, do not hesitate to call (212-636-6100) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) today!