NYC Regional Update
Fordham CSTAC Works with Existing and Aspiring Community Schools
The community school strategy in New York City is growing – over 250 schools are designated Community Schools by the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) – and schools throughout all boroughs today are providing services for students that are essential elements of a community school. For schools that are not yet Community Schools, Fordham’s Community Schools Technical Assistance Center (CSTAC) offered over 15 direct school visits during the 2018-2019 school year to discuss the strategy, contextualize its key elements, and offer tools to further address the needs of the whole child.
For next year, plans are already underway in working with the New York City Department of Education’s Office Office of Community Schools to work intensely with an additional 8-10 aspiring schools. In doing so, the Fordham CSTAC’s Director and Resource Specialist are present to respond to stakeholder questions, concerns, and ideas about the strategy, while sharing the best practices that current Community Schools use to incorporate health, social service, family engagement, and expanded learning resources. During visits, CSTAC staff may introduce and facilitate an Assets and Needs Assessment (A&N), developed by the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Community Schools, which explores and develops school goals to mitigate barriers to learning. Through collective discussions and consensus-based decisions among administrators, teachers, parents, and more, the schools submit assessment results and receive a Site Report from the NYCDOE that summarizes their progress. The report demonstrates not just what the school may need to address, but perhaps more importantly what the school may already have in place to support, holistically, its students. Schools view suggestions, feedback, and tips for their work ahead, and the Fordham CSTAC is ever on-hand to support.
Throughout this work, it is clear that the more New York City schools learn about the community school strategy, the more interest and access they build in knowing and addressing what is best at school for the whole child.