The Community Schools Approach: Raising Graduation and College Going Rates

The Community Schools Approach: Raising Graduation and College Going Rates
August 1, 2009 Stuart Foundation

With funding from the Stuart Foundation, the Coalition for Community Schools, in partnership with the National Association for Secondary School Principals has released a study by Rita Axelroth, The Community Schools Approach: Raising Graduation and College Going Rates—Community High School Case Studies.  This review examined eight community schools yielding evidence of rising graduation and college going rates and a reduction in drop-out rates. Schools from around the nation, including one of the Foundation’s cornerstone community school sites in Tukwila, WA, have found ways to reconnect with youth and enrich their educational experiences. These secondary institutions come from the poorest and most ethnically diverse parts of the country and have identified the inextricable relationship between schools, the community and student success.

In addition to Tukwila, WA, schools from around the nation in this study come from Bronx, NY; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Indianapolis, IN; Philadelphia, PA;  and Portland, OR. Themes that flow through the report stress the importance of reciprocal partnerships, collaborative leadership, and the alignment of resources to serve children, youth, and families. Community schools implement many of the strategies aligned with Breaking Ranks II: Strategies for Leading High School Reform. Community schools get their strength from the local community as they create personalized environments, ensure a relevant and rigorous curriculum, and build sustainable partnerships that put a caring adult in a student’s life before, during, and after school and during the summer.