I heard from Sarah Jonas, executive director of New York City’s Office of Community Schools, about the good work of community schools. Note that the results refer to engagement in school, not test scores. That’s good news!

I asked Jonas for a brief description of the community schools model. She wrote:

The principal and his/her leadership team (i.e. SLT) formally partner with a community-based organization (aka Lead CBO) through a contract to do three things: 1) collaborate with families to develop a vision for and co-lead the community school; 2) provide services that meet the needs of the community and the whole child (i.e. social-emotional, physical, and cognitive); 3) hire a community school director to coordinate services to ensure that the right services support the right child at the right time.”

To learn more about them, open the link to the RAND report:

Dear Diane,

I am reaching out to share exciting news about our Community Schools work in NYC.  As you may know, we hired the RAND Corporation early in the launch of NYC’s Community Schools initiative to study implementation and impact of the work.

Today, RAND will release the impact study entitled “Illustrating the Promise of Community Schools: An Assessment of the Impact of the NYC Community Schools Initiative” that will offer incredibly encouraging news.  Mayor de Blasio will hold a press conference about the report at PS 67, a Community School near Fort Greene.

According to the report, NYC is implementing Community Schools  on a scale that has not been seen before in the United States.  RAND found that “the Community Schools strategy is having tangible and significant impact on a variety of student outcomes.”  Specifically:

Students in Community Schools are more likely to graduate on time.  In 2017-18, graduation rates in community schools were 7.2 percentage points higher than comparison schools.

• Students miss fewer days of school.  Chronic absenteeism was 7.3 percentage points lower in community elementary and middle schools, and 8.3 points lower in high schools.

• Disciplinary incidents declined sharply in elementary and middle schools compared to non-community schools.  For every 100 students in elementary and middle community schools, community schools had 10 fewer disciplinary incidents per year.

It is encouraging to see significant impact across a range of domains including academic, attendance and behavior.    Attached is a two-page summary with more details. The full report can be viewed at this link on RAND’s website.

The Washington Post ran a story about the report this morning, and we expect more media coverage after the press conference.  Please help spread the good news to your networks on social media –  #CommunitySchools!!