The Community Schools Revolution demonstrates how cities and districts across the country have designed strategies over the past three decades that enable schools to close opportunity and achievement gaps for historically marginalized students. The authors offer strong evidence and vivid examples that make a compelling case for community schools as an effective school improvement strategy – one that can be adapted to a wide variety of local contexts.
Linda Darling-Hammond, Professor Emerita, Stanford University, and President, Learning Policy Institute
Community schools are the equity strategy of our time. The long history of community schools is rooted in racial and social justice. The authors effectively capture the stories, reflections, and successes that define the impact and potential of the modern community schools movement across the country.
Becky Pringle, President, National Education Association
Addressing educational, social, and economic inequality is the issue of our time. The Community Schools Revolution takes on this challenge by documenting how cities and districts around the United States have acted collectively to organize school and community resources around student success. In their narrative, the authors ably document the growth, successes, and challenges of a quiet social movement that began 30 years ago, is flourishing now, and promises ongoing results for the future.
Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
The authors have expertly gathered their collective wisdom, the experiences of those doing the work, and the decades of evidence supporting this strategy to beautifully illustrate what makes community schools successful. And they show the path forward, building off the lessons we have learned until every school is a community school. The stories highlighted show not only the journey, but the impact community schools have had on students, teachers, and families. In diverse communities from Ohio to New Mexico, New York to California, the community schools strategy has brought schools and families together and helped them to organize local resources, assets, and partners not only to address challenges, but to create new opportunities for kids and communities to thrive. This is an important read for anyone wanting to better understand what is possible when the community and schools work together and learn how it can be done.
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
For each of us committed to replenishing U.S. democracy and justice, we know well that bottom-up social movements must be a central driving force. But we often wonder: what do these movements actually look like – from ideas to theory to organizing to practice? This book powerfully makes plain all these elements in describing the most potent social movement in public education, the community schools movement, which is dramatically expanding the life chances for literally hundreds of thousands of young people across the country. This book, co-written by key figures who helped build the movement over the past 30 years, is a must-read for anyone wanting truly equitable, democratic improvements in public schools driven by and with their communities.
Cyrus Driver, Director, Partnership for the Future of Learning
How very sad that we still need a book like this, arguing what should have been obvious long ago: if we are serious about wanting every child to flourish, then children from underserved communities need the same kind of enriching, stretching, challenging, connecting experiences automatically available to children in privileged communities. It is hard to read these instructive and inspiring case studies and not wonder why we aren’t doing this kind of work everywhere.
Charles Payne, Henry Rutgers Distinguished Professor of African American Studies and Director, Joseph Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Research, Rutgers University, Newark
The Community Schools Revolution, co-authored by pioneers in the field, lays out all the significant issues in developing and launching successful community schools. After reviewing the detailed accounts of six U.S. cities, one walks away from this classic with ideas about the many ways to build community schools and thus transform communities in any city in the nation.
Laura Bronstein, Dean, College of Community and Public Affairs, and Professor, Department of Social Work, Binghamton University
Did you know that chronic absenteeism has doubled since the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic and now affects nearly one of three students in the United States? Wondering how to address this daunting reality? Read The Community Schools Revolution for inspiration. Drawing upon powerful stories from across the United States, the authors show how schools, working together with a wide array of partners, can truly make a difference. By investing in relationship building and engaging learning experiences, community schools motivate “showing up.” Weaving together resources, community schools provide students and families with the health, economic and social support needed to overcome barriers to getting to school. Committed to listening to student and family voices, community schools offer pathways to success that build upon community assets and respond to local realities.
Hedy Chang, Executive Director and President, Attendance Works
I know the power of community to enable our young people to learn and thrive. The Community Schools Revolution demonstrates how to harness that power and return public schools to their vital role as centers of community and engines of community change.
Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education
This book comes at just the right time, as more school communities across the country explore the power and possibility of community schools to integrate transformative models of leadership, engagement, and learning -- all deeply rooted in the interests, experiences, and needs of students and families. The authors provide context, history, and vivid examples of how diverse places have taken the idea of community schools and made it their own. It’s a valuable and inspiring resource for anyone interested in understanding what is possible when a broad range of stakeholders come together, roll up their sleeves, and work to reimagine new ways of being, learning, and leading together.
Sophie Fanelli, President, Stuart Foundation
The Community Schools Revolution provides important and insightful analyses of the origins of and rationale for community schools, illustrated through several instructive case studies of initiatives across the country. New entrants to the community schools field and experienced practitioners alike will benefit from the perspectives of the authors – all of whom are giants in the movement.
Abe Fernández, Vice President for Collective Impact and Director, National Center for Community Schools, Children’s Aid
The Community Schools Revolution is a must-read for people looking to improve our education system and strengthen our society. The authors bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and insight to this book. By describing community school initiatives around the country, and the partnerships that drive them, the authors share lessons that are immensely valuable to the afterschool community. We should all support the continuing success of the community school movement they describe.
Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance
The Community Schools Revolution is an innovative book that delves into the profound effects of community schools on education, social justice, and democracy. Written by esteemed authorities in the field, the book illuminates the transformative capacity of community schools in nurturing partnerships, empowering communities, and promoting equitable educational opportunities for all students. It is an essential resource for educators, policymakers, and advocates who are dedicated to advancing education and social progress.
John H. Jackson, President and CEO, Schott Foundation for Public Education
The community schools movement has grown exponentially over the decades, firmly planting the essential role this strategy plays in creating and coordinating opportunities for children, youth, families, and communities to thrive. The Coalition for Community Schools continues to be at the heart of the movement to help further this essential engagement strategy to bring about meaningful and lasting education systems change. This book chronicles the key inflection points and lessons that will inform the field into the future.
Eddie Koen, President, Institute for Educational Leadership
The Community Schools Revolution draws upon the achievements of six different community school initiatives to elaborate critical implementation lessons for on-going and future undertakings. The authors, four veteran community school thought leaders, make a distinguished contribution in detailing a quarter century’s evolution of the community school movement to connect the “why” of community schools to the “how” of effective implementation in different local, regional, and state contexts.
Milbrey McLaughlin, David Jacks Professor of Education Emerita, Stanford University
Early engineers hoped education in the United States would bolster and sustain democratic principles. Similar to other parts of our democracy, the realities of both our investment in and execution of schools haven’t lived up to the goals of fostering freedom and equity. Community schools provide a practical pathway to recapture the purpose and promise of public education. To transform schools with communities as partners, we must follow the evolution, learn from the pioneers, and take the strategy of community schools into an ever-shifting future of learning. The Community Schools Revolution takes us on that journey and challenges us to chart the future of community schools with high-quality and sustainable systems; collaborative, innovative, and responsive approaches; and an ever-present focus on students within the context of their broader ecosystems. I hope every practitioner in Maryland will read this book to inform our ongoing expansion and implementation of community schools.
Ellie Mitchell, Director, Maryland Out of School Time Network
Transforming schools into community schools was very important before the pandemic, but even more so now. Today’s and tomorrow's economy, jobs, and civic fabric need much better-prepared young people and with a wider range of skills, interests, and capacities, including to learn to adapt and work together in teams. A higher quality school day is more important than ever, but schools -- and the regular school day activities and educators -- cannot meet these challenges alone. Students and families need the benefit of powerful positive relationships and the collective impact among school day personnel, comprehensive afterschool and summer enrichment opportunities, and a community’s people and supports. They clearly complement and strengthen each other, making the whole of a community school bigger than the sum of its parts. This new book provides the essential concepts, underpinnings, frameworks, and outstanding examples of how to start and grow community schools in your community and state.
Terry Peterson, Education Consultant, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; Senior Fellow, Riley Institute
Joy Dryfoos, a pioneer of the community schools strategy, said that “full-service community schools have the capacity to bring together in one space the resources and personnel that can strengthen both the school and the community.” She was, of course, right. Today’s community schools address the needs of the whole child in a comprehensive way, enabling students to access the kinds of services they need to perform their best in school and in life: academic, health, mental health, social-emotional, and so much more. Simply put, community schools help to level the playing field by providing equitable access to the resources all students need to thrive. We all have a common stake in our communities, so we all have a role to play in improving them for the benefit of all children.
Betty Rosa, New York State Commissioner of Education
We are in the midst of a great awakening that the authors of this work have stirred into reality decades ago. Partners all across the country are working with schools as the hub of service and support for students and families and this field is catching the attention of policy makers, educators, and funders in substantial ways. We can no longer stand for harm that is inflicted when we ignore the challenge of connecting the disconnected.
Rey Saldana, President and CEO, Communities in Schools
The founding leaders of the community schools movement have given us a path forward in The Community Schools Revolution. Democracy, equity, collaboration, and leadership will guide our path forward.
Jose Muñoz, Director, Coalition for Community Schools