What Does the Evidence Say About Community Schools?

Community School strategies, including early childhood education, student and family supports, after school programs and service learning, all have a wealth of evidence showing beneficial effects on student learning. As a comprehensive strategy, there is strong evidence both locally and nationally for the benefits of Community Schools. Here are a few examples, followed by a series of reports.

  • Over the past decade, high schools in Cincinnati have increased graduation rates 30+% using Community School strategies, including on-campus health, dental and vision clinics and strong parent and community engagement.
  • The Tulsa, OK Community School Initiative coordinates 150 community partners serving 27 elementary and middle schools. Community Schools outperform comparison schools by 32 points in math and 19 points in reading on state tests.
  • In Portland, OR, students at the SUN Community Schools outperformed comparable students at other schools, having significantly higher graduation rates, attendance rates and test scores.
  • Because of strong pilot results, Oakland (CA) Unified School District has adopted the Community School strategy district-wide.
  • A national study found that every $1 spent on Community School strategies leverages an average of $3 in community services.
  • In Austin, TX, Webb MS and Reagan HS faced closure for low academic performance in 2007. Using a Community School turnaround strategy, the schools are thriving in Austin’s lowest-income neighborhood. Webb is the highest performing Title 1 middle school in Austin. Reagan’s graduation rate has increased from 48% to 85%, with student’s now receiving up to 60 college credits by graduation. Both school’s have doubled in enrollment.

American Educator: Surrounded by Support

This 2009 edition of “American Educator” has several articles about the role that Community School strategies play in improving the odds for children in low-income neighborhoods.

Freeing Teachers to Teach: Students in Full-Service Community Schools Are Ready to Learn

Equalizing Opportunity: Dramatic Differences in Children’s Home Life and Health Mean That Schools Can’t Do It Alone

These Kids Are Alright

The Enduring Appeal of Community Schools