/ March 18, 2016
One city that has shown spectacular results with turning public schools into publicly run community schools is Cincinnati. In 2003, before introducing community schools in Cincinnati, only 51 percent of all students graduated. However, in 2014, when 34 out of 55 schools had adopted the community-school strategy, 82 percent of all students graduated.

Cincinnati also shows how community schools can effectively combat racial inequality in our nation. In Cincinnati, the black/white achievement gap dropped a whole 10 percent over the 11 years, following the adoption of the community-school strategy. Similar results are seen in New York, Baltimore, Kentucky, Ohio, Minnesota, and other places where community schools have been prioritized.

How did Cincinnati achieve those results? It made sure its community-school strategy included these six key research-backed elements: 1) culturally relevant and engaging curricula; 2) an emphasis on high-quality teaching, not on high-stakes testing; 3) wraparound supports such as health care and social services; 4) positive discipline practices; 5) authentic parent and community engagement, and; 6) inclusive school leadership….

Recently, the Center for Popular Democracy released the report “Community Schools: Transforming Struggling Schools into Thriving Schools,” using Cincinnati as an example of a truly transformational community school strategy.

Philadelphia can join Cincinnati in setting a high bar for how community-schools can transform the lives of students and the communities in which they live.

Published: March 18, 2016 — 3:01 AM EDT Philadelphia Daily News

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