Learning Policy Institute|COMMUNITY SCHOOLS AS AN EFFECTIVE SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT STRATEGY/December 13, 2017
The nationally recognized Cincinnati Public Schools Community Learning Centers (CLC) initiative in Ohio was launched in 2001 to address the growing need for neighborhood-based support services for students, their families, and the general community. Each CLC neighborhood-based “hub” offers targeted support to students and families through a Resource Coordinator who establishes partnerships with community-based organizations. These services include tutoring, college access activities, mentoring, after-school programming, youth leadership initiatives, family engagement opportunities, and health and wellness services (aligned with the integrated student supports, expanded learning time and opportunities, and family and community engagement pillars).
Evaluation research on the impact of CLC provides insight about academic and behavioral outcomes, finding that students receiving CLC services had better attendance and showed significant improvements on state graduation tests. This evidence comes from an internal report compiled by Cincinnati Public Schools in 2012–13 that includes statistical analyses of administrative data for this systems-level initiative (ESSA Tier 4).406 At the time of the evaluation, 34 school sites had resource coordinators, over 400 community partners were engaged in offering services, and nearly 18,000 students were served at CLC schools.
Participating high school students showed significant improvements on a state-administered standardized graduation test for reading (47% improvement in performance rank associated with tutoring and other intensive interventions) and mathematics (36% improvement in performance rank associated with tutoring). Students receiving CLC classroom enrichment services averaged 2.5 fewer tardies from 2011–12 to 2012–13, while students placed “at risk” who received targeted support benefited even more from classroom enrichment, with 3.33 fewer tardies during that period. Students receiving classroom enrichment services also received an average of 0.39 fewer disciplinary referrals over the course of 1 year.