Austin Local News
A community coalition announces a new approach to overcome historic inequalities in public schools
In an era of reduced public school funding and growing economic inequity, a new approach is needed to ensure that all children and families, no matter their zip code, have the support and high-quality education needed for college and career success.
This new approach, which has shown promise locally and nationally, is “Community Schools,” which brings together strategic partnerships to support our public schools. Community Schools apply “all hands on deck strategies ” to lift up local neighborhood schools.
Each community school engages in a deep planning process to identify its strengths, needs and aspirations, engages partners, including city, county, business, nonprofits, higher education, health, faith-based and community organizations to work together, alongside teachers, parents, area residents and students. Whether it’s providing after school programs, supports for struggling students and families, resources for tech and workplace training, tutoring, mentoring or a host of other needs, Community Schools organize a transformative network of support for students and families.
In short, Community Schools are Partnership Schools where children, youth and families can reach their full potential. While all schools benefit from integrating a Community Schools approach, the Coalition believes that Austin’s schools and communities of color that have faced historic inequities that isolate low-income schools and and limit authentic engagement of parents, teachers, and community members, will be transformed by a broad commitment to expand Community Schools. Over the past 10 years, several schools in Austin have piloted this model and seen significant success and national attention, including Reagan Early College High School, which has built strong ties with its community, doubled its enrollment, increased its graduation rate from 48% to 90%, and added a partnership with ACC that helps Reagan students earn up to 60 college credits before high school graduation.
“Education is one of the most powerful engines for economic development” said Mayor Steve Adler. “I am excited and proud to support our local independent school districts and community partners as they launch the Greater Austin Community Schools Coalition, and I look forward to the gains they will make with this approach.”
The coalition is the result of 18 months of discussion that has involved many community organizations.