Innovation #10 Institutionalizing the work by developing the City/ County/District Department of Community Schools
Project Quick Links
Gregory Sherrow – Technology Advisor, 100% Community
Gregory Sherrow – Technology Advisor, 100% Community
The “county/city partnership that funds the department of community schools” project
Elevator pitch: We see community schools as a partnership between schools, city government, county government and higher education. When we scan the website for city hall, we should be able to see right next to the Departments of Police, Fire and Parks, the Department of Community Schools — “a partnership between schools and local government.” Why not? Now we know that in some cities like NYC, it is the mayor that controls the schools — including community schools. In other localities it might be the county or the school district. Our bottom line? We want this model institutionalized.
It’s a vital resource we need in order to ensure the safety and success of our students, who are future workers and taxpayers. We can live without well-groomed parks, but lacking vital resources for student health and success is not an option. (And the truth is, we can have both parks and community schools.)
Our partners: mayors, city councilors, school boards, county commissioners and advocates for student health, higher education leadership in programs of education, social work, behavioral health, health care and socially-engaged business leaders.
The “convene your fellow community school advocates and enhance your skills in public speaking, committee briefing, and how to get to a school board members or lawmaker” project
This project is a crash course that you develop with local experts about how to contact local and state leaders, give an elevator pitch on your projects, and the protocol for committee hearings that can lead to funding.
Deliverables: Find an accomplished colleague with good public speaking skills, along with a professional with experience lobbying/networking with elected leaders. Together, discuss how a workshop for the entire 100% New Mexico team could be created to enhance skills. Assess interest with teams, make a workshop plan, deliver and evaluate. (Suggested time frame: 3 months)
The “know your stuff before you meet the mayor, county commissioner or school superintendent” project
Innovation #10, in some ways, is putting it all together. By this we mean that, by the time your action team becomes familiar with all ten innovation areas and their projects, you will be prepared to meet with elected officials and stakeholders to discuss ways your school district, city and county can strengthen its support of community schools in their many enriching forms.
Deliverables: Identify at least one colleague to join you in reviewing every innovation project in this chapter. This means diving into all the research that you can get your hands on, starting with our links to support your project. Conduct an assessment of all 100% New Mexico team members to identify which projects are of interest and in development. From here, present your global overview of project development with the entire 100% New Mexico team for feedback. (Suggested time frame: 3 months)
The “create a bold vision and strategic plan” project
It’s time to create a detailed plan for this new (or improved) local Department of Community Schools within the school district (or some nonprofit?). As with previous projects, you will have learned its strengths and weaknesses, potential funding sources, and who the players are. You’ll be in a strong position to document what’s great, and needs to be kept as-is or expanded, and what needs to change.
Deliverables: After an assessment of county community schools (see Innovation #1) and a survey of all 100% New Mexico team members to identify which projects are of interest and in development, develop a draft outline of a strategic plan for a Department of Community Schools. From here, present the draft plan to the entire 100% New Mexico team for feedback. (Suggested time frame: 3–6 months)
The “become inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone” project
To address generational poverty, the Harlem Children’s Zone believed a partnership between the schools and community was essential for success. Beginning in 1990, the initial focus was on impacting just one city block and growing from there; addressing not just a few, but all problems impacting the families in this area. The model has been so successful, it has received national attention and schools interested in replicating its success can apply for federal dollars to do so.
Deliverables: Explore their website and connect with staff to fully understand their model, how they were formed and funded and their unique way of meeting the needs of students and family members. Present your findings in a one-page brief to the 100% New Mexico team, school community leaders and student support network. (Suggested time frame: 1 month)
Harlem Children’s Zone Model: https://aae.how/74
The “assess what Buffalo, NY has offered to families” project
The goal of community schools in NY is to 1) implement strong educational programs which reduce learning gaps, enrich and expand the curriculum and strengthen parent and community engagement in the school; 2) coordinate with Say Yes Buffalo and other local resources to offer medical, dental, health and wellness services at the school; 3) build partnerships with local organizations to implement high quality extended day and year programs of excellence to the entire community.
Deliverables: Explore their website and connect with staff to fully understand their model, how they were formed and funded, and their unique way of meeting the needs of students and family members. Present your findings in a one-page brief to the 100% New Mexico team, school community leaders, and student support network. (Suggested time frame: 1 month)
Say Yes Buffalo, NY: https://aae.how/75