Community Schools For Philadelphia


Initiated out of the efforts of the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) , the Community School Task Force of Philadelphia is a coalition of community advocates, youth, parents, and educators who are committed to the enactment of community schools as a strategy to support the transformation of  Philadelphia’s public school system. We think community schools:

  1. are public, democratic institutions where students, parents, school workers, and the  community have a real voice. To  make  this  happen,  governance  structures  that  are  transparent  and  accountable  must  be  put  into  place  at  the  city  and  school  level


  1. increase accessibility to services and supports needed by students and their families  while ensuring that certified professionals are not replaced. Every  community  school  needs  a  full time  coordinator  to  bring  together  the  school  community  with  the  resources,  outside  social,  health,  and  other  services  needed.  The  school  will  become  a  hub  of  community  life.    Partnerships  will  be  essential  but  must  work  side-by-side  with  school- based  professional  staff  including  nurses,  librarians,  counselors,  and  others.    
  1. promote learning with an engaging, culturally relevant curriculum that develops critical  thinking, creativity, and respect for diversity. All  students  deserve  rigorous,  engaging,  culturally  relevant  curriculum  that  builds  on  their  interests,  experiences,  and  knowledge.  All  schools  must  offer  high-level  course  work,  all  facets  of  the  arts  and  social  sciences,  health,  nutrition,  physical  ed,  and  ESOL.    Teachers  need  effective  professional  development  to  strengthen  their  ability  to  do  this  work  and  to  deeply  engage  with  each  other  and  with  their  students.    
  1.  implement positive school discipline, mutual respect, and a safe environment. A  community  school  is  an  opportunity  to  build  a  new  kind  of  school  climate  that  alleviates  or  greatly  reduces  harsh  discipline  practices  such  as  suspensions,  expulsions,  and  arrests  and  instead,  engages  in  restorative  practices  so  that  students  learn  and  grow  from  their  mistakes  and  remain  a  part  of  the  community.  Every  member  of  the  school  community  needs  training  and  support  in  making  this  shift.    
  1. need full and equitable funding. While  the  core  of  community  schools  is  not  expensive  and  in  fact  can  be  very  cost-effective,  all  schools  need  to  be  fully  resourced.    We  can’t  let  community  schools  become  a  substitute  for  equitable  funding.  We  must  all  continue  to  fight  for, among other things,  an  equitable  state  funding  formula,  an  end  to  corporate  loopholes, as well as tap into federal resources, such as presented by ESSA .
  1.  call for a new metric for measuring success.  In  addition  to  traditional  metrics  like  graduation  rates  and  test  results,  we  need  measures  of  school  climate,  afterschool  enrollment,  parental  engagement,  and  more.  We  need  both  qualitative  and  data-driven  benchmarks  and  participatory  evaluations  that  are  reported  out  to  the  broader  community  in  public  meetings.  

Motivated by this vision of a community schools strategy, the task force is deeply involved in both engaging local political officials as well as educating others about the strategy in order to expand and nurture our collective awareness of what a community school is, and how it fits as a strategy of social change.

Logo created by the Community School Task Force

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