Supporting Community Schools

What is a “Community School?”  As defined by the Coalition for Community Schools, a community school is a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. When fully implemented, the school becomes the hub of the neighborhood and the access point to services that are tailored specifically to meet child, parent, family and community needs.  By seamlessly and strategically integrating strong academics with housing, health, and other community supports, student learning improves, families become stronger, and communities become healthier, more desirable places to live and learn.  A Community School is not a program or initiative.  Rather, it is a strategy, a framework, and a way of thinking.  Core elements include:

  • Rigorous Instruction & High Expectations
  • Aligned Extended Learning Time
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Parent and Family Engagement
  • Adult Education and Workforce Development
  • Health and Mental Health Services
  • Social Services
  • Youth Development
How does CCSI support Community Schools?  CCSI is working closely with two Rochester area schools as they transition to a community school model, providing the essential structural (or “backbone”) supports needed to help them to achieve their goals.  Specific supports are driven by the school’s priorities and implementation plans.  Here’s what we’ve been focusing on this year.

Enrico Fermi School 17 has been working to transition to a community school model for nearly two years.  Early priorities have included:
  • enhancing trauma informed practices
  • moving toward a longer school day and year
  • summer learning
  • project-based learning
  • dual language enrichment program
  • restorative practices
  • strengthening relationships with parents and families
  • improving communication and coordination with 50+ school partners
  • ensuring highly engaging instruction. 
CCSI supports include:
A full-time, on-site Community Schools Coordinator who partners with principal to coordinate all the non-academic components of the Community School initiative, including communication with a broad array of stakeholders, developing the structures to enhance and sustain on-site services and supports, and facilitating linkages for case-specific needs;
Staff support for the school’s Community Engagement Team and its 7 active workgroups, which bring together school-based staff, parents, students and community partners to develop strategies to identify assets and address needs in priority areas including: adult education/ workforce development, health and wellness, social services, parent / family engagement, community engagement, youth development, and early childhood education; and
Specialized training / implementation support to strengthen practice in key areas such as trauma responsiveness and identifying community assets, strengths and resources. 

As a school in receivership, Erico Fermi must meet specific performance targets related to both safety and academic performance.  Progress has been encouraging - and must continue.  Check back on this page for updates as these data become available. 

Support for CCSI’s work at School 17 is provided by the Rochester City School District and the Farash Foundation.

Kodak Park School 41 is in the early stages of implementation.  So far, CCSI’s supports have included a full-time Community Schools Coordinator who began her work on-site earlier this month.  Initial efforts have focused on identifying critical student and family needs and making connections to existing community resources.  
Support for CCSI’s work at School 41 is provided by the Rochester City School District.
How Can I Learn More About Community Schools?  Contact Elizabeth Meeker, PsyD, Director of CCSI’s Training and Practice Transformation team at