Coalition for Community Schools defines community schools as “a place and a set of partnerships connecting a school, family, and community.” Implementing a successful community school necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the strategy as well as familiarity with the nuances of planning, development, and securing long-term sustainability. Community schools and the essential components of community schools are substantiated by a vast interdisciplinary collection of empirical research, review briefs, and qualitative observations.
The UCF Center for Community Schools offers training modules and presentations to assist community school professionals and partners in preparation efforts for full implementation and continuous improvement. Some topics for training include:
- Community school pillars (e.g., after-school programming, family and community engagement, integrated student supports)
- Asset mapping and needs assessments
- Data collection for continuous improvement
- Establishing, growing and leveraging community school partnerships
- Community school organizational structure and governance
Professional development opportunities advance the knowledge, productivity, and communication impact of community school professionals and stakeholders. The Center offers full- or half-day retreats for community school leadership teams to gather and learn about topics geared to elevate community school progress. The content of sessions are developed around the outcome objectives identified by participant groups.
Similarly, retreats and other professional development opportunities are designed specifically for community school professionals (i.e. directors, principals, after-school coordinators) to share insights while gaining education and resources for achieving long-term community impact.
On the Horizon
UCF Center for Community Schools is in the planning phase for providing live and self-paced training webinars, offering post-baccalaureate certification for community school administrators and educators inclusive of credit and non-credit webcourses. The center is also planning for the development of bachelor-level course electives for UCF students considering or pursuing a career within a community school setting.