Strengthening the relationship between Community Development and Schools

Community Members Plant Trees near School
photo courtesy of Alliance for Community Trees on Flickr

The relationship between community development and school achievement often goes hand-in-hand: the safer, healthier, and more economically stable the community, the better the educational performance in their schools.

A report by Laura Choi, a research associate at the Community Development Department, examines the link between the two, focusing on how better collaboration across multiple sectors can improve academic achievement among low-income students. She notes that both federal and local programs to develop broader partnerships between public schools and their surrounding communities all work best when aligned across many sectors – MPO’s, school districts, local businesses, and families.

Using public schools as a hub, relationships are fostered between educators, families, community-based organizations, local businesses, and youth development organizations which together promote high educational achievement in the community.

The community meanwhile provides the support and resources necessary for the schools to flourish and educate students to be not only academically adept but also good stewards of their neighborhoods. The unique needs of each community requires cooperation from multiple parties, creating partnerships which deepen the impact of their efforts in services which foster an environment where children are able to succeed, such as affordable housing, workforce development, financial services, and community development finance. Community businesses invest in the quality of their neighborhoods and schools, while schools provide the employment and customers to local businesses. Strong partnerships also encourage joint use of schools and community facilities, reducing the economic burden on the community, its organizations, and its residents.

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