Leadership Message

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has repeatedly called for American schools to become “the centers of their communities,” which he defines as schools that offer a comprehensive array of student and family supports, are open longer hours and more days than traditional public schools and partner with community resources. At a recent national conference sponsored by The Children’s Aid Society, Duncan observed that “making every school a community school — that’s got to be our collective vision.”



Local News    In 1994, The Children’s Aid Society in New York City received a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to launch a National Technical Assistance Center for Community Schools. Since then, the Center has assisted nearly all of the country’s major community schools initiatives, using a capacity-building approach that combines multiple, inter-related strategies.

National News    The SUN Community Schools initiative in Multnomah County, Oregon, celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. According to Diana Hall, Program Supervisor, SUN Service System, over the last decade, SUN has moved from a small-scale effort to a system of community schools, expanding from eight community school sites in 1999 to 58 in 2009. SUN’s ability to not only sustain but also grow the number of sites and deepen its collaborative partnership has relied on consistent capacity-building efforts at multiple levels: community/site, lead agency, operations/administrative and leadership.

International News    There is much to learn from England’s effort to turn all schools into Extended Services schools by the year 2010. The following account of capacity-building activities, results to date and lessons learned was written in 2008 by Julian Piper, ContinYou, former Director of Extended Schools Support Service.