Leadership Message

At The Children’s Aid Society, we often talk about community schools “as a strategy, not a program”− a strategy for ensuring that schools address the full range of students’ developmental needs.


Most of The Children’s Aid Society’s 20 community schools are located in neighborhoods with large numbers of immigrant families and responding to their multiple needs is central to the work of community schools.

The National Technical Assistance Center for Community Schools is proud of the connection it has had to the Netherlands Community Schools Initiative since its inception in 1994. Since then, at least 15 delegations of Dutch colleagues − including educators, human service professionals and elected officials − have visited our community schools in New York City, attended our biannual Practicum conference, hosted visits to their schools in Amsterdam and Groningen, and shared information about their successes and challenges. In this special issue of Partnership Press, we highlight some of the ways in which these sister schools help immigrants adapt to their new land. Gerard van de Burgwal is a Magnet and Extended Education Consultant in the Netherlands. He is one of the earliest and most faithful champions of the community schools initiative in Holland and is an admirer of the American Community Schools Movement (he is bringing yet another large group for a study visit to New York on March 23 and 24).

The Children’s Aid Society’s community schools employ early intervention to prevent and treat mental health problems. While school-based clinical services are available to all students, our mental health staff proactively seek students who are more at risk, such as recent arrivals. Many immigrant students face barriers well beyond language acquisition and academic achievement. Cultural adjustment, grief, separation anxiety, poverty, fear, isolation and acculturation are stressors that many new arrivals must overcome. These challenges can bring serious consequences if unattended.