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Community Schools Model Passes House and Senate

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, left, and Senate President Don Williams told the Education Committee that the community schools model focuses existing resources to effectively address community needs.

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, left, and Senate President Don Williams told the Education Committee that the community schools model focuses existing resources to effectively address community needs.

Schools in Connecticut will soon have a new option for providing various educational and social services to students, families, and community members. An Act Concerning Community Schools passed the Connecticut House today, has already passed the Senate, and Governor Malloy is expected to sign it into law.

The bill allows any public school to adopt a Community Schools model, and lists the model as one of the choices available to turnaround schools in the Commissioner’s Network.

Speaking before the legislature’s Education Committee in support of the bill, CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg said, “Schools today need to be lighthouses of hope for all members of the community. Thriving community school models show progress because they fully address all the needs of the students, parents, and the community as a whole.”

Senate President Don Williams supports the community school model as a different and vitally important approach to turning around public schools. He told the Education Committee that the model “focuses all the programs we consider extras,” including meal programs, healthcare services, special education, and English as a second language.

“This is a great model that will help us build on reforms created last year,” said Senator Williams.

The community schools model has been proven effective in various communities across the country, including in California, Washington, Cincinnati, Syracuse, and Washington, D.C.

3 Comments
  1. SuzyS #

    This drives me crazy! Schools are for educating children. That’s it. Run social services out of municipal buildings. Every time a service is needed, a child is pulled out of class. We have a dentist in our school, for crying out loud. Parents need to take care of their children’s needs on their own time, not the school’s time, whether they use social services or their own providers.

    Additionally, schools already can’t handle their large populations in their outdated, un-air-conditioned buildings, don’t have enough parking, violate fire codes on a regular basis, and don’t have enough classrooms. But the state, who isn’t going to fund any of this stuff from a building-use perspective (rent, insurance, etc), thinks it’s a good idea to stuff more staff and services into our schools.

    And what about school security? Again, the state is providing no additional funding for increased security, but this plan will invite community adults into our children’s schools every day. Who is clearing all these visitors? The 60 year old office secretaries?

    I realize this isn’t mandatory, but this is in theory, a ‘nice’ idea, but in practice, a terrible one, and not in support of increasing academic achievement.

    May 20, 2013
    • SuzyS, read the bill. Your concerns seem to be premature and could use a few visits to schools today. To take care of a few: secretaries at schools are definitely not 60 on average and they follow the visitors procedures with locked outter doors, intercom communications with the person requesting to enter, signing in, badges, etc. And last it is an unfunded mandate on alliance districts to identify and stand up these programs at a minimum of 3 schools – I don’t know what district you’re in, but mine would be directly affected. I call it unfunded because it’s an “as available” grant.

      My concerns are the strain it will place on my already struggling district, administratively, and school governance council wise (who aren’t even functioning completely, or being acknowledged and worked with per state statute [Bridgeports recent complaint filed mirrors one we should put in]). Next, the school will be collecting private information from the parents and students to conduct their audit. And lastly, the closer relationship that will be attempted between private and public entities…resulting in more money going to private pockets.

      May 22, 2013

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