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The community connection: Ideas for your school

Put these ideas to work to find out how your school is connecting with the community.

GreatSchools Blog

By GreatSchools Staff

If you believe that "it takes a village to raise a child," you'll want to know about the connections between your school and its surrounding community.

One measure of community involvement is the quantity of volunteer participation. Even more important is the character of that involvement.

When you visit a school, ask about what kind of work volunteers have done for the school. Who is involved? Companies? Community organizations? Students from nearby schools or colleges? What are they doing? Tutoring students? Raising money?

In talking to teachers, parents, administrators and community members, you might want to ask additional questions that get at the kind of relationship between the school and its community:

  • What are the primary issues being addressed by the district school board? Are those meetings civil? Do they seem to be focused on issues central to the quality of teaching and learning in district schools?
  • Are young people coming to school ready to learn? Does the surrounding community make an effort to ensure that they do?
  • Do parents and other community members participate in setting goals for the school and reviewing its performance?

Finally, ask about how students have been involved in the surrounding community. If this is important to you, look for signs that the school provides meaningful opportunities for students to be involved in the community outside of the school campus.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

08/16/2010:
"Yes my name is Miss: Erin Rebecca Chase I would like to know if their is a Community Connections, Inc. Opportunties For People Who Have Disabilties and that is closer to my house area at 758 Main Street House #:758 Acushnet, Massachusetts. 02743-1100. (508) 997-1893. Email address is at: erinrchase@snmail.net Signature's Name: Miss: Erin Rebecca Chase I live with my parents Heidi Ange Chase and Curtis Dewitt Chase are two of my parents."
10/20/2009:
"In Girl Scouts with new troops forming in APS schools, girls get involved in their district communities. Service is an inherent part of Girl Scouting. No matter what age a girl joins, she can share in meaningful projects that promote civic responsibility and see how her efforts can impact her community. At the Daisy Girl Scout level (kindergarden) community service can include simple things like planting flowers in abandoned lots and visiting senior centers. Teen and young adult girls create innovative projects that change people's lives. Girl Scout Gold Awards are given to girls 14 to 17, many of whom perform unbelievably ambitious projects. One honoree developed a project to provide free eye care to residents of a village in India. Another developed a series of self-defense classes for homeless women living in a shelter for victims of physical abuse. 'If you have an idea that will do good, follow it up, and don't fear that because it is only you, it cannot succeed.' "
09/5/2003:
"Communities In Schools is a national non profit dedicated to connecting community resources with schools to help students successfully learn, stay in school and learn life skills. We work with schools and the community to help bridge the gap and bring them together by using the community resources to support schools. We are successful because of the volunteers/parents that help. http://www.cisnet.org "
03/19/2003:
"What can we do to get parents/students accountable for their behavior? Our student/ parent/school compacts signed at the begin- ing of the school year are ineffective. Poor manners, disrespect, and a apathetic learning attitude prevails. Students are not willing to accept responsibility for their education and many parents appear unconcerned. Do we really have to resort to having parent con- ferences at the ballfield due to their lack of academic concern? I am often ashamed to acknowledge that I'm a member of this com- munity due to the lack of family and educat- ional committment that I see in our small rural Florida town. We want our students to be great. We want our school to be great. Teachers alone can't do it. We need proper parent support. "
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