A Program of the Community Service Council    |   December 2016 
Seasons greetings from the Center for Community School Strategies! Can you believe 2016 is drawing to an end?! We have many things to celebrate and be proud of from this past year...such as successfully launching the Center and new website, promoting our family engagement work through the Power of Families Project, and our amazing team working proactively to support the needs of our schools, families and children. We couldn't do this work without our community partnerships and funders who are so willing to give of their time and talent. Giving to the neediest is common during the holiday season, but we know that our work and the needs of our community continue throughout the entire year. And so, in the spirit of the holidays, here's to taking the time, during this season and everyday, to share a little love, peace and hope with those around us. We hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for an amazing 2017!  

Your Center for Community School Strategies Team: Paige, Kelly, Lesley, Christina, Robin, Maria-Elena, Stacy, MariCruz, Magaly, Gabriella and Blanca!
In The News: Oklahoma City's First Community School 
Edgemere Elementary is Oklahoma City's first Community School, an historic Title I school located in the Paseo district.

On November 23, Oklahoma City Public Schools' first Community School was featured in the Oklahoma Gazette in an article titled  Community aids local school in trying to end student poverty. The David R. Lopez Community School at Edgemere Elementary is in its third year as a Community School, led by Principal Alisa Stieg and Community School Coordinator Colin Strickland. In this short time, the school is already reporting many positive developments and outcomes attributed to re-opening their doors as an official Community School in 2014. 

Center Staff Member to Join Mayor Bynum's Leadership Team
Christina will begin her work with  Mayor Bynum next month.

Next month, Center for Community School Strategies staff member Christina Starzl Mendoza, currently serving as Coordinator of our Power of Families' Project and Conexiones programs, will be joining the City of Tulsa and Mayor G.T. Bynum as Assistant to the Mayor for Community Development and Policy. Christina will support Mayor Bynum on engagement and policy development with Tulsa's Hispanic Community. For four years, Christina has been a vital member of the Center, advocating for Tulsa's Hispanic families, and acting as a voice and resource for hundreds of individuals. Her vibrant spirit and caring heart will be missed, but we know she will accomplish great things in her new role as she continues to be an invaluable source of support and strength for countless more Tulsans. We wish you all the best, Christina! 

Our Work Featured in a New National Education Report 

The Institute for Educational Leadership is the parent organization to our national partner, The Coalition for Community Schools.

The  latest report from Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Educational Leadership, features our work as TACSI and now the Center for Community School Strategies in creating strong connections between early childhood systems and Community Schools, and in developing a birth through age eight strategy. The report is titled  Patterns of Practice: Case Studies of Early Childhood Education & Family Engagement in Community Schools, which highlights efforts in nine different communities, including Tulsa. A link to Tulsa's section can be found in the Table of Contents or on page 53. Read the IEL Report >

Partnership Spotlight


Only 28% of children in Oklahoma receive even one screening before they enter school. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends regular developmental screenings during a child's first 5 years. Sprouts offers online developmental screenings free of charge.

As a part of our Early Childhood focus area, we work closely and partner on several projects with Tulsa-based Sprouts Child Development Initiative, which provides free online developmental screening, assessment and follow up, offers early childhood resources, and connects families to local community services. Through these efforts, Sprouts and the Center for Community School Strategies strive to help ensure Tulsa's children are developmentally ready to enter Kindergarten, and equally as important, that Tulsa's schools are informed on developmentally-appropriate practices that prioritize educating the whole child.
Wishing you joyful holidays!

Paige Whalen, Program Manager

The Center for Community School Strategies is a program of the Community 
Service Council in Tulsa, Oklahoma (A United Way Partner Agency) and an affiliate partner of the National Center  for Community Schools of the Children's Aid Society, New York City.