A Program of the Community Service Council    |   July 2017

Dear Partners, Friends and Supporters,

We are all familiar with change. Sometimes we welcome it. Other times, we slowly adjust as we move forward. The common foundation we stand on is that we are in this field to help kids succeed. We believe in their futures and what that means for our community. With the right supports, every child can reach his or her full potential.
 
We have amazing changes happening at the Community Service Council. All of our education initiatives are now in one division. These include Tulsa Carrera Program, Child Care Resource Center, Power of Families Project, Center for Community School Strategies , Sprouts Child Development Initiative, and Jump Start Tulsa. We will share more about the se CSC initiatives in upcoming newsletters. We also welcomed our newest team member, Erin Velez, who is working with schools on everything from family engagement to organizing after-school programming.
 
"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." ~William Arthur Ward
 
Sincerely,
 
Paige Whalen, Education Division Director, Community Service Council
Principal Ryan Glaze works with families to support student success.
Jenks East Elementary Adopts Community School Philosophy
to Support Students and Families

Principal Ryan Glaze, Jenks East Elementary, outlines his school's decision to begin implementing Community School strategies...

It's amazing how often one forgets to consider the direct correlation between a school and its community, or a community and its school.
They are intertwined in substantive ways. We have watched attentively over the past decade as the community served by Jenks East Elementary has grown and changed. With this change, the needs of our families and students have shifted dramatically. As a result, we have refined and redoubled our efforts as a school in response. What we discovered was a simple understanding with complex implications: 
  • Schools and communities have a shared and mutual responsibility to assist each other in achieving their collective goals.
  • Things that happen outside of the traditional scope of school operations can have a dramatic effect on the efficacy of the school. Therefore, it is a reasonable expectation that the school would commit resources and energy to making gains in these areas in addition to the work of teaching/learning.
  • The strength of a community can be informally quantified in how it's most vulnerable members are cared for. The school is a safe place for some of our most fragile community members. Therefore, it has the capacity to serve as a hub for those (and all) people, making the community more vibrant and the school more successful.
These, among other understandings, have led us to expand upon our work through the lens of implementing Community School Strategies at Jenks East Elementary. We have added a full-time staff member, Erin Bushong, who is serving as our Community School Coordinator and have already seen incredible engagement and excitement upon completing our initial needs assessments and connecting with our existing partners. Some exciting plans for the upcoming year include before/after-school programming, focused early learning opportunities, additional wrap-around services, area service-learning opportunities, and much more! We look forward to growing our network of support and purposeful partnership in the upcoming year and seeing the positive impact it has on our school and community! 

Ryan Glaze, Principal - Jenks East Elementary
Research Brief Names Community Schools as an Evidence-Based and Equity Focused School Improvement Strategy

The new brief from the  National Education Policy Center  and  Learning Policy Institute , entitled Community Schools: An Evidence-Based Strategy for Equitable School Improvement, demonstrates how Community Schools can be a successful strategy for improving schools under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

View the video  of Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO of Learning Policy Institute and Julia Daniel, Ph.D. candidate in Educational Foundations at the University of Colorado Boulder announcing the brief.
Coalition for Community Schools Logo
Tulsa Community School Featured in New York Times Article

"Who Needs Charters When You Have Public Schools Like These?" is the straightforward title of the feature published in the New York Times on April 1 detailing the achievements of McAuliffe Elementary of Union Public Schools. 

The article was written by David Kirp, professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and author, most recently, of "Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools." During a visit to Tulsa on Nov. 2, 2016, Mr. Kirp toured McAuliffe Elementary, a full-service Community School. From the time he spent there, he wrote a commendatory review not only of McAuliffe Elementary, but of Union as a district, and of Community Schools as a strategy for success.

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"The truth is that school systems improve not through flash and dazzle but by linking talented teachers, a challenging curriculum and engaged students. This is Union's not-so-secret sauce: Start out with an academically solid foundation, then look for ways to keep getting better."
- David Kirp, New York Times Contributing Op-Ed Writer

The Center for Community School Strategies Expands
 

Erin Velez has joined the Center for Community Schools Strategies team as School Consultant. She comes to us from Union Public Schools, where she worked as a Community School Coordinator in a high poverty elementary school for the past eight years. Before that, she worked with Head Start programs and the YWCA of Tulsa in the field of early childhood, youth development programming, and community engagement. Erin has been a member of the National Community Schools Coordinator Team for the past two years.

Community School Students Featured in Tulsa World article 

Students from McAuliffe Elementary, a full-service Community School, were featured in the Tulsa World on June 28 for distributing free veggies they grew in a Global Gardens summer program offered at the school. Read the Tulsa World article >

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.
csstrategies.org  | 918.831.7237 |  pwhalen@csctulsa.org