Community Schools: A Strategy for Success

Learn more about the community school strategy and where you can find additional resources on how community schools work and how they support English language learners and immigrant students.

Districts across the country — including rural, suburban, and urban districts — are embracing the community school strategy as a way of addressing students' needs in order to help them succeed. Learn more about community schools, as well as the unique ways they can support English language learner (ELL) and immigrant families, from the resources and videos below.

For in-depth information, we recommend our videos featuring:

  • Shital Shah, community schools expert at the American Federation of Teachers
  • Wolfe Street Academy, a community school in Baltimore, MD with a significant ELL population

You can also find more discussion and examples of community schools in action on the Coalition for Community School's YouTube channel.


Community Schools: An Overview

The Coalition for Community Schools describes community schools the following way:

A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Community schools offer a personalized curriculum that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone – all day, every day, evenings and weekends.

To learn more, visit the American Federation of Teachers' resource section on community schools.

Video playlist: What is a community school?

Video playlist: The benefits of community schools

Video playlist: The community schools site coordinator

The impact of poverty on learning


What Community Schools Offer Students and Families

Learn about the wide range of services and activities community schools offer students and families, as well as the importance of identifying issues most relevant to a school community.

Addressing food scarcity in community schools

Health care services in community schools

After-school, extended-time, and summer learning programs in community schools

Community school success stories


Developing Community Partnerships on Behalf of ELL/Immigrant Students

Schools can build and strengthen community partnerships even if they aren't official community school sites. Here are some ideas for developing those partnerships.

Wolfe Street Academy: How a community school helps ELLs succeed

Video playlist: How community schools can support ELL/immigrant families

Video playlist: The benefits of partnering with a community school


Community School/Union Partnerships

Learn how unions are partnering with community schools and supporting the community school strategy.

Resources from the American Federation of Teachers

Resources from the National Education Association

Video playlist: How community schools can partner with unions


Becoming a Community School

Our featured experts offer ideas for schools who are considering becoming a community school.

How to adopt the community school strategy