Mayor Bill De Blasio Focuses on Community Schools in New York City
Post written by Martin J. Blank, Director and President, Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership; and Shama S. Jamal, National Policy Emerson Fellow, Coalition for Community Schools
Community schools are high on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's education agenda; an agenda that he made a commitment to during his campaign and is now taking action on.
De Blasio's recent appointment of Richard Buery as the deputy mayor for strategic policy initiatives strengthens his vision and plan to implement 100 more community schools in the city. Buery's expertise and former work as chief executive officer at the Children's Aid Society will provide the foundation for a strategic expansion of community schools across the city. Children's Aid Society is a national model for implementing community schools in New York City and houses the National Center for Community Schools. It is a founding partner of the Coalition for Community Schools.
De Blasio's community schools agenda is connected to his priority to provide universal prekindergarten to all New York City children. A number of community school initiatives, including programs in Tulsa, Okla.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Hartford, Conn. are building "linkages" between early childhood and community schools that ensures a continuity and seamless alignment of support for children and their families.
De Blasio was not only inspired by the great progress in New York City. He also took the time during the mayoral campaign to visit Cincinnati's community schools, known as Community Learning Centers, where he saw what can happen when a whole community comes together to support its schools and their students and families. Learn more about Cincinnati's powerful work at the 2014 Community Schools National Forum from April 9–11 that is being held in that city.
Mayor De Blasio's implementation of 100 community schools in New York City is part of a growing movement and interest across the state and in communities across the country. The development and growth of community schools is a sign that school-community partnerships are becoming a mainstream idea in education reform.
The Coalition for Community Schools, a whole child partner organization, staffed by the Institute for Educational Leadership, is an alliance of national, state, and local organizations in education (cradle to career), youth development, community planning and development, higher education, family support, health and human services, government, and philanthropy as well as national, state, and local community school networks. The Coalition advocates for community schools as a strategy to leverage local resources and programs, changing the look and feel of the traditional school structure to best meet the needs of children and families in the 21st century.