Community Partnerships — Transforming Schools and
Communities and schools are strongly linked — one seldom succeeds if the other fails. Schools need families and communities that are involved in the education of students; communities need schools that serve as centers of neighborhood life.
Cincinnati Public Schools has created campuses that strengthen this link between schools and communities. These schools, known as Community Learning Centers (CLC), serve as hubs for community services, providing a system of integrated partnerships that promote academic excellence and offer recreational, educational, social, health, civic and cultural opportunities for students, families and community. Over the past ten years, this model has drawn national attention for successfully engaging community partnerships in school buildings. CLCs offer health services, counseling, afterschool programs, nutrition classes, parent/family engagement programs, early childhood education, career and college access services, youth development activities, mentoring and arts programming. The Board of Education implemented a policy that all district school buildings be CLCs and developed written guidelines for the establishment of partnerships.
The goal of CLCs is to support student achievement, revitalize neighborhoods and maximize the community’s return on its investment in public schools. Each CLC includes a full-time Resource Coordinator who knows the needs of the school, families and community. The Resource Coordinator is key to the success of the CLC, as partnerships must be recruited, developed and supported to meet the individual needs of students, impact school success and reflect community interest. CPS receives funding from Greater Cincinnati Foundation, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, and Haile/US Bank Foundation to contract with community agencies, such as the YMCA, Urban League and Boys and Girls Club, to employ Resource Coordinators for CLCs. Community Learning Center Institute, a local non-profit and partner of the district, provides Resource Coordinators at 7 schools at no cost to the district. To date, Resource Coordinators have transformed 34 schools into Community Learning Centers.
CLCs engage the community through a variety of strategies, including:
- School Governance and Leadership (Local School Decision-Making Committee)
- Co-located service partners (i.e. health, recreation, adult education, etc.)
- Door-to-door campaigns to inform and solicit support
- Community events, such as student performances, health fairs, etc.
- Service Learning projects and community service
- Mentor and tutor recruitment campaigns
- Community Conversations with District Leadership at different school sites
- Community Newsletters
- Attendance and participation in Community Council Meetings
More than 600 CLC community partners have provided services valued at over $1 million dollars to students and families. These partnerships are integrated and aligned to school goals, resulting in improved academic outcomes for CPS students.
Additional Information Contact:
Community Learning Centers Coordinator
Public Affairs Department
P.O. Box 5381
Cincinnati, OH 45201-5381