Community Partnerships — Transforming Schools and Revitalizing Communities
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 the link between schools and communities. Its Community Learning Centers serve as hubs for community services and provide a system of integrated partnerships that promote academic excellence and offer recreational, educational, social, health, civic and cultural opportunities for students, families and the community.
Since launching in 2002, our CLC model has drawn national attention for successfully engaging community partnerships in school buildings. CLCs offer health services, counseling, after-school programs, nutrition classes, parent and family engagement programs, career and college access services, youth development activities, mentoring, arts programming and more.
A CPS Board of Education policy states that all district school buildings will serve as Community Learning Centers. The Board also developed written guidelines for the establishment of partnerships.
Board Policy No. 7500 — Community Learning Centers (revised 4/19/18)
Supporting Student Achievement
The goal of Community Learning Centers is to support student achievement while revitalizing neighborhoods and maximizing the community’s return on its investment in public schools. A full-time Resource Coordinator who knows the specific needs of the school, its families and the community is key to the success of a CLC. The Resource Coordinator recruits partnerships, and develops supports to meet the individual needs of students to impact school success and reflect community interests.
Cincinnati Public Schools receives funding from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and the United Way of Greater Cincinnati to contract with community agencies — such as the YMCA, Miami University, Activities Beyond the Classroom, GRAD Cincinnati, Talbert House, and Cincinnati Youth Collaborative — to employ Resource Coordinators for CLCs. The Community Learning Center Institute, a local non-profit organization and a partner with CPS, provides Resource Coordinators at six schools at no cost to the district.
CLCs engage the community through a variety of strategies, including:
- School governance and leadership (LSDMCs — Local School Decision-Making Committees)
- Co-located service partners (that is, health, recreation, adult education and the like)
- Door-to-door campaigns to inform and solicit support
- Community events, such as student performances, health fairs, etc.
- Service-learning projects and community service
- Recruitment campaigns for mentors and tutors
- Community Conversation meetings 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 to students and families. These partnerships are integrated and aligned to school goals, resulting in improved academic outcomes for CPS students.
Community Learning Center Manager
Office of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation
P. O. Box 5381
Cincinnati, OH 45201-5381