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  Free To Grow
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  of Public Health
  Columbia University
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  New York, NY 10032

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NOTE: as of April 17, 2007, the Free to Grow program has closed.
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Coalition for Community Schools
Schools: Schools / Education

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> A Handbook for State Policy Leaders - Community Schools

> Community Schools: A Vision of Learning that Goes Beyond Testing

> Children's Aid Society

> Beacon Schools

The Coalition for Community Schools: Strengthening Schools, Families and Communities, brings together local, state and national organizations that represent individuals and groups engaged in creating and sustaining community schools.


The Coalition for Community Schools works to improve education and to help students learn and grow while supporting and strengthening their families and communities. Community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of supports and opportunities to children, youth, families and communities -- before, during and after school, seven days a week. The Coalition's mission is to mobilize the resources and capacity of multiple sectors and institutions to create a united movement for community schools. The Coalition's goals are to:

  • Share information about successful community school policies, programs and practices;
  • Build broader public understanding and support for community schools;
  • Inform public and private-sector policies in order to strengthen community schools; and develop sustainable sources of funding for community schools.
(Adapted from information on the website of the Coalition for Community Schools, 2000,,  and used with the permission of the Institute for Educational Leadership)


Family engagement: Families of community school students show increased stability, communication with teachers and school involvement. Parents demonstrate a greater sense of responsibility for their children's learning success.

School effectiveness: Community schools enjoy stronger parent-teacher relationships, increased teacher satisfaction, a more positive school environment and greater community support.

Community vitality: Community schools promote better use of school buildings, and their neighborhoods enjoy increased security, heightened community pride and better rapport among students and residents.

Student learning: Community school students show significant and widely evident gains in academic achievement and in essential areas of nonacademic development.

(Excerpted from Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools, May 2003, pps. 1-2,, and used with the permission of the Institute for Educational Leadership)

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> Evaluations of community schools: findings to date

> Research Base for Community Schools Fact Sheet

> Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools

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Featured Strategies
> Institute for Educational Leadership


copyright 2008 Free To Grow
Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.