Linking Schools and Communities
Schools and the communities they serve are closely linked. Seldom does one succeed without the success of the other.
So when, more than a decade ago, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) set out to rebuild its school facilities, it was with the intent of redesigning schoolhouses to serve both students and the community - creating places where students learn and achieve and the community feels at home.
From that vision grew CPS’ Community Learning Centers (CLCs).
A CLC is a school that serves as a community hub, utilizing school space during extended hours, on weekends and through the summer to provide additional academic support, health resources, social services, arts programming, and civic and cultural opportunities to students, their families and the community.
The goal of CLCs is to support student achievement, revitalize communities and maximize the community's return on their financial investment.
Julie Doppler, Community Learning Center Coordinator for Cincinnati Public Schools—
The "Sweet Spot"
The involvement of our parents, community and partners working together in our schools is the mix that leads to our many success stories.
Hubs for Community Services
CLCs 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.
Once the idea of a few community and district leaders and supported by the generosity of a few local funders, CLCs have transcended the work of individuals to become a district and city-wide movement.
CLCs mean that our schools are working together with families, neighborhoods, businesses, churches, civic groups, health organizations, social services and many others. As we enjoy the national attention on our work, we are cautious not to call our mission complete.
We continue our commitment as a district to develop partnerships with our community to transform all schools into CPSs, fine-tuning our educational programs and linking our expansive community assets to our students and families.
The Resource Coordinator
The key component of a community learning center is the partners who provide services and support. To manage and align these partnerships, 34 CLCs now have a full-time on-site Resource Coordinator, funded by a blend of public and private support. The Resource Coordinator is key to the success of the CLC.
Partnerships are carefully chosen following Parameters for Partnerships, formally stated in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), monitored for impact on desired student outcomes using the Learning Partner Dashboard (LPD - a web-based tool), and supported and managed by the Resource Coordinator.
Community partners are determined, recruited and engaged to meet the specific and unique needs of each school community through an evaluation process call REFORM.