Developing a Successful Community Learning Center
Transforming a traditional schoolhouse into a Community Learning Center is a process – specific to each site and organic in nature. At Cincinnati Public Schools, 36 sites are engaged in this transformation to become active Community Learning Centers, with all schools working at some level to offer services to their communities. The following steps are offered as a guide for successful transformation into a Community Learning Center.
Establish a shared vision with families and communities about what it takes for children to reach their full potential (be successful in school and prepared for life).
Identify an organization that will help achieve this shared vision by providing an individual to engage community as partners (Community Resource Coordinator).
Use data as a means to be focused and intentional about coordinating resources to meet the individualized and differentiated needs and interests of student.
Work with a diverse team of key stakeholders (LSDMC, lead partners, parents, students, etc.) to set goals and targets for CLC partnerships - “What gets measured gets done!
Enter into agreements (formal and informal) with community partners on how to work together and share accountability for student success.
Establish a system of regular communication that promotes sharing, increases motivation and encourages problem-solving and strategizing by all stakeholders.
Focus on quality and continuous improvement – look at data, attendance, feedback to determine if partnerships are meeting needs and likely to result in achieved goals.
Be flexible and responsive to the changing nature of students, families and communities. By continually taking the pulse of students, families and communities relative to their CLC experience, schools can adjust and reset when necessary to meet changing needs and interests.
Evaluate the work of the CLC annually and share with key stakeholders — Did the collective impact of partners result in achieved goals? Analyze, Share, Celebrate Success, and Plan. Say Thank You!
Repeat steps 1 – 9 at least annually, but more often if necessary.