photo credit: Craig Robbins. Then candidate Jim Kenney at an ACTION United, PCAPS rally at Comegys Elementary in April last year announcing his committment to 25 community schools in his first term.
As the outgrowth of a coalition that has advocated for community schools for over four years, we are gratified to see that idea now becoming a reality in our city with the Mayor announcing the first cohort of nine community schools. We congratulate the Mayor’s office for it’s work over the last six months that has brought us to this point.
There has been an ambitious program of community engagement in which the community school strategy, its implementation, and criteria for selecting schools, have been widely shared and discussed. The fruit of that process is reflected in the plan announced today.
We are excited that the selection process emphasized schools that have developed a collaborative leadership and culture, thus maximizing the likelihood that these schools will implement this strategy successfully.
We also think the first cohort of schools gets high marks for balancing the need for geographic diversity, with a focus on communities of high need.
City Council deserves recognition as well, both for providing the funding in the form of the sugary drink tax, and for supporting a selection process in which political calculation was subordinate to getting the right mix of schools.
We plan to continue to work with school communities to advocate, from the ground up, transformative community schools strategy that includes democratic governance, engaging curriculum, and restorative practices. We will also continue to keep the broader public informed about the implementation of this strategy in order to further develop and sustain these efforts. Finally we hope to continue our constructive relationship with the Mayor’s office, helping with providing training for parents, students, educators and community partners, both in the schools that have been selected and those that will seek to be included in the future rounds.
We are proud that our coalition hosted then candidate Jim Kenney when he made his commitment to create 25 community schools in his first term, a campaign promise that is definitely on the way to being kept.