Resources and Links
Articles and Research Papers - Annotated Below
- ACEbc 2011: Neighbourhood Learning Centres in British Columbia: Models, Elements and Stages of Development of Schools with Community Engagement
In December 2010, the ACEbc board accepted a contract with the Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH BC) to develop tools and resources to support Education Partner Dialogue and Capacity Building for the Ministry of Education’s Neighbourhood Learning Centres (NLC) initiative.
Those resources and tools are now on the ACEbc website. In time the work will be part of the Neighbourhood Learning Centres website. The documents produced include:
The documents were developed in consultation with NLC and DASH staff and heavily reviewed. The Board’s intention is that they be useful to our members in communities. Don Reimer and Janey Talbot took the lead with assistance from April Lewis, Carolyn Iles, Elizabeth Shannon, Bill Preston, and feedback from the ACEbc Board Committee.
Community leaders from all sectors of society recognize the importance of building healthy, resilient, sustainable learning communities. Now is the time to focus on prevention and capacity building strategies that will reduce future costs. Now is the time to increase cross-ministry funding and to integrate services.
A panel of well known BC university researchers reinforced the importance of strong communities and community schools. Dr. Clyde Hertzman, Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl and Dr. Bruce Alexander spoke at the ACEbc 2008 AGM on a panel moderated by Michael Clague.
- ACEbc AGM 2012 - Video conference presentation by Charissa Fernandez and Jennifer Curry from The After School Corporation (TASC), New York. (PDF PowerPoint)
•Are run by community organizations in public schools, led by a full-time site coordinator•Operate 3 hours/day, 5 days/week•Offer a range of academic, social and personal development activities•Provide a safe space for children while parents or guardians work
We hope you enjoy these testimonials in support of community schools — stories that bring life to many of the claims in the resources on our ACEbc website.
Although this short document is dated, it reflects the long-term commitment and the broad perspective of ACEbc regarding community education and community schools. Building healthy, sustainable communities “requires a comprehensive, integrated, community-based life-long learning approach that draws on the leadership potential of all citizens.”
Neighbourhood Learning Centre is an overarching term for schools that offer educational programs and reach out to engage their communities on a year-round basis. There are many models of Community Schools in BC and all can be considered Neighbourhood Learning Centres. This video gives examples of several research findings that validate a Community School approach. A key conclusion by the Coalition for Community Schools is that the “fulcrum” of a Community School is the Coordinator. Without staffing support, much of the potential of Neighbourhood Learning Centres and Community Schools cannot be realized.
This short background paper describes Phase 1 of the first major community schools research project in BC. In the fall of 2003, ACEbc, with support from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, engaged John Talbot & Associates Inc. to conduct a two-phase research project involving all community schools in British Columbia.
The first phase involved:
- compiling baseline information about community schools;
- identifying key elements of successful community schools;
- identifying opportunities for and challenges facing community schools;
- describing strategies to address identified challenges;
- describing best practices in the areas of community development and community partnerships.
This report details the Phase 1 research project carried out by Talbot and Associates, with support from the board of ACEbc, the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the BC School Trustees Association.
Based on the findings from Phase 1, four key issue areas emerged: awareness, funding, competency and continuous improvement. The steering committee advised the consultant to prepare this directional document in response to these four areas. The consultant prepared background documentation and recommendations to:
- enhance awareness and education about community schools and their benefits;
- improve funding polices and guidelines related to community schools;
- develop a competency framework for community school personnel to enhance their knowledge, skills and abilities;
- develop a continuous improvement framework to enable community schools to assess and improve their effectiveness, while documenting their success.
- Community Schools: A Handbook of "Best Practices" (Revised 2007)
The ground is constantly shifting in the field of Community Education and Community Schools, but there is still relevant, practical advice in this booklet. This document is based on a single community school model, in contrast to the large scale “hub” models in some large districts today. This guide will provide some guidance for those interested in starting a community school as well as those who are looking for reminders of processes and the potential of community schools.
Community school programs have direct benefits for those served, but they also benefit the general public and governments because of reduced expenditures over the long term. The paper sets out four key reasons why public funding of community schools is a good investment: 1) they focus on prevention, 2) they leverage public funds, 3) they coordinate and integrate many community services, and 4) they provide programs and services year round to the entire community.
As key “gatekeepers of change,” principals can play a crucial role in transforming schools to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. The expanded mandate of the educational system in recent years has affirmed and strengthened the potential of Community Schools in British Columbia. A Community School provides an effective infrastructure to respond to research on early childhood development, to research on prevention-based programs for youth and families and to new initiatives under the “personalized learning“ umbrella.
School systems are shifting to more flexible approaches and life long learning that extends beyond traditional classroom settings and schedules. Community Education and Community Schools are an effective approach to integrate services and enable multi-ministry funding, to create partnerships and leverage funding, to build community capacity, and to improve academic achievement. By establishing district Community Education policies, superintendents can play a crucial role in transforming schools to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
Abe Fernandez is a Community School Consultant with the Children’s Aid Society in New York City. Abe provides support, training and consultation across the United States and has lead works shops in Surrey on more than one occasion.
The Community-Schools Partnership Initiative, spearheaded by Surrey School District and the City of Surrey, draws together the expertise and resources of key public and community agencies serving children, youth and families in Surrey. Using schools as neighbourhood focal points, the Community-Schools Partnership seeks to:
- weave together an array of local services and resources for children, youth and families
- provide connections to the broader network of city-wide services
- build a sense of neighborhood identity
- promote lifelong learning and overall community liveability
This document sets out the vision, mission and guidelines of the Surrey Community-Schools Partnership model which they began in 2007. Additional schools and staffing have been added since implementation began.
External Links and Resources
These links direct users to external web sites. ACEbc takes no responsibility for content on these sites, but we try to ensure that these organizations and agencies are relevant to the purposes of ACEbc and that the links are current.
The BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) is a charitable non-profit organization that advocates for the best possible public education for all children in BC through the active involvement of parents. Our membership includes Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) and District Parent Advisory Councils (DPACs) in BC.
CommunityLINK (Learning Includes Nutrition and Knowledge) provides over $51 million in funding to all 60 boards of education in BC to support vulnerable students in academic achievement and social functioning.
The Neighbourhood Learning Centres (NLCs) initiative builds on the achievements of community schools and many other successful models of schools working effectively with their community, developing strong partnerships, and responding to the needs of students, families and the whole community. The link to the Neighbourhood Learning Centre website includes presentations from the NLC Stakeholder Forum held January 27th, 2010.
Representing BC’s 60 school boards, BCSTA serves 100 per cent of the total public school population. The Association advocates on issues that will help the provincial government and other organizations to improve public education in all BC communities
The British Columbia Teachers' Federation (BCTF), is the union of professionals representing 41,000 public school teachers in the province of British Columbia. All public school teachers belong to the BCTF and their local teachers' association.
The Coalition for Community Schools, housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington DC, is an alliance of national, state and local organizations in education K-16, youth development, community planning and development, family support, health and human services, government and philanthropy as well as national, state and local community school networks. “A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, services, supports and opportunities leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.”
The Directorate of Agencies for School Health in British Columbia (DASH BC) is a network of local, regional, and provincial organizations and individuals including teachers, parents and community members who hold closely to the vision that: every school aged child or youth in British Columbia is part of a health-promoting school community that enables them to lead active, fulfilling lives, well-equipped for future life success.
First Call: BC Child & Youth Advocacy Coalition is a cross-sectoral, non-partisan coalition. Our coalition is made up of 90 provincial organizations and 25 mobilized communities. In addition, we have a network of hundreds of community groups and individuals.
Since 2005, through grants, the School Community Connections Program has been helping schools around BC to bring in and involve their communities. The 2010 program continues the goals of:
- encouraging the co-location of services for students, their families and the community at large within school facilities;
- making greater utilization of available or new school facilities; and
- encouraging collaborative, long-term facilities planning that takes into account the needs of the whole community
School Community Connections is administered on behalf of the Ministry of Education by a collaborative partnership between the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) and the British Columbia School Trustees' Association (BCSTA).