Many people are attracted to the idea of community schools, but starting one is not as simple as opening a health clinic and instituting partnerships with local businesses, civic groups and seniors, cautioned NLU’s Carlos Azcoitia, Ed.D., distinguished professor of practice within the National College of Education, in an article in Phi Delta Kappan’s February issue.
It takes a battery of leadership skills and abilities to helm a community school, wrote Azcoitia, along with co-authors Ted Purinton, Ed.D., former director of NLU’s National College of Education’s department of educational leadership, and alum Karen Carlson, Ph.D. Phi Delta Kappa is a professional association for educators, and the Kappan is its magazine.
“What really defines a community school isn’t the services it provides but, rather, its dedication to involving the whole community in the educational process. At its core, the approach entails a genuine partnership between the school and those it serves,” they wrote.
To be effective, community school leaders have to have a combination of skills (both hard skills such as curriculum design and soft skills such as making community members feel their input is valued), knowledge (such as data analysis and strategic planning) and dispositions (such as being an asset finder and being willing to put differences aside for the good of the school and community).