Skip to main content

Education center says 'community schools' could help close achievement gap

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A state education advocacy group is touting successes in Brooklyn Center and Duluth as reasons to encourage more "community school" programs.

Community schools work to connect students with community groups, services and professionals. According to The Educator Policy Innovation Center – created by the Education Minnesota teachers union – that means the schools bring in more health services, mentor programs and extracurricular activities.

In addition to supporting students, community schools provide extra resource to parents. Star Tribune reports Brooklyn Center Community Schools give parents access to computers, classes, food, clothing, housing and healthcare.

With these resources, "The school becomes the hub for all things that the community needs," Education Minnesota President Denise Specht told the paper.

Brooklyn Center graduation rates

At Brooklyn Center Community Schools, graduation and college enrollment rates are on the rise for low-income and minority students, according to a report from the Educator Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) released this week..

Brooklyn Center's school website says it became the state's first full-service community school district in 2009.

Its student body is primarily minority students – only 16 percent are white – and now has more than 100 programs and community partnerships. It says 80 percent of their middle and high school students are involved in at least one extracurricular activity, like theater, sports and video production.

According to the EPIC report, graduation rates there have risen from 74 percent in 2010 to 87 percent in 2014. And in four years, there was a 17 percent increase in students enrolling in college.

Duluth schools increase involvement

The EPIC report says Duluth's Myers-Wilkins Community School Collaborative is also seeing results with their community hub model.

Even though the school has the highest concentration of low-income students in the district, they've never been cited for low Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment scores, EPIC says.

Myers-Wilkins also has some of the highest parent and student satisfaction rates, according to EPIC's report.

EPIC says we need more

EPIC argues against the traditional standardized tests and curriculum, saying it hasn't produced widespread academic improvement. They say the community school approach empowers people closest to students and helps shrink racial and economic opportunity gaps.

The gap can be seen in 2015's ACT scores, for example. The results show white students scored an average of 23.7, Hispanic and black students averaged 19.8 and 17.6 respectively.

In addition to achievement gaps in test scores, EPIC's report says Minnesota sees gaps in school readiness, attendance, discipline rates and graduation rates. They say schools need the the community's help to close the gaps and provide more opportunities to students.

The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $500,000 over two years for community schools pilot programs in 2015, according to Education Minnesota. But EPIC says they need more to advance community school programs, the Star Tribune reports

"There are a lot of schools and districts that are interested in this approach," Specht told the Pioneer Press. 

Education Minnesota says they'll push for $2 million next year, according to the Pioneer Press.

Next Up

Nicholas Kraus

Man sentenced for fatally striking woman during Uptown protest

Nicholas Kraus, 36, of St. Paul drove into a protest in Uptown last year, killing Deona Marie Knajdek.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Fleeing suspect crashes into vehicle in Woodbury, 2 injured

The crash occurred Friday afternoon after a pursuit with Woodbury police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 2.34.44 PM

Yes, that's MN native Jenny Taft in a State Farm commercial

Jenny Taft got her broadcasting career started in Minneapolis in 2011.

crime scene tape - police tape

23-year-old woman critical after shooting in Plymouth

A 23-year-old woman was shot Friday night in Plymouth.

white Christmas

2 MN towns among most 'magical' winter locations in the country

The list was compiled by Trips Discover and published earlier this month.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 8.27.12 AM

St. Olaf football player charged after fatal crash in Chicago

The 18-year-old is accused of speeding and going the wrong way when he crashed into a vehicle that may have been attempting to flee police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 7.41.18 AM

Woman 34 weeks pregnant injured by drunk driver in Cottage Grove

The 49-year-old suspected of DUI was booked into jail around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

ambulance

2 dead, 5 injured in Thanksgiving Day crash near Alexandria

The crash involved two people from Alexandria and five from Bloomington.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 6.44.11 PM

Lengthy standoff in Prior Lake ends late Friday night

The suspect allegedly assaulted an officer outside Kwik Trip, fled and broke into a home.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 5

Accumulating snow possible in Twin Cities next week

The storm system could arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.

Target store snow

With Black Friday barely underway, Target reveals Cyber Monday deals

Plans for the two-day sale were revealed Friday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.37.25 AM

Man waves replica assault weapon at drivers in downtown Minneapolis

The alarming incident was spotted by the new MPD chief, Brian O'Hara.

Related

More students of color are graduating, and the achievement gap is closing

The overall graduation rate in Minnesota was 82.2 percent in 2016, the highest ever recorded in the state.