MERN Forum Presentation id=24
MERN Forum # 2
Session: 1D
Author: Helen Armstrong
Affiliation: Brandon University
Title : "The Need for Designated Community Schools"
Description : In 1980 the province of Saskatchewan established a Community Schools Program in eleven inner-city schools. The purpose was to create a means to address the growth of urban Aboriginal poverty. The program has, since then, expanded to included rural and northern areas of the province. Through the program, Saskatchewan Learning allocates funding to schools where there is a critical mass of vulnerable students and families. With reference to any particular school division, relevant data from four demographic factors are gathered from Statistics Canada: a) unemployment rate, b) low-income rate, c) single parent rate, and the d) proportion of the population that is Aboriginal. In order to assess an application for a Community School Designation, School Divisions submit: 1) relevant community and school data that demonstrates their need for a community school designation: a) demographic information, b) social services statistics, c) justice statistics, d) health information, e) transience rates, and f) school/student profiles. 2) details of readiness strengths: a) community’s understanding and commitment to community school’s philosophy; b) school staff’s understanding and commitment to community school’s philosophy; c) how the community, board of education, and school personnel were involved in the decision to seek official Community School designation; d) current practices and existing supports, such as; ? partnerships and collaboration, ? shared leadership, ? integrated services, ? policies, structures and practices to meaningfully engage the community in decision-making. There are a variety of reasons to support the growth of designated community schools, including, 1) Meeting the learning needs of growing numbers of students at risk. Incorporating a comprehensive range of supports and best practices provides the most effective means of addressing the complex needs of at-risk students. 2) Responding to the education needs of Aboriginal students. Community schools emphasize the hiring of Aboriginal teacher and teacher assistants and the inclusions of culturally relevant curricular materials. 3) Enhancing the involvement of Aboriginal peoples. Community schools provide opportunities for genuine involvement and shared decision-making with schools and boards of education. 4) Enhancing parent and community involvement and encouraging shared responsibility. The Community School Framework includes: 1. The Learning Program a) Early Intervention Program, b) Elementary and Middle-years Learning Program c) Retention, Re-entry and Transitions to High School d) Adult and Community education 2. Parent and Community Involvement Parents, family and community members work with school staff to enhance learning opportunities in the school, the home, and the community. Together they plan and implement school activities and programs, set school goals, identify issues and priorities, introduce program changes, access resources, set school policy, and solve problems. 3. Integrated Services a) Health services, b) Social services, c) Justice services, d) Recreational and cultural services, e) Employment services and f) Self-help and adult education 4. Community Development The objectives of community development activities in a Community School are to: a) assist in developing the community surrounding the school to foster a safe, stable, and healthy environment; b) improve opportunities for success in school and fulfillment in life for at-risk students though the development of nurturing and safe communities; c) encourage the active involvement of community members and agencies in improving their quality of life; and, d) foster a sense of community in the school neighbourhood by serving as a hub of community activity and development.
Abstract # : 9
Paper Link :

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