Community Schools: A New Way to Tackle Old Problems

Emilia Comaiby Emilia Comai
Community and Advocacy Engagement Coordinator

Last week, United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL) and a few brave partners presented before members of the state legislature at the Education Task Force Committee meeting. UWSL’s Senior Vice President of Collective Impact and Public Policy, Bill Crim, was joined by Granger Elementary School Principal, Amber Clayton, Senior Vice President of Savage Services Corp, Nathan Savage, and Superintendent of Granite School District, Martin Bates. This team of Collective Impact champions presented United Way of Salt Lake’s Community School model — a new way to tackle old problems in education.

Community Schools are like using a smartphone versus a rotary phone. Like a rotary phone, a conventional school does one thing very well: educate kids. However, kids come to school with many challenges that need to be addressed. We are seeing many schools and communities struggling to address these needs. A Community School is like a smartphone, it not only educates, but offers other services (apps) that all work together and share data to support the student and community. This shared effort is referred to as “Collective Impact”.

Our Community Schools are supported not only by partners, but by the business community, other nonprofits, teachers, principals, parents, students, and government, in order to provide every student a chance to succeed. Amber Clayton stated that at Granger Elementary, being a Community School is “changing outcomes for kids by creating support systems for them.”

Granger-63Nathan Savage said, “No single individual or organization can solve complex issues by alone. At the end of the day, you have to think about the kids. What can we do to get these kids to succeed?” His organization invests both money and volunteer time to help at-risk kids graduate from high school. This is one example of the collaborative support that kids receive from the community because they attend a Community School.

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser believes that “the focus is not on the school but on the students’ outcomes and making a difference for that student, because every student can learn and progress.” This, in fact, is the cornerstone of the success of a Community School. The focus is always on the student’s needs and academic progress.

DSC_0663If you can join us to GIVE, ADVOCATE, or VOLUNTEER at a community school, join us today! To learn more about Community Schools, read this recent Deseret News article.

Get involved by filling out your information on this page. We need you to become a Community School Champion!

Want to know more? Watch the video below!

Community Schools Video

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