United Way of Salt Lake received the National Award for Excellence-Community Schools Initiative from the Coalition for Community Schools on June 10, 2015.
Recipients of this award demonstrate that community ownership and joint school and community action can bolster student academic achievement, improve outcomes for families, and unite neighborhoods. Martin Blank, Director of the Coalition for Community Schools and President of the Institute for Educational Leadership said, “The community school movement continues to grow because folks are looking at their communities and realizing that the only way to get young people the opportunities they deserve is through partnership with the community. These winners represent the best of what can be done with teamwork and ingenuity.”
It was such an honor to receive this award, and to be able to travel to Washington D.C. to accept it on behalf of UWSL! This recognition is a testament to all of the hard work and collaboration among school districts, community-based organizations, civic leaders, and volunteers that make community schools successful.
I was accompanied to D.C. by Lauren Birge, Community School Director at Kearns Junior High, and by Kandace Barber, principal of Kearns Junior High. In addition to receiving the award, we also had the opportunity to meet with a few of our local, elected officials in order to advocate for the importance of sustained support for community school work. Further, we were able to share our work with other organizations across the country that are practicing the community school model in their neighborhoods, and to learn from them as well. I am so proud to be a part of an organization that is committed to aligning and leveraging community resources to change the odds for students and their families.
Thank you to all of our partners, volunteers, teachers, and community leaders who work so tirelessly to improve outcomes for our neighborhoods. Stay tuned for more information on how you can get involved in supporting advocacy efforts.