Skip to content Skip to navigation

Moving toward a ‘community school’ model

Image of students holding hands atop a pile of colored pencils
Chuwy/Getty Images
Education Policy | K-12 | School Leadership

Moving toward a ‘community school’ model

Milbrey McLaughlin talks about what it takes to create a full-service community school district, and how this could be a model for COVID-19 recovery.

The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that schools offer much more than learning, with many families struggling to offset the sudden loss of support for meals, child care and other services.

As districts explore ways to support students through the economically uncertain times ahead, some are looking to the “community school” model: an approach that integrates health and medical care, social services, mentoring and other resources with academics in K-12 schools.

It takes an array of community partners to meet students’ needs, especially in high-poverty urban areas, says Milbrey McLaughlin, a professor emerita at Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) and founder of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. “Schools can’t do it alone.”

On this episode of School’s In, McLaughlin joins GSE Dean Dan Schwartz and Senior Lecturer Denise Pope to talk about what it takes to create a full-service community school district, where schools mobilize and deliver community resources as an integrated part of the school day.

McLaughlin’s new book, The Way We Do School: The Making of Oakland’s Full-Service Community School District, offers an in-depth profile of the nation’s most ambitious community school initiative: a nearly 10-year effort to transform all 86 district schools in Oakland, Calif., into community schools.

“It’s top-down support for bottom-up change,” says McLaughlin, noting that the program has stayed strong despite the district’s considerable challenges. “Oakland has had five superintendents in eight years. Even with that kind of leadership turnover, the plan remains in place.”

You can listen to School's In on SiriusXM, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Soundcloud.

Faculty mentioned in this article: Milbrey McLaughlin

More Episodes

May 4, 2020
Education Policy | Innovation | Teaching
Illustration of a student laptop
February 3, 2020
Diversity and Identity | K-12 | Poverty and Inequality
Illustration of child in a classroom
October 28, 2019
K-12 | Science and Math Education | Teaching
Photo of child doing math problem on a white board
July 30, 2019
Diversity and Identity | Language and Literacy | Teaching
Multilingual speakers with empty speech bubbles

Get the Educator

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Back to the Top