What is a Community School?
Community schools are public schools that partner with families and community organizations to provide well-rounded educational opportunities and supports for students’ school success. A community school recognizes the challenges and barriers that extend beyond academic pursuits, such as poverty, health disparities, and social inequities that student’s face. Through partnerships and programs, community schools provide comprehensive support services that address these issues, with the intention to support students academically, socially, and emotionally. These partnerships encompass a wide range of initiatives and programs tailored to the specific needs of each school and its community. They may include after-school programs, health and wellness services, mental health counseling, parental involvement initiatives, vocational training opportunities, and community engagement activities. By leveraging the strengths and resources of the community, these programs empower students to develop holistically and succeed in all aspects of their lives. Through the Community Schools Partnership and its other programs, the Department of Education endeavors to nurture a robust educational ecosystem that promotes equity, access, and excellence for all learners.
The Four Pillars of Community Schools are:
- Collaborative Leadership and Practices
- Integrated Student Supports
- Active Family and Community Engagement
- Expanded and Enriched Learning Time and Opportunities
What We Offer at Our YouthBuild Community School
With funding from the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP) grant, YouthBuild Charter School of California's community school prioritizes identifying and addressing the needs of our students, staff, and communities through a collaborative leadership approach. We aim to provide an inclusive and enriching educational experience for everyone by centering our curriculum around the community and building strong partnerships.
Community and Family Support Centers
Community and Family Support Centers play a vital role in Community Schools, providing services such as counseling, tutoring, health and wellness programs, childcare, financial and housing support, and legal aid. They support students in achieving their academic and career goals and foster family access and community involvement for a compassionate learning environment. These centers are unique to each location and provide a safe and inclusive space within the YouthBuild program/school site for students and families seeking job/career opportunities, counseling, and referrals to community resources. Our goal at each of our Family and Community Support Centers is to promote growth, support, and wellness in our ever-growing communities.
Currently, these Family and Community Support Centers engage and support not only the students but also their families. YCSC has goals to open these Centers up to the broader community in the safest way by the end of the year. These Centers are unique to each site and offer a range of resources and services, which include: educational support services/ resources/ referrals, life skills workshops, health and wellness options, family supportive services, access to recreational and extracurricular activities, referrals to external social service agencies, and assistance with housing, transportation, and other basic needs.
Life Skills Development
The Community School Program at YouthBuild Charter sites offers Life Skills Development opportunities covering financial literacy, time management, conflict resolution, decision-making, and communication skills. These skills are valuable and applicable to all students, regardless of their career or educational path.
Recreation and Enrichment Programming
Recreation and Enrichment Programming (REP) offers various educational opportunities for students to develop their passions and talents. These include music classes, art workshops, sports teams and clubs, fitness classes, STEM activities, museum visits, and vocational training. REP activities expand on the existing training areas offered by YouthBuild Charter School, such as Recording Arts, Culinary Arts, and Construction.
The Community School program has also brought in new partnerships to YCSC, such as with PGIM, to provide students with workforce readiness, employment and apprenticeship placement. Facilitated by YCSC’s Community School Coordinator, Arianna Simonet, this partnership with PGIM will include the implementation of quarterly engagements that explore careers or teach critical life skills, such as successfully managing credit. Other key activities include business mentorships and curating relationships with PGIM investment partners interested in internships and hires of YCSC graduates.
Community School Advisory Boards
YCSC has recently launched local Community School Advisory Boards at each of our sites to collaborate on supporting the goal of increasing opportunities for our young people, their families, and the communities where they live. CCSPP funding and the Community Schools Program has had a positive impact on all YCSC sites by providing additional resources and support by increasing access to funding, strengthening community engagement, and expanding services and opportunities. YCSC’s Community School Initiative will provide new and expand on existing opportunities to help students prepare for college and the workforce, including academic support, career exploration and vocational training, college readiness programs, partnerships with colleges and businesses, and workforce development programs.
Click here to check out a list of upcoming YCSC Community School events!
Virtual Community School Resource Center
Get the support you need at our new virtual Community School Resource Center! This virtual support center provides assistance to students, families, and community members within our 16 YouthBuild locations. We are committed to ensuring our communities have access to a range of resources to meet their diverse needs. If you need to request individual support, you can do so here. Or check out the Hub for links to local educational resources, financial support services, household family needs, housing support, and health and wellness.
If you have any questions about our Community School, please contact our Community School Coordinator, Arianna Simonet at [email protected].