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Community Schools

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Kindergarten students in class saying the Pledge of Allegiance

In a community school, the school works together with families and community members to create safe, supportive spaces where students have what they need to learn, families are partners and have what they need to thrive, and communities benefit from stronger, healthier, more informed people.

The California Community Schools Framework defines a community school in the following way:  

A community school is any school serving pre-Kindergarten through high school students using a “whole-child” approach, with “an integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement.” As a school improvement strategy, community school initiatives enable the local educational agency and school to work closely with educators, students, and families to understand and address the unique needs, assets, and aspirations of the school community. Community schools then design their own curricula and programs to support the whole child and partner with community-based organizations and local government agencies to align community resources to realize a shared vision for success. They improve student outcomes by addressing students’ academic, cognitive, physical, mental, and social-emotional needs. In addition to orchestrating governmental and community resources, community schools meet the needs of children and youth by building a positive school climate and trusting relationships, along with rich learning opportunities that prepare all students to succeed in college, career, and life.”

The San Diego County Office of Education, in partnership with the Orange County Department of Education, the Imperial County Office of Education, and Community Schools Learning Exchange, supports districts and schools in the Southern California region in building capacity to drive their community schools efforts. 

Designated as one of eight regional technical assistance centers by the State Board of Education, these organizations are working collectively to assist emerging and existing community schools through creating support networks, sharing best practices, planning for success, leveraging funding, and coordinating services.

This partnership, anchored in shared leadership, helps strengthen integration and capacity-building efforts, and allows for consistent communication, collaboration, and greater coherence across the region. The diversity of our partners offers a comprehensive perspective that provides a strong foundation for the community schools framework to flourish. 

More to Explore

Armando Lopez
Imperial County Office of Education
Director of District and Community School Support
armando.lopez@icoe.org
 

Lara Kain
Orange County Department of Education
Coordinator
lkain@ocde.us

Luisa Paningbatan 
Executive Director 
Whole Child and Community Design 
Student Services and Programs 
858-290-5623
luisa.paningbatan@sdcoe.net 

Dr. Erin M. Mahoney 
Senior Director, Community Schools 
Whole Child and Community Design 
858-290-5544 
erin.mahoney@sdcoe.net

Dr. Monica Loyce 
District Advisor, Community Schools 
Whole Child and Community Design 
858-292-3502 
monica.loyce@sdcoe.net 

Roberto Carrillo 
District Advisor, Community Schools 
Whole Child and Community Design 
858-290-5469 
roberto.carrillo@sdcoe.net 

Aida Hairston 
Business Support Assistant I 
Whole Child and Community Design 
858-298-2109 
aestrella@sdcoe.net