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    Transforming Schools Revitalizing Neighborhoods Cincinnati Public Schools Community Learning Centers Manual

    A Guide for Resource Coordinators

  • The Cincinnati Public School District provides equal educational, vocational, and employment opportunities for

    all people without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, color, age, disability, religion, national origin, creed, sexual

    orientation, or affiliation with a union or professional organization, and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and

    other designated youth groups. The district is in compliance with Title VI, Title IX and Section 504 of the Vocational

    Rehabilitation Act. For additional information, contact the Title IX Coordinator or Section 504 Student Coordinator

    at 363-0000. TDD# 363-0124.

    © 2012 Cincinnati City School District

    “. . . Cincinnati Community Learning Centers . . . are ‘putting the public back in public education’. The goal is to make all . . . schools in Cincinnati into Community Learning Centers, and the district is well on its way to reaching that goal. Each Community Learning Center school has the support of a site Resource Coordinator who collaborates with health, legal, after school and other services that provide wraparound services for the students and families served by that school. The schools become ‘neighborhood hubs that provide academic and enrichment support to students, families and communities beyond the traditional school day.’ There is absolutely nothing complacent about the community leaders and educators in Cincinnati, Ohio, as they galvanize their communities to meet the complex needs of the students they serve.”

    Excerpt: Urgency and Complacency in Public Schooling By Cheryl S. Williams, Executive Director of the Learning First Alliance Education Week

    May 29, 2012

    CPS’ Community Learning Centers

  • Cincinnati Public Schools — Community Learning Centers Guide for Resource Coordinators 1

    Cincinnati Public Schools

    Community Learning Center Manual

    Table of Contents


    History — The Growth of the Community Learning Centers Movement • Fertile Ground for Change (1990s – early 2000s)

    • Taking Root and Gaining Community Support (2003-2008)

    • Nurturing and Cultivating the Work (2009-2011)

    • Growing, Learning and Continuous Improvement (2012-present)

    Getting Started as a Community Learning Center • Funding

    • Choosing a Lead Agency

    • Hiring a Resource Coordinator

    • Creating the Plan

    Making it Happen — Implementation of the REFORM Model • Review Data and Set Goals

    • Engage Partners

    • Focus on Individual Students

    • Offer Support

    • Reset

    • Measure Impact


    Appendix of Tools

  • Cincinnati Public Schools — Community Learning Centers Guide for Resource Coordinators2

    Introduction Cincinnati Public Schools’ Community Learning Centers

    The Resource Coordinator’s role in Cincinnati Public

    Schools began with the understanding that the

    community had to find people to do that work if

    Community Learning Centers were to succeed. Nine

    people were hired and named Resource Coordinators

    as part of a pilot in 2006.

    Through several years of trial and error, successes,

    misses and resets, we have been finding our way —

    developing processes, measurements, standards and

    best practices. It was difficult in the beginning, but we

    saw improvements and knew we were on the right track.

    The 2012-13 school year began with Resource

    Coordinators in 33 Community Learning Centers, and

    the ultimate goal is to have resource coordination in all

    Cincinnati Public Schools as funding is acquired.

    Cincinnati Public Schools are making progress, and

    other districts have started coming to Cincinnati to see

    how we’re doing it. Not because we’re finished, but

    because we’re on to something that’s working.

    The purpose of this manual is to begin to codify our best

    practices and processes, so we can share them among

    our own Resource Coordinators as well as with anyone

    who thinks that what we’ve learned might help their own

    community or school district.

    We are a learning community, and we view this manual

    as an evolving learning tool. Our school teams will help

    us refine and define best practices, all the while

    becoming more and more adept at balancing standard

    practices with the unique needs of their individual

    schools and communities.

    We’ll share and update these best practices as our

    Community Learning Center teams demonstrate

    excellence and results, and that also will help us build

    on the learning reflected in this manual.

    The story of Cincinnati Public Schools’ Community Learning Centers (CLC) and their Resource Coordinators is the story of a community’s quest for success for its children, its schools and its neighborhoods. The belief that all three must work together if children are to be successful is the basic tenet of Community Learning Centers.

    The physical school building changes when it becomes a

    Community Learning Center. Space is allocated to select-

    ed community partners who set operations in the building

    from which to serve students and the community.

    The goal? To leverage a community’s strengths and

    assets in order to lift students to a high level of

    achievement and thereby improve schools and revitalize

    neighborhoods. In this process, taxpayers see the kind

    of return on their investment in public schools that

    reinforces the model — and inspires even greater

    community participation and support.

    Sound lofty? It is, but it’s happening, and the results are

    proven. It began with the idea of returning schools to

    their long-ago role as centers of community life — places

    where individuals, agencies and local businesses

    participated in school success — but doing so in a planned

    and intentional way, fortified by 21st century know-how.

    Over the years, schools became more isolated from their

    communities and, by the late 20th century, were seen

    mostly as academic centers. But they never totally lost

    community participation. Community members,

    agencies and local businesses still were showing up in

    schools across the country, offering to tutor, mentor,

    donate supplies, and to provide some health services or

    career training. These efforts were well-meaning, but

    no one knew if they were really helping schools and

    students succeed.

    Something was missing. No one was responsible for

    making sure that goals were set, progress was tracked, or

    community partners were given the resources needed to

    help students succeed — or, at the least, that the partners

    were thanked for their services. No one had responsibility

    for figuring out which students needed which services,

    for taking an unblinking look at what was and wasn’t

    working, and championing changes.

  • Cincinnati Public Schools — Community Learning Centers Guide for Resource Coordinators 3

    History The Growth of the Community Learning Centers Movement Fertile Ground for Change (1990s – early 2000s) After years of use — for some, more than a century —

    Cincinnati Public Schools’ buildings required renovating

    or rebuilding. The district and community leaders hoped

    to find a way to simultaneously transform the schools

    and revitalize surrounding neighborhoods. Observing

    the effectiveness of several community organizations

    already working in a handful of CPS buildings, they

    explored creating schools as joint-use facilities with

    colocated community partners. Research and visits to

    other districts validated this Community Learning

    Center model. Cincinnati Public Schools adopted its

    Facilities Master Plan in May 2002 for rebuilding its

    schools and to begin providing a structure and frame-

    work for community partner support.

    A community engagement campaign, led by the

    Children’s Defense Fund and funded by the Greater

    Cincinnati Foundation and the KnowledgeWorks

    Foundation, began for the district’s 52 neighborhoods.

    With learning from these outreach efforts, Cincinnati

    Public Schools and the Children’s Defense Fund

    developed written plans for community engagement

    and community learning centers, including:

    • The need for a Resource Coordinator in each school,

    to be chosen by the Local School Decision Making

    Committee (LSDMC).

    • Two defining documents: “Guiding Principles for

    Community Learning Centers” and “Parameters

    for Partnerships.” (See appendix for the

    two documents.)

    Taking Root and Gaining Community Support - (2003– 2008)

    Through outreach campaigns and a 52 neighborhood

    that launched the largest public works project in

    Cincinnati’s history. With funding from private local

    sources, vario