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The Bull City Community Schools Partnership strives to implement the Community School model as championed by the National Education Association (NEA) and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) here in Durham, North Carolina. The NEA has studied schools and districts around the country that have achieved transformative results, and we are committed to learning from and implementing the best practices of the most successful Community Schools. Our Community School Coordinators study and learn alongside a national cohort of practitioners from New Mexico, California, Texas, Maryland, Michigan, and beyond.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…
Durham Public Schools staff and parents campaigned in the spring of 2018 to pilot this model at five elementary schools. Thanks to investment by the district and the county, four of those schools began the school year with a full-time Community School Coordinator: a collective impact strategist who will strengthen the bridge between school and community. The pilot Community Schools are Southwest Elementary, Club Boulevard Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, and E.K Powe Elementary.
With the support of the Durham Association of Educators, staff at each pilot school ran a vote in March of 2018 on whether or not to embark on the process of becoming a Community School. Each school saw 100% participation in a non-mandatory election, and each school voted to become a Community School by at least 95%. Staff and parents from these schools then testified at Board of Education and Board of County Commissioners’ meetings in favor of piloting the model in Durham Public Schools.
To learn more about the origins of the campaign in Durham, check out this blog post from the spring of 2018.
In the first year, Community School Coordinators, along with staff, parent and community leaders, will conduct a massive Listening Project to learn what the top priorities are for every corner of their school community. Out of the Listening Project data, Community School Leadership Teams will identify 2-4 strategic priorities and do deep investigation in those areas to uncover the root causes of the challenges their school is facing. Schools will then form problem-solving teams around high-priority root causes. The teams will test solutions to those problems until, one by one, they remove barriers to student learning.
The Bull City Community Schools Partnership is made possible by: