What is a Community School? We get asked this question often. A Community School serves as a hub for the community by providing a rigorous and relevant educational program that is integrated with family and community involvement. Currently, there are about 5,000 community schools in the United States, and a study indicated that every dollar invested in community schools provides an additional $12-$15 in social benefit. For a community school to succeed, it requires many complex partnerships and strategic planning.
In 2021, United Way of Central Georgia launched the Community Schools United initiative as key piece to UWCG's fight to disrupt the cycle of family poverty. Our Community Schools United program, a collaboration with two Bibb County elementary schools, L.H. Williams and Burdell-Hunt, focuses on whole-child development and well-being for students and the community. CSU focuses on student academic success, family advocacy, parental engagement and support for school leadership and teachers, as well as emotional well-being in school communities.
L.H. Williams Elementary School was the first school to partner with UWCG. L.H. Williams is located in Macon's historic Pleasant Hill neighborhood. A UWCG Community Schools Coordinator works at the school to help implement programming and monitor its success. In the past year, this partnership has benefited the school and neighborhood by hosting a vaccination clinic, coordinating school supplies, and introducing PIMS Point, a parent engagement tool. More than 15 stakeholder organizations have been organized to provide services to the school and community.
Burdell-Hunt Elementary School is the second school to partner with UWCG. The school is located in Macon's Fort Hill community. More than 30 organizations dedicated more than 12 hours to discussing the key objectives and services coming to the Community School during planning sessions for the 2022-2023 school year. During the planning phase, Burdell-Hunt's UWCG Community Schools Coordinator organized milestones testing motivational cards and yard sign distribution, an unveiling ceremony for a new marquee sign, and attended Fort Hill neighborhood association meetings.
This upcoming school year, the CSU team will continue to promote literacy and student success, facilitate a parent/guardian resource center, remind parents to participate in PimsPoints, and work with stakeholder associations to bring mental health services and neighborhood safety resources to both L.H. Williams and Burdell-Hunt Elementary.
To learn more about UWCG's Community Schools United initiative click here: https://www.unitedwaycg.org/communityschoolsunited