California Educator

June/July 2022

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Anaheim Secondary Teachers Association (ASTA) has been active in the community school movement for more than six years, with concerted e•orts to build community schools. Last year, ASTA received a $75,000 Safe and Just Schools grant from NEA to develop structures to create community school policies, forming a steering committee and two school site committees. ASTA President Grant Schuster says they are looking to further expand with grants they applied for this year. The Anaheim Union High School Board adopted a resolution in March supporting community schools, acknowledging the work done by the steering committee and a•irming the need for shared leadership as they move forward. The district will con- tinue to develop two of its 18 schools to be community schools next year — Anaheim High and Sycamore Junior High — with a new $23.275 million state grant funding these and 11 more schools, according to Schuster. "It's been a good process to start building trust as we build community schools," Schuster says. " The only way this works is if we trust each other." Schuster says the community school movement is a generational opportunity to lift voices that have not traditionally been heard, so that schools become more reflective of the communities they serve. "We're looking at a measurable transformation of how public schools are operated and how they interact with their communi- ties," he says. "It's really exciting." ASTA's work has attracted the attention of fellow educators looking to build community schools in their districts. Schus- ter says a group from Chula Vista Educators (CVE) visited an Anaheim steering committee meeting to get ideas for how to collaborate in their community. CVE President Rosi Martinez says their local's vice president is now on full release time to work on the community school e•ort, funded through a Community Schools Grant from NEA. Next up in Anaheim: the completion of need and asset assessments, followed by recommendations by site committees to the school district with the steering committee presenting directly to the school board. Schuster says they will continue to build their coalition. "Everyone is invested in success," he says. ANAHEIM SECONDARY TEACHERS ASSOCIATION: Building Trust Along the Way Anaheim Union High School District Enrollment: 29,183 Unduplicated pupil count of free/reduced-price meals, English Learners & foster youth: 80.1% English Learners: 19.4% "The only way this works is if we trust each other." The Community Schools Model advanced by CTA and NEA includes six pillars of practice. Unlike most public education models, these pillars are adaptable to the needs of a school's students, sta•, families and community, and pay particular attention to creating, supporting, and sustaining a culturally relevant and responsive climate. The Six Pillars of Community Schools Strong, Relevant Curriculum Community schools provide a rich and varied academic program, allowing students to acquire both foundational and advanced knowledge and skills in many content areas. High-Quality Teaching – Teachers at community schools are fully licensed, knowledgeable about their content and skillful in their practice. Inclusive Leadership – The leadership teams of community schools include educators, other school sta•, parents, students and community members. Positive Behavior Practices Community schools emphasize positive relationships and interactions. Restorative discipline practices such as peer mediation, community service and post- conflict resolution help students learn from their mistakes and foster positive, healthy school climates where respect and compassion are core principles. Family & Community Partnerships Families, caregivers and community members are partners in community schools. Their engagement is ongoing and extends beyond volunteerism to roles in decision-making, governance and advocacy. Community Support Services Community schools provide meals, healthcare, mental health counseling and other services before, during and after school. Connections to the community are critically important so support services and referrals are available for families and other community members. 1 27 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 2 2 Grant Schuster

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