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Resources to Learn More: Research, Guides and Other Toolkits


This is a comprehensive list of materials to help officials understand and learn more about options in creating and sustaining community schools partnerships.

Please let CCS Partnership staff know if your agency’s toolkit should be included in this section

Many outstanding organizations offer excellent information and research about community school partnerships. Here are a few:

Scaling Up School and Community Partnerships: An interactive toolkit hosted by the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL). A scaled-up system of community schools refers to a vertical network of schools from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 in a single attendance area with all schools linked horizontally across one or more school districts. This guide provides information on the scaled-up system for a wide audience and for communities at different points in planning for, implementing, and sustaining a community schools strategy.

Community Schools Evaluation Toolkit: A starter guide for community school staff who want to use data to tell their story and improve their community schools. Produced by the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership and  the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University.

Building Healthy Communities: A School Leader’s Guide to Collaboration and Community Engagement – California School Board Association’s best practices and strategies for collaboration and engagement between schools and communities.

Building Community Schools: A Guide for Action (PDF): Produced by the National Center for Community Schools at the Childrens Aid Society.

The Center for Strategic Community Innovation works with school districts, community based organizations, city and county agencies, communities and collaboratives to plan, implement, and sustain full service community schools through the organization’s Community Schools Initiative.  CSCI offers a toolkit with resources on community schools.

Building, Assessing, Sustaining & Improving Community Schools (BASICS) is a toolkit for community and school staff and technical assistance providers (produced in 2009).  Materials were produced by the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, The Center for Community School Partnerships at University of California, Davis and the Children’s Aid Society.

A Resource Guide for Understanding Community Schools: Community School Planning and Design: A report by the Urban Strategies Council that provides interested individuals and stakeholders resources for a better understanding of the structure and core components of community schools.  Based on a review of more than 175 evaluations, case studies, briefs and reports from across the United States over the last 20 years.

Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools (PDF): This report, produced by the Coalition for Community Schools, makes the case that community schools by outlining the advantages of community schools and the conditions for learning that these advantages create. It reviews the research on which these conditions are based and illustrates the extent to which community schools make a difference to students, schools, families and communities. The report includes the results of evaluations of 20 community school initiatives across the United States.

Community School Partnerships Toolkit: This toolkit, by the Center for Community Schoool Partnerships at UC Davis, presents tools to guide any school that wants  to improve student achievement, youth wellbeing and ties to  families and communities. It gives step-bystep instructions to  create strong community school partnerships. This toolkit pulls from the best of the training materials and resources they have used for  sixteen years in supporting community school collaboratives.

Toolkit for Expanded Learning: This toolkit, by the Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project, is intended to provide resources for city agencies, school districts, intermediaries and other organizations interested in implementing or strengthening city-wide expanded learning opportunities, as well as state agencies and Statewide Afterschool Networks designing multi-city initiatives. These tools can guide such agencies as they develop plans for afterschool, summer learning and expanded learning time initiatives in their communities.

Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes: A Theory of Change: This 5-minute video depicts a theory of change from the Frontiers of Innovation community for achieving breakthrough outcomes for vulnerable children and families. It describes the need to focus on building the capabilities of caregivers and strengthening the communities that together form the environment of relationships essential to children’s lifelong learning, health, and behavior.

Growing and Sustaining Parent Engagement, A Toolkit for Parents and Community Partners, Dec 2010 This toolkit includes information, examples, and helpful questions that parents and community partners can draw from as they jointly develop engagement strategies that reflect their unique priorities and communities.

A Toolkit for Increasing Physical Activity Through Joint Use Agreements This toolkit offers a guide to opening school grounds to the community after hours. Increasing access to recreational facilities that already exist at schools has emerged as one of the most promising strategies for building more opportunities for activity into neighborhoods. This promise is rooted in the realization that even the most poorly designed and under-served neighborhoods include schools. In an era of never-ending budget shortfalls, maximizing access to existing facilities – rather than trying to construct new ones – is the most efficient and economical use of public resources.

California Network of Family Strengthening Networks The Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support, issued by the California Network of Family Strengthening Networks and adopted by the National Network of Family Support and Strengthening Networks, is a valuable tool for ensuring that families are supported and strengthened through quality practice.  These Standards integrate and operationalize the Principles of Family Support Practice with the Strengthening Families Approach and its research-based, evidence-informed 5 Protective Factors.  To download a free copy of the Standards, please go to Inquiries for the National Network of Family Strengthening Networks may be directed to, co-chair.

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