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The Federation for Community Schools

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1 The Federation for Community Schools
House Bill 684: How a bill became a law, steps you can take to pass legislation in your respective States April 2010 Welcome and thank you for coming. I loved the ice breaker, and I hope it gave everyone a chance to reminisce a little!

2 The Federation for Community Schools
is an Illinois, statewide collaborative that advocates for policies that develop and sustain community schools which support children, youth, families, and communities. OUR VISION: Every school in Illinois will partner with its community to provide high-quality programs, during the regular school day and out-of-school time, which enrich students' educational experiences and achievement, support families, and strengthen communities. 2

3 The Community School Parthenon
The Four Pillars of Development PULL OUT HANDOUT In terms of how community schools actually “look,” programs and resources are categorized through different pillars, each contributing to the overall success of students. Academic Development & Enrichment is just that and ranges from “traditional” activities such as tutoring, homework help, and remedial activities (i.e., summer school), but also include programs like chess club and other strategic games, a wide variety of art and cultural activities, science club, music programs, art classes, etc. Anything and everything that taps into the intellectual and creative portions of children’s brains. We tend to think of these programs as part of a really solid afterschool program, summer program, school break program, etc., when we have the time and the space to encourage kids to develop into lifelong learners by linking them to new intellectual and creative experiences. Healthy Minds & Bodies – This pillar is about both prevention and intervention. The most obvious things you think of are basic health services (ranging from immunization to school physicals) and basic mental health services. Programs in this pillar also include SEL classes, drug and alcohol use and abuse intervention, organized sports teams and PE, adult aerobics classes, on-site health clinics, and so on. It’s important to note that programs are provided not just to students, but to family members and community members, as well.

4 Academics Health Family Community
Parthenon Model FOUNDATION BLOCKS of a fully implemented community school ensure high quality, community-engaged, and leveraged resources at school (eight foundation blocks): Shared Leadership Integrated Learning Shared Vision Collaboration Partnerships Leveraged Resources Broader Opportunities Data-driven Decision Making PILLARS of Programming Academics Health Family Community Academic success is influenced by myriad factors that go beyond classroom learning and curriculum. Children who are hungry, tired, distracted won’t live up to their potential. Children who can’t see the board won’t live up to their potential. Children who are in pain won’t live up to their potential. Community schools remove these – and other - -barriers to success. When I was in school, we had science, social studies, art, music, gym, and so on – we had opportunities to learn about topics besides reading and math, and to learn about ourselves and our talents. Community schools, by maximizing out of school time and linking different activities to classroom learning, provide kids with these opportunities. The 3:00-6:00 p.m. time is the riskiest time for kids. More than 600,000 school-aged children in Illinois are home alone during this time, and the risks they face range from being victims of violence to making poor choices about how they spend their time, and everything in between. Children do better academically when they have positive, life-long learner adult role models. By supporting adult learning needs, community schools strengthen families and communities. Monroe Elementary School, for example, has a GED program that routinely graduates nearly 100 adults a year. Addison Trails High School found that parent engagement in the school and children’s academic success increased when adult ESL classes started. PAUSE AND SEGUE TO EXAMPLES!!!!!

5 Community School Model for Success
= + + Program Director Success & Achievement School Community Open: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “Nights & weekends” School vacations ● Students Improve Academically. ● Student Needs are Identified and Addressed to Ensure Success. ● Students are Safer and Healthier. ● Community Stakeholders are Engaged at the School. ● Resources are Leveraged from the School’s Community. Why are they so impactful? What’s the secret? It’s not a secret – it’s all about collaboration and intentionality. When schools, communities, and program directors – or resource coordinators – work together towards common goals, cooperate, and work to coordinate the provision of programs and services, the barriers to success for students and families are removed, and children: Improve Academically. ● Needs are Identified and Addressed to Ensure Success. ● Are Safer & Healthier. ● Community Stakeholders are Engaged at the School. ● Resources are Leveraged from the School’s Community. What is a community school, though, really? It’s a school meeting unique needs of unique communities, so it sort of looks different everywhere – open early and late, nights & weekends, on school breaks, extending school’s “operational hours”

6 Community Schools Work
Research clearly shows that the community school model has a positive impact on student academic performance and strengthens the school and community. Chicago Public Schools saw a 70 percent improvement in homework completion, 72 percent in class participation, 66 percent in classroom behavior, and 73 percent in overall academic performance. At PS 5, a Children’s Aid Society Community School in New York, the percentage of children reading at grade level rose from 28 percent in fourth grade to 42 percent by the time the students reached sixth grade. Other cities outside of Chicago and throughout the nation have experienced similar improvements. Therefore, pursuing state legislation to codify State law to formally recognize community schools was a good, next step to advance the Illinois community schools’ movement. There are a multitude of less tangible, more personal ways that community schools are impacting children and families, by removing the barriers to success. One example – Sullivan, Illinois has among the lowest per-pupil educational expenditures in the state, yet they routinely rank in the top 10th percentile on ISATs. The Sullivan district believes that the community school model and how the “translate it” is what makes the difference.

7 HB 684, Federation Timeline…
A policy was formulated; substantive bill to amend the Illinois School Code to include community schools, relying on the work of more than 900 Federation members, the policy was driven by those working at community schools, as well as those benefiting from programs, resources and services at community schools. (share one pager of HB 684) TIMELINE: December May 2009 DECEMBER 2008– meeting with members to craft idea for bill JANUARY- Setting the stage for the bill, acquiring a main sponsor JANUARY—Organizing our first Advocacy Training Day FEBRUARY—Having bill introduced and acquiring more co-sponsors MARCH—Holding briefings for the bill, testifying at hearings for the bill (State Capitol) APRIL—Holding our Advocacy Day at the State Capitol MAY—Relying on members to make personal/organizational push Community school work has been going on all over the country and all around Illinois for years, because the model makes sense, as you’ll see. We’ve learned that there are a lot of names and a lot of funding streams for community schools. In fact, we recently learned that the term “community school” means an alternative school in Ohio and a juvenile detention facility in California. It really doesn’t matter what people call it, though. By any name, community schools WORK. The movement is growing in Illinois and around the country organically because schools cannot meet increasing needs alone.

8 Securing Champions Important Tip: Find champions to help the bill move forward in the State Legislature (takes persistence); many will lend support, but finding policy makers who will advance the policy forward by giving own power is the KEY to the policy’s success.

9 Key Legislative Steps Once champions identified, the following are steps taken legislatively to move a bill forward: Policy in legislative format must filed Additional bill sponsors need to be acquired Bill must be assigned to a substantive committee (know committees) Substantive committee must have hearing on the bill in which you provide witnesses to tell the community school story, After must be voted on in full chamber After bill passes out of one chamber, it enters the other and steps aforementioned are repeated Once the second chamber goes through all the steps and the bill passes, it is sent to the Governor’s Office for approval and signature

10 Garnering Key Supporters
State Agencies as Partners – Illinois Board of Education, fostered relations with key members of the Board, testified before their specific hearings across the State, initiated letter-writing campaigns to the Chairman of the Board (providing template of letter for Stakeholders), and met with key policy makers on the Board separately. Securing the Governor’s Office – Focused special attention on the executive branch of State Government, flooding the office with postcards, letters, student drawings in support of the bill, posters, and other mass advocacy activities. Targeting the Unnamed Policymaker, the MEDIA – Unnamed policymaker can’t be overlooked. Ways to do outreach: Generate support for unpopular policies Become worthy advocates of a particular issue Persistence -constant sharing of information can help gain their attention. Some ways to provide information- Submit letters to the editor Authoring and distributing press releases, Providing materials to editorial boards, Continuing ongoing conversations with journalists ( /phone) Assist Stakeholders to find media contacts in their communities and give story ideas

11 Types of Stakeholders: Bring Together Stakeholders to advance your bill
Stakeholders coming together to identify needs & find solutions and pooling resources to help with advocacy activities A community school brings together all of the stakeholders who play pivotal roles in whether or not a child will succeed at school and beyond. By working together towards one common goal – the success of the children – the transformation begins and great things happen. School teachers & administrators Community leaders & businesses The role of the Advisory Board – everyone has a voice Weave a web of support around children and families Community non-profit organizations Parents and their children

12 Stakeholder Steps Moved the issue onto the public agenda, telling the community school story as a first step to garner support for it. Sent postcards to State Legislators in support of the bill (high volume) Make phone calls to policymakers and State legislative offices (both Capitol and district) Participated in national after school efforts such as Lights On (visibility) Invited and hosted legislators to showcase events at community schools Helped to acquire co-sponsors for the bill with the relationships they had built with lawmakers, legislators (networks are a BIG asset here) Signed onto letters of support and sent them out legislators, policy makers and community leaders (provided organizational support) Testified at committee hearings, sharing personal stories of respective schools, communities and impacts Attended Advocacy Day at the State Capitol to meet and speak with legislators

13 Helpful Hints, in summary…
In summary, advocacy strategy implementation is much like developing programming at a community school. To be successful, the first step is to pull together key stakeholders. A broad set of advocacy activities need to be developed and administered and the group of Stakeholders need to be mindful of tapping into networks and the various audiences that need to be informed (key supporters). Advocacy strategy will need constant maintenance, persistence, refining, modifying and updating in order to maximize the capabilities of all those involved. For months, it will be a work in progress. The outcome is a series of orchestrated activities that are driven by one common purpose– to expand, promote and sustain high quality community schools.

14 Federation for Community Schools
Contact Information By working together and speaking with one unified voice, we can greatly enhance the quality, outcomes and sustainability of community schools and their families, students and community. Federation for Community Schools 20 N. Wacker, Suite 1740 Chicago, IL I’m now going to turn it over to Anita and she is going to provide a few “living, breathing” examples of community schools in action.


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