Community Nights Shine: 2023-2024 Year of Connections and Growth in Community Schools


The 2023-2024 school year has been a resounding success for United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County (UWABC) as well as countless community partners in regards to our community school strategy. With its unwavering commitment to fostering strong connections between students, families, teachers, and the broader community, this strategy has left an indelible mark on the lives of countless individuals.

At the heart of this year's triumph lies the extraordinary efforts of teachers, administrators, and Community School Coordinators across the seven Community Schools. Their dedication and tireless work have created a nurturing environment where students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.




One of the highlights of the year was the unprecedented number of Community Nights hosted by each school. These events were meticulously crafted to reflect the unique character of each community, ensuring that every family felt welcomed and represented. The impact of these gatherings was profound, as evidenced by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from students, parents, and educators alike.

At the core of our Community Schools strategy are the students themselves, and their voices resonate as a testament to the initiative's success. One student from Erwin Middle School shared about Community Night, "When I go there, I get my grades up with some help from teachers." Another student from Enka Middle School echoed this sentiment, stating, "We all know each other, and my grades went up."

The sense of connection fostered by these events was palpable, with students expressing a deeper bond with their peers, teachers, and the broader school community. As one student from North Buncombe Middle School remarked, "I feel more connected because I get help with work and get to talk." Another student at A.C. Reynolds Middle School shared, "It's nice to see my friends, which makes it easier to pay attention in school."

Parents Embrace the Community

Parents, too, have been profoundly impacted by our community school strategy. One parent from A.C. Reynolds Middle School expressed gratitude for the opportunity to connect with other families, stating, "I really, really love getting to talk to other parents. My kids are also making connections with other community members."

The strategy has also provided much-needed support for families facing financial challenges. An Asheville Middle School parent shared, "Our family counts on community night meals because we have four kids to feed and a busy schedule."

The community schools strategy has fostered stronger relationships between students, families, and educators, creating a supportive network that extends beyond the classroom walls. As one teacher from A.C. Reynolds Middle School shared, "Students I do not teach often showed up, and I was able to make connections, and this was helpful with hallway behavior during the school day."

The initiative has also played a pivotal role in easing transitions for students moving from elementary to middle school. A parent from Enka Middle School expressed gratitude, saying, "My children are more comfortable in middle school and ready to make a smooth transition from elementary to middle. This is a big win."


Looking Ahead: Expanding the Impact 

The resounding success of our community school strategy has inspired UWABC to expand its reach. In the 2024-2025 school year we will add two more community schools; providing more students and families with access to this transformative initiative.

As the school year comes to a close, our community schools strategy stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when communities come together to support and empower their youth. The impact of this initiative extends far beyond academic achievement, and brings hope for a brighter future.


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