Community Schools Leaders Gather in Asheville

Community School Leaders from North Carolina and Tennessee Gather in Asheville

On May 16, 2019, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County hosted Community School leaders from Durham, Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga, for a day of learning and sharing of best practices. After each leader shared highlights, we had a chance for cross-initiative learning based on the Four Pillars of Community Schools: Collaborative Leadership; Integrated Student Supports; Active Family and Community Engagement; and Expanded Learning Time. 
"Engaging with all of the different community school initiatives, I learned that every Community School comes together differently, with different organizations, different personalities and different conflicts,” noted Ginny Spencer, Community School Coordinator at Enka Middle. “Though their stories are different, the goals are the same: to create a more equitable and resourced public school experience where every student has the chance to thrive."
All of the attendees were inspired to make this an annual gathering, as local and statewide initiatives in North Carolina and Tennessee expand and deepen their Community School work. Janine Al-Aseer, Innovation Project Manager with Great Schools Partnership in Knoxville, shared, "I learned about the power of a shared agenda, the importance of collaborative and transparent data, and really enjoyed the use of restorative practices to engage and instruct staff from the inside out. I was so impressed by where Asheville is at in their early years — everything from the standing annual retreat with principals to the way they are working with partners to track student progress and serve families holistically. Hanging out with the positive and solutions-focused staff was a blast — I can’t wait for next time!"

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