California Community Schools Partnership Program

How Learner-Centered Collaborative offerings align

At their core, community schools are focused on whole-learner outcomes—academic, social-emotional, and physical development in an interconnected environment. According to the California Community Schools Framework:

“community schools meet the needs of children and youth by building a positive school climate and trusting relationships, along with rich learning opportunities that prepare all students to succeed in college, career, and life” (p. 1).

Much of the focus for community schools is rightly on extended learning opportunities and expanded networks of support for students. In many ways, educators can see community schools as adding services onto existing systems to address unmet needs. While this is necessary, the success of community schools also requires shifts in practices to embrace an asset-driven, strengths-based approach within inclusive learning communities. The California Community Schools framework specifically calls for learning experiences that are co-designed to leverage student strengths:

“instructional practice should be inspiring, inquiry-oriented, project-based, multi-modal, collaborative, interactive, and informed by the ideals of co-learning. Community schools prioritize experiential learning that deepens connection to and engagement with the community” (California Community School Framework, p. 5).

These shifts in instructional practices require new models of shared leadership that will require an orientation to relational trust, social capital, and empowering students as active agents in the co-design of new models and experiences.

To truly center on our learners they must be involved in informing, inspiring, and iterating on our improvement efforts. We must start by listening to learners and continuing to develop systems to ensure shared context through empathy exercises.

A critical first step to effectively implement community schools is to conduct a community schools diagnostic to gain clarity on opportunities and needs and alignment among all stakeholders. In our model, the foundation for this approach is the ten enabling conditions in our Learner-Centered Framework.

Diagnostic: How It Works

The Learner-Centered Collaborative diagnostic process includes stakeholder interviews, classroom visits, student forums, and a review of relevant documents. From there, we provide a customized report of strengths, opportunities, and recommendations to move your vision forward. These site-based diagnostics can be synthesized into a report with current status and recommendations related to elements of the California Community Schools Framework, including: 

  • Four pillars of community schools
  • Four key conditions of learning
  • Four cornerstone commitments
  • Four proven practices