LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) — The public will have two opportunities this month to hear important details about the City of Little Rock’s plans for the introduction of community schools in the Little Rock School District (LRSD) in the 2020-21 school year. Virtual Town Halls will be held July 23 and 30 at 6:00 p.m. and can be viewed at LittleRock.gov and the City’s YouTube channel. The Central Arkansas Library System’s Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library, Urban League of Arkansas, League of Women Voters of Pulaski County, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Arkansas United, and the City of Little Rock’s Commission on Children, Youth, and Families, and Community Programs have partnered to host
the town halls. The public is also invited to share their thoughts on how the Community Schools Model should be implemented in Little Rock through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Community Schools Model has four key pillars:
- Integrated student supports individualized to students’ needs. These wrap-around services might include physical or behavioral health care services or mentoring.
- Expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities that might include afterschool dance classes or summer literacy programs.
- The school also operates as a neighborhood hub providing the services needed by parents and community members such as English-learning classes or computer training.
- Finally, it’s important that a collaborative leadership model exist in community schools where parents, school leaders, and community members all work together in a trusting network.
Dr. Jay Barth, Little Rock Chief Education Officer has also produced the What is a Community School? video series, which is accessible on YouTube. In it, he highlights “that every community school will look different because the needs of every neighborhood across our beautifully diverse city are different.”
Dr. Barth also emphasizes that a community school “doesn’t replace high-quality teaching or a challenging curriculum available to all students. But, a community school supports these aspects of a world-class education meaning that more students are able to live up their full potential.”
In the coming weeks, the City and the LRSD will identify the initial set of community schools.
“In the selection process, we’ll take into account the need of the school and its surrounding neighborhood, the physical space available to bring the community into the school on a regular basis, and which schools merge together as elementary schools and feed into middle schools and middle schools into high schools,” Barth said.
Each will have a staff member whose job it is to coordinate services and relationships with community partners. It’s anticipated that additional schools will be added for the 2021-22 school year.
The community is invited to provide feedback on what the Community School Model should look like in Little Rock at email@example.com.