Our Community School
Hillcrest is a safe, happy multilingual and multicultural school located at the crest of Silver Avenue between the Portola and Excelsior Districts in southeast San Francisco.
A Message from the Principal
At Hillcrest we are deeply committed to improving the academic, social and emotional well-being of our students and their families. We have a wonderfully supportive staff and families who are full of energy and share a vision of providing an academically challenging school experience while also ensuring a consistently caring climate that validates each for who they are.
What is a community school?
A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. A Community School is not a program, but rather a collaborative approach to supporting student success. It is not just a set of services, but rather, a different way of doing business, one in which all stakeholders are in authentic relationship and have a shared vision for success. The nature of these partnerships is the key, not the number or type of services and supports provided.
Why a Community School?
A good education is the strongest predictor of success in life and yet many children are faced with daunting challenges that significantly diminish their ability to regularly attend and participate in school. Unmet mental and physical health needs, hunger, unstable housing and pervasive violence in their neighborhoods are just some of the barriers students encounter. For these children and their families, a Community School acts as the primary resource for a range of vital services to help them not only attend, but also engage and thrive in school.
What are some examples of services?
What are some ways that success is measured?
Critical Components for a Successful Community School
Parents/Family Members/Caretakers are the most important component to a successful Community School. They should be fully engaged in determining the particular needs and solutions for their communities as well as being actively involved in the implementation and evaluation of the resulting programs.
Community School Coordinators are the "community organizer" of the school and community. They create, strengthen, and maintain the bridge between the school and community. Community school coordinators facilitate and provide leadership for the collaborative process and development of a continuum of services for children, families and community members within a school neighborhood.
Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) are integral to community schools. These CBOs could be working in the areas of: health and human services; arts and cultural institutions; recreation; libraries; youth development groups; community development agencies; education; volunteerism and many more.
School Staff from administrators, to classroom teachers, to support staff, to the janitor need to be brought in for the Community School model to truly succeed. Lines of communication need to be clear and trust and strong relationships are vital. In addition it is very helpful to have district staff and a Board of Education that are supportive of your vision.
Students (!) are why we do what we do, right? Children of all ages can be involved in actively creating a positive school climate and older elementary through middle and high school students should be involved in some type of leadership capacity in your Community School effort.
Community School Resources and Websites
The Coalition for Community Schools brings together local, state and national organizations that represent individuals and groups engaged in creating and sustaining community schools. The Coalition offers numerous tools and publications, most of which can be accessed via the web, regarding the development, implementation and sustainability of community schools.http://www.communityschools.org/
California Center for Community-School Partnerships (CCSP) at UC Davis is designed to provide training and technical services to local partnerships seeking to develop learning supports and services through community-school partnerships. The CCSP also houses the Healthy Start Field Office and accompanying Clearinghouse. www.education.ucdavis.edu/cress-center/community-school-partnerships/
Partnership for Children and Youthhelps schools in low-income communities successfully access public funding for critical support programs for students and their families. The Partnership’s mission is to ensure all children equal access to the supports and opportunities they need to be successful in school and in life. They act as an information resource and can provide grant writing assistance, program implementation support and sustainability planning.www.partnerforchildren.org/
John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities (JGC)has been a leader in developing programs and strategies that increase youth engagement, and youth leadership. Based on ten years of experience in the Redwood City School District JGC has developed resources that cater to the needs of teachers, after-school program directors, administrators and technical assistance providers that want to implement community school principles in their schools. www.jgc.stanford.edu/
April 14-15, 2015: Special thanks to the student volunteers from Lick Wilmerding for engaging in structured games with our students on the yard during lunch recess. The students of Hillcrest loved spending time with the volunteers and were thrilled to have new materials and equipment to play with!