AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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Working with Our Communities

The AFT Innovation Fund has invested in several innovations designed to explicitly strengthen the ties between educators and school communities. Partnerships with parents, community members, and local stakeholders are necessary to ensure students have everything they need to succeed in school. This is a core value of our union and an example of AFT’s mission of uniting those we represent with those we serve.

AFT-West Virginia and West Virginia School Service
Personnel Association, 2011

Summary:The AFT-West Virginia and West Virginia School Service Personnel Association are committed to helping West Side Elementary School in Charleston fulfill its potential as a community school. The project has created a leadership team of staff and outside partners at the school that will coordinate and enhance opportunities for children. By integrating the community and faith-based organizations on the West Side with the school staff, the initiative is taking a coordinated and comprehensive approach that will ensure that the new facility’s potential is realized for students, their families and the larger neighborhood.

Intended Outcomes:

  1. Build a robust community school that provides after-school programs and other services for children and serves as an asset to the larger community.
  2. Produce a document explaining the governance model and processes used at West Side Elementary.
  3. Campaign at the state Legislature for financial support for the community schools model.


Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, 2009

Summary: In collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, the union expanded an established community schools program in West Philadelphia. Specifically, teams of teachers and principals were trained in “distributed leadership” so they could make decisions on services in their schools. The final grant year focused on opening and staffing Parent and Community Resource Centers in three schools.

Intended Outcomes:

  1. To train teams of teachers and principals in schools to share their ideas about how to better serve students and connect school to community and home.
  2. To open Parent and Community Resource Centers to build on the faculty’s knowledge and skills, and provide a bridge between schools and their neighborhoods.
  3. To document the effects of the project through a video, written report and evaluation by the University of Pennsylvania.