Press Release

As Part of Coalition, AFT Releases Blueprint for School-Community Partnerships

For Release: 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Emilie Surrusco
202-879-4134; 202/341-8787 (cell)

WASHINGTON— Francine Lawrence, executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, today joined a coalition representing school board members, teachers, school support staff, administrators, parents, students and community members to release a blueprint for better-coordinated support and opportunity systems for all children in our public schools.

"Partnerships, Not Pushouts: A Guide for School Board Members on Community Partnerships for Student Success" lays the groundwork for policy recommendations, including using community school resource coordinators to facilitate the development of Personal Opportunity Plans for each student. It also outlines how to implement whole-child strategies to ensure all children can succeed.

"Today half of our children in public schools are poor. At the same time, many schools lack the resources to help meet the needs of children who are struggling. The American Federation of Teachers believes in an approach that helps to address the needs of the whole child by collaborating with community partners to focus on academic as well as social, emotional and health needs," said Lawrence.

"We have already seen how this approach can work in places like Cincinnati, Ohio, and McDowell County, W.Va., where the AFT has been a leading partner in the creation of community schools. Personal Opportunity Plans are another strategy that builds upon this idea that teachers, administrators, school support staff, parents and community partners must all come together to address the individual needs of all children—and create welcoming, supportive, engaging places where all children can succeed."

"Partnerships, Not Pushouts: A Guide for School Board Members on Community Partnerships for Student Success" was developed by the Advancement Project, the Alliance for Excellent Education, the American Federation of Teachers, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the Coalition for Community Schools, the National Education Association, the National School Boards Association, Opportunity Action, the Opportunity to Learn Campaign, and the Rural School and Community Trust.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.