Community schools: A place-based approach to education and neighborhood change

The institutions of a neighborhood are vital to its health and economic strength, and public schools are one of the most important shared institutions. They function not only as centers for providing education but also as hubs for communities to organize a range of supports and opportunities for children and their families.

Reuben Jacobson’s addition to the Building Healthy Neighborhoods series explores the potential for community-schools to cultivate healthy neighborhoods through partnerships with educators, families, nonprofits, businesses, faith-based institutions, and community members. Says Jacobson, “Such school-based partnerships provide social services and supports, enriching educational opportunities, healthcare, mental health services, adult education, and nutrition programs, with a strong emphasis on equity and making greatest use of the community’s strengths.”

With an estimated 5,000 community schools now in operation across America, studies have shown positive impacts on attendance, health, school climate, and achievement, while also pointing to challenges faced by these institutions.

As attention to this education and community change reform grows, we will continue to learn more about its impact on schools, families, and communities.


The author did not receive financial support from any firm or person for this article or from any firm or person with a financial or political interest in this article. The author is currently not an officer, director, or board member of any organization with an interest in this article.