School Administrator Toolkit

What is a Community School?

The Ottawa Community Schools Network (OCSN) integrates the various health and community supports for students and families in the Ottawa Area into one seamless system delivered through existing school-based facilities through the community school model. This video helps explain Community Schools.



OCSN Expected Outcomes

OCSN Outcomes

Guiding Principles of a Community School

Seven principles guide the community schools strategy. These principles provide a strong foundation for the pursuit of the community school strategy.


  1. Pursue Equity: Educational excellence and equity are inseparable. Community schools work actively to identify and confront policies, practices, and cultures that keep students of different backgrounds from achieving equitable outcomes. Community schools proactively and intentionally empower those typically dis-empowered by barriers to participation.

  2. Invest in a Whole-child Approach to Education: Meaningful teaching and learning embraces, but goes beyond, mastery of core academic subjects to include youth development principles; holding high expectations for children, youth, and adults; and developing social-emotional, health, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

  3. Build on Community Strengths to Ensure Conditions: Community schools utilize the assets of the entire community, including the gifts of those who live and work there, parents, families, and community partners to create the optimal learning conditions.

  4. Use Data and Community Wisdom to Guide Partnerships, Programs, and Progress: Reliable and community-specific data, coupled with the wisdom of youth, families, and residents, guides how educators and community partners work together to achieve measurable results.

  5. Commit to Interdependence and Shared Accountability: Student success requires explicit investment in collaborative planning and implementation between educators and community partners, and across program areas and disciplines. Mutually agreed-upon results and related indicators, as well as written agreements, enable educators and community partners to hold each other accountable.

  6. Invest in Building Trusting Relationships: Deep collaboration takes dedicated effort and time, and becomes evident in the daily formal and informal social exchanges within a school community and between the school and the broader community. Trusting relationships fuel school transformation by helping to create a nurturing, safe, respectful climate where caring adults, families, and students come to rely on each other as part of a shared approach to student success.

  7. Foster a Learning Organization: Improved student learning depends on a school community where educators and community partners work together towards continuous improvement. Time and support are available for individual and collective reflection and adjustment, as well as shared learning and professional development, to facilitate responsiveness to student needs