What is a Community School?
Communities In Schools of Michigan, part of the national network, commits to providing every student, regardless of race, location, or economic status, the resources needed for success in school and life. Active in 73 Michigan schools, students and families are connected with supportive adults and community resources to overcome challenges and achieve future success.
Community schools, each unique in strengths and challenges, are united in their commitment to partnering with families and communities. They act as hubs, combining educational facilities with community partnerships to offer a range of top-quality academics, enrichment, and health and human services under one roof for children, youth and families so all students can succeed in school and life.
This collaborative approach is crucial for fostering student achievement and family success, making community schools effective centers for learning and growth.
The Rand Corporation's Impact Study provides evidence that Community Schools are effective in increasing graduation rates and student achievement, and in reducing chronic absenteeism and disciplinary incidents. See the report.
What is the Ottawa Community Schools Network (OCSN)?
OCSN is a community-driven initiative focused on fostering full-service community schools by providing infrastructure and technical support for broader student and family impact. Emphasizing the importance of collaboration, focuses on four priority areas:
- Integrated student supports
- Active family and community engagement
- Expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities
- Collaborative leadership and practices
When and why was OCSN established?
Based on the success of Kent School Services Network (KSSN), in 2017, Ottawa Area ISD, Ottawa County Community Mental Health and other health partners came together to establish a community school system of support for Ottawa area school districts in response to their expressed needs to increase student access to health services.
What are OCSN’s vision, purpose and objectives?
OCSN aims to holistically support student well-being through integrated family and community services.
Vision: Ensure every student is physically, emotionally and socially well, supported by strong family networks and able to reach their full potential.
Purpose: Integrate health and community services for students and families in the Ottawa area into a unified system through school-based delivery.
- Empower parents as partners in education and school improvement
- Enhance academic and learning outcomes
- Reduce truancy and absences
- Minimize the need for behavioral interventions
- Increase access to health services
How is progress monitored?
The work is evaluated through staff and program reviews.
90-Day Review: Meeting involving the OCSN Coordinator and building administrators.
Annual Performance Reviews: Collaborative evaluations by the OCSN Director, local district Team Lead and building administrators.
Manager Reports: Regular reports from a database used to track referrals and interventions and ensure alignment with school district strategic plans.
School Needs Assessment: Resource mapping for each school building to establish goals and priorities.
Annual Surveys: Gathering feedback through school staff and community partner surveys.
How does the role of a Community School Coordinator differ from a School Counselor?
The roles of Community School Coordinators and School Counselors are distinct yet complementary, each addressing different aspects of student support.
Community School Coordinator: Focuses on integrating resources and services, identifying student needs, fostering partnerships and coordinating community involvement in schools.
School Counselor: Provides academic guidance, career counseling, personal development and crisis response, focusing on individual student planning and support.
A more detailed description of a Community School Coordinator’s and School Counselor’s role is posted online.
Are OCSN services available to all students?
Local school districts employ either a child study process or a student assistance team approach as part of a federal requirement, established by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), to identify, locate and evaluate all children with disabilities, from birth through 21 years of age, who are in need, or may be in need, of special education and related services.
The OCSN initiative, led by general education staff, involves a collaborative team effort focused on a particular student to pinpoint their needs and develop tailored interventions for support. Part B of IDEA ensures that all children with disabilities are identified and supported. Districts have autonomy in their approach, often using a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) frameworks. Community School Coordinators play a supportive role in these district-level initiatives, particularly in implementing PBIS and fostering life skills learning.
What are Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)?
MTSS is a way schools help students succeed. It's like having different levels of support depending on each student's needs. Some students get the basic help that everyone gets, while others might need extra or special help.
PBIS is a part of MTSS focused on teaching students good behavior. It's like having rules for positive behavior in school. This helps create a better and safer learning environment for everyone.
How is OCSN funded?
OCSN's funding is a blend of various sources, including state funds, contributions from school districts, Ottawa County CMH millage funds and local donations. This combined funding sustains 16 Community School Coordinators, the OCSN Director, and professional development programs and supplies.
As of July 1, 2024, OCSN will no longer rely on funding from Ottawa County Community Mental Health.
Where can I find more information on OCSN?
OCSN is in the process of enhancing its online presence by integrating with the OAISD website.
Not finding what you’re looking for on our website? We will be pleased to speak with you at your convenience. Contact OAISD Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning at 616-738-8940.