The Coalition for Community Schools recently posted a research paper that offers a systematic review of community school programs worldwide and evaluates their effectiveness in achieving at least one of their objectives. It’s interesting to note that most community school activities and outcomes are interrelated. Therefore, if studies show a positive effect of a particular activity on one outcome, they will likely show a positive outcome on several other factors as well. Cooperation (between schools, parents and communities), parental involvement and participation in extracurricular activities mostly correlate positively with academic achievement; they also correlate with reduced dropout rates and reduced risky behavior (in this case, defined as drug usage or criminal activity). This research suggests that community schools can, therefore, achieve their objectives with the types of activities they undertake. However, as most of the current research is correlational, further research should be done on the causal mechanisms behind these correlations.

The findings include:

-a positive correlation between parental involvement and community school outcomes
-a correlation between schools that offer a coordinated range of services (ie. health, adult learning, and social services offered within school environment) and smaller attainment gaps in standardized test scores, as well as higher standardized test scores
-a correlation between cooperation of schools/families/communities and higher attendance rates and lower chronic absenteeism
-a positive association between parental involvement and student academic performance
-a positive correlation between participation in extracurricular activities and student achievement (in elementary, middle and high school populations)
-a correlation between participation in extracurricular activities and lower dropout rates, as well as reduced student risky behavior (defined in this study as drug use and/or criminal activity)

The study also notes that extracurricular activities and parental involvement are better indicators of student achievement than parent income or education. For more information, the report can be found here: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.3102/0034654315627365

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