Research: Connections
Northwestern University Report
The Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University provides effective strategies for rediscovering and mobilizing the layers of resources already present in any community. Its website offers excellent research, publications, training resources, toolkits, and an active online discussion group or forum.

According to ABCD, the key to lasting solutions comes from within. Individuals, associations, institutions, physical environment, the local economy, and stories all are assets providing a strong foundation upon which any community can build. Successful strategies for community development in neighborhoods are asset-based, internally-focused, and relationship-driven. Finding and connecting existing assets is the most important work a community can do. Visit the ABCD Institute website.

NEA Foundation Report
The Expanding Learning Opportunities to Close the Achievement Gap report from the NEA Foundation cites examples of collaborative approaches to school reform which have improved student achievement. Through collaborative efforts, school districts, local unions, and communities have worked together to boost achievement for all students, and closed achievement gaps among groups. Visit the NEA Foundation website to view the report.

The Coalition for Community Schools
The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) staffs the Coalition for Community Schools. IEL is a non- profit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C., whose primary goal is to strengthen school, family, and community connections by providing policy and leadership assistance to individuals and organizations.

The Coalition for Community Schools (CCS) is an alliance consisting of national, state and local organizations in education K-16, youth development, community planning and development, family support, health and human services, government and philanthropy as well as national, state and local community school networks. Many national models and local community school initiatives share a common set of key principles: fostering strong partnerships, sharing accountability for results, setting high expectations, building on the community’s strengths, and embracing diversity and innovative solutions. The coalition’s vision includes a future in which schools are centers of thriving communities where everyone belongs, works together and succeeds.

The Coalition of Community Schools has many resources for parents, schools and communities on its website. Schools and communities will find useful information regarding leadership roles various stakeholders may fill in partnerships, resources and tool kits on a variety of topics, policy and advocacy ideas, and multimedia resources such as videos, news items, and blogs on partnerships. The CCS website is an outstanding resource for strengthening school and community partnerships. CCS has put together a guide on Strengthening Partnerships which includes an assessment on school/community partnerships. This resource is an additional tool to assist schools in planning and implementing strategies for school and community partnerships.

The Afterschool Alliance works to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality after school programs. Its website offers resources ideas for schools to extend learning beyond the school day through a variety of strategies. Visit the Afterschool Alliance website.

Issue Brief: Afterschool: The Bridge Connecting Schools and Communities