Case Study: Leadership of Community Schools
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Case Study: Leadership of Community Schools

Introduction: Leadership of Community Schools

Community involvement has recently become one of the new trends in education especially in general education schools in Mongolia. It represents the notion that a school does not operate in a silo, but rather depends on and engages with its external surroundings.

A Community School is the hub of its neighborhood; it has the potential to bring together families, educators and community partners to provide all of its students with top quality schooling, enrichment, health and social services and opportunities to succeed in school and in life.

In Community Schools, there is an acknowledgement that children learn best when their families and the wider community provides a supportive environment. For this reason, community schools  work not only with children during the school day, but also offer services to families, recognizing parents as co-educators. They also build partnerships with other agencies in order to offer a range of additional services to children, their families and the communities in which they live. In so doing, they make a contribution to the health and economic well-being of the community, and to community cohesion. They are therefore pluralistic in nature and a community asset accessible to the whole community.

Community Schools are often the only public asset to be found in rural communities. In urban environments, they are often the only place where the parallel lives of ethnic minorities can be brought together in a common purpose.

How to learn from this case study?

Potential overall critical thinking questions:

  1. What are the main responsibilities of a community school leader and how do they differ from a “regular” school leader?
  2. What specific characteristics and skills do principals need to lead a community school?
  3. How can community engagement enhance learning and foster meaningful learning for the students and/or their families?
  4. To what extent is the concept of community schools applicable to contexts outside of Mongolia?
  5. What role does community play in “regular” schools in different contexts?
  6. What are the main learning objectives in community schools and to what extent are they different from “regular” schools?

Suggested class activities (pre-, during-, or post-class):

  1. The participants discuss the areas of school work in which the community should/could be engaged.
  2. The participants could role play as various actors (students, teachers, parents, community members, leaders) to consider the ways community engagement could help in fostering meaningful learning, and propose specific techniques and tasks from the perspective of their role play character.
  3. The participants could discuss the advantages and disadvantages of engaging community into school life.
  4. The participants could write or discuss responses to scholarly articles, policies, empirical evidence or other materials.

The reality of school leadership in Mongolia: Empirical evidence from a school leader

Related Video

For more detailed information on school leadership and education in Mongolia

Resources

Magno, C. (2013). Perspectives from Mongolia: Standards spreading and structures sticking: Leadership Accountability in Mongolia

Magno, C. (2013). Perspectives from Mongolia: Standards spreading and structures sticking: Leadership Accountability in Mongolia. In Comparative perspectives on international school leadership: Policy, preparation and practice. New York: Routledge, Inc.

Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2007). Mongolia country case study

Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2007). Mongolia country case study. (PDF) Country profile commissioned for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report, 2008, Education for All 2015: Will we make it?

Policies regarding school leadership and community schools:

Scholarly articles and guidebooks regarding community schools

Heers M., Klaveren C., Groot W., Maassenvandenbrink, H. (2016). Community Schools: What We Know and What We Need to Know. Review of Educational Research 86 (4)

Abstract:

Community schools offer children an integrated set of educational and social services, but sound scientific evidence on their effectiveness is lacking. Therefore, this study reviews the literature on community schools. First, we characterize community schools and find that their key activities are cooperating with other institutions, involving parents, and offering extracurricular activities. Second, we describe an exemplary community school for which causal evidence shows improved academic achievement. Third, we explore whether the three main activities of community schools influence academic performance, dropout, and risky behavior. Academic performance does not appear to be influenced by extracurricular activities. On the other hand, extracurricular activities do appear to be related to reduced dropout and risky behavior. In addition, there is a positive association of cooperation and parental involvement with academic achievement, and a negative correlation of these two factors with dropout and risky behavior. However, more causal evidence is needed before it can be concluded that community schools are effective.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/294425286_Community_Schools_What_We_Know_and_What_We_Need_to_Know

Oakes, J., Maier, A. & Daniel, J. (2017). Community Schools: An evidence-based strategy for equitable school improvement.

National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED574713

Abstract

This brief examines the research on community schools, with two primary emphases. First, it explores whether the 2015 federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) opens the possibility of investing in well-designed community schools to meet the educational needs of low-achieving students in high-poverty schools. And second, it provides support to school, district, and state leaders as they consider, propose, or implement a community school intervention in schools targeted for comprehensive support. The brief is drawn from a larger research review, available at https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/comm-schools-equitable-brief. This review shows that the evidence base on well-implemented community schools and their component features provides a strong warrant for their potential contribution to school improvement. Sufficient evidence meeting ESSA’s criteria for “evidence-based” approaches exists to justify including community schools as part of targeted and comprehensive interventions in high-poverty schools. This evidence also supports community schools as an approach appropriate for broader use. Policymakers who want to incorporate a community schools strategy into their ESSA state plans–as well as other plans for state and local school improvements–can benefit from the research-based lessons presented in this brief.

Blank, M. J., Melaville, A. & Shah, B. P. (2003). Making the difference: Research and practice in Community Schools.

Coalition for Community Schools, Institute for Educational Leadership. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED477535

Abstract

This study reviews the research on community schools and reports on evaluations of community schools initiatives across the United States. It explains that community schools are important solutions in improving student learning. It uses research and evaluation data, as well as local school experiences, to illustrate why community schools are important to the education and development of all students. Five chapters address: (1) “The Community School Advantage” (e.g., building social capital, providing learning opportunities that develop academic and non-academic skills, and leading an effective school environment); (2) “The Conditions for Schooling” (e.g., students are motivated and engaged in learning, both in school and in community settings, and there is mutual respect and effective collaboration among parents, families, and school staff); (3) “The Impact of Community Schools: A Review of Current Evaluation Findings” (e.g., the impact of community schools in youth, families, schools, and communities); (4) “From Research to Practice” (e.g., connected learning experiences and community partnerships); and (5) “An Action Agenda” (e.g., a motivating vision and strategic organization and financing). Five appendices present: community school profiles and narrative overviews; community school evaluations (description, design, and findings); additional resources; national and local community school networks; and coalition for community school partners. Also appended is an executive summary.

Dryfood, J. G., Quinn, J. & Barkin, C. (Eds.) (2005). Community Schools in action: Lessons from a decade of practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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