The Communities In Schools Model
How does Communities In Schools translate its Theory of Change into practice to bring about needed changes at school sites and in the lives of the students? The answer lies in a simple yet highly effective model for delivering integrated, evidence-based services to address school and individual student level needs.
The following illustration shows how the Communities In Schools Model is implemented throughout the school year by a Communities In Schools site team. The process is cyclical, with the evaluative information from one year being used as part of data-driven decision making for the next year of implementation.
The key elements of the Communities In Schools Model include:
1. Communities In Schools Site Team
The Communities In Schools site team is led by a site coordinator responsible for planning and managing all Communities In Schools operations at the site. The site coordinator works closely with school administrators, staff and teachers in this effort. The remaining part of the team may include varied combinations of additional Community In Schools staff, reassigned or repositioned staff, partners and volunteers, each with defined roles and responsibilities based on Communities In Schools site operations plans.
2. Annual Needs Assessment
Each year Communities In Schools identifies needs based on multiple sources of data. These may include data collected by school districts and schools as part of overall school improvement initiatives, surveys and discussions with staff, parents and students, and evaluation results from the previous year. Needs are prioritized in consultation with school administrators and are used as the foundation for site operations planning.
3. Annual Site Operations Planning
Each year the Communities In Schools site team develops a comprehensive site operations plan to address identified needs. The plan includes measurable objectives, as well as procedures for delivering Levels One and Two services, monitoring and adjusting services, and evaluating and reporting effectiveness.
4. Delivery of Evidence-Based Services
According to the site operations plan, widely accessible Level One services are provided to help address identified school-wide needs or to build and reinforce student assets. Targeted and sustained Level Two services are provided for specific students who are identified as having the greatest risk of eventually dropping out of school. Level Two services are provided based on individualized assessments and plans. Communities In Schools Total Quality System standards define the frequency and saturation levels of services required for full implementation of the Communities In Schools Model.
5. Monitoring and Adjusting Services
According to the site operations plan, the Communities In Schools site team regularly monitors and adjusts services as needed to maximize effectiveness and impact. The team also provides regular progress reports to school and affiliate leadership.
6. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Services
According to the site operations plan and the affiliate’s uniform data collection system, the Communities In Schools site team implements a systematic data collection plan to evaluate the effectiveness of services on achievingschool-wide goals and addressing the needs of individual students.
7. Annual Reporting
The Communities In Schools site team provides annual end-of-year reports to school and affiliate leadership. These reportsare instrumental in planning site services for the following year, as well as contributing to affiliate-level reports for partners, the state office, and the national office.