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Consider an alternative: community schools

The Globe’s April 1 edition featured two high-profile articles on the debate over charter schools: “Charter schools bill wins no unity” (Page A1) and Adrian Walker’s column about Phoenix Charter Academy, “Too cared for to fail” (Metro). What state administrators and legislators should be looking into is the model for community schools that all public schools can and should aspire to be.

The national Coalition for Community Schools defines this model as “both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families, and healthier communities.”

Community schools provide for the kind of outreach and innovation reflected in the Phoenix Academy’s work. So many of our kids and families need this. The community school owns the community and vice versa. Let’s get with the movement.

Mary Byrne, Salem

The writer is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Salem State University and a member of the board of the Center for Community Schools.