Mayor Jim Kenney’s top priority while in office will be improving our city’s schools. As part of this goal, Kenney has called for the establishment of ‘community schools:’ schools that function as neighborhood hubs, providing a range of services tailored to meet the specific needs of students and families in a community.

Philadelphia has recently seen an increase in the four-year graduation rate, due in part to multiple city and district efforts, but it is still well below the state average. Because so many neighborhood factors affect student achievement—poverty chief among them—Mayor Kenney sees community schools as a holistic strategy to address the needs of the community in order to improve student performance and outcomes.

There are many different types of community schools, each one designed to support the needs of its surrounding community. Common services offered through community schools consist of after-school programs, on-site child care, health services, counseling, job assistance, and even food assistance programs.

A critical piece of community schools is the strategic coordination with external partners to create a school that provides not only academic services but also social services and student support.

The community school model aligns with the goals of JEVS’ youth services programs and we are excited to support the effort to fund these important endeavors.

JEVS already works in high schools throughout the city, helping high-risk students achieve their full potential by reducing their barriers to success and preparing them for college and career. Our 21st Century PASS (Preparing, Attaining and Sustaining Success) Program has recently seen 95% high school completion and 70% postsecondary enrollment—much higher than Philadelphia’s overall high school graduation average of 65% and postsecondary enrollment near 40%.

With funding and the right partnerships, the community school model could provide much needed supports to the underserved populations of our city. As a diverse provider that serves both youth and adults, JEVS is proud to be a partner in this effort and will continue to work toward improving our community’s schools and the lives of Philadelphia’s families.

For more information on our youth programs, click here.

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