When schools become more than just a place for student learning—rather a partnership of community resources—students achieve at higher rates, families are more resilient, and communities are healthier. As a strategy to improve outcomes for students and families, this spark session will feature Community Schools, an evidence-based model of school-community partnership that provides wraparound services to entire communities within the school setting.

Martin Blank, director of the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership, will discuss how community-based organizations are developing deep and sustained ties with public schools through the community school strategy. Participants will also hear from a panel of Alliance for Strong Families and Communities members about the value and the challenges of incorporating community schools in their ongoing work and new possibilities for collaboration under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Learning Objectives

  • How the community school strategy has been implemented by other Alliance members
  • Connections between the community school model and individual organizations’ missions
  • Action steps for implementing the community school model

Presenter: Martin Blank, director of the Coalition for Community Schools, Institute for Educational Leadership

Connect on Twitter: @MartyBlankIEL

Martin Blank
Director of the Coalition for Community Schools
Institute for Educational Leadership

Martin Blank is the director if the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL). The coalition is a network of organizations and institutions at the local, state, and national levels working to unite schools and communities. He was IEL’s president from 2009-2017 and has been associated with IEL since 1985, focusing his work on building bridges between schools and other institutions with assets that can support student success.

He is the co-author of Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools, Education and Community Building: Connecting Two Worlds, and Together We Can: A Guide for Crafting a Pro-family System of Education and Human Services.

Blank has a bachelor’s from Columbia University, 1965, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. He served as a VISTA Volunteer in the Missouri Bootheel.