Families, schools, and communities can together give children the best opportunities for education success. 

Human services community-based organizations, like those in the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities network, have the expertise to ensure children and families have what they need to overcome barriers and achieve their full potential. When community-based organizations come together with schools, districts, and educators, education systems are better able to address children’s challenges and opportunities. 

Examples from the Alliance Network 

Transforming Education through Partnerships 

Martha O'Bryan Center in Nashville, responded to decades of poor academic outcomes by championing a multifaceted approach to child success that includes federally funded cross-sector initiatives, partnerships with local schools, and the creation of its own charter schools and early learning centers. Students who attend Martha O'Bryan's academic student unions in their public high schools are now more likely to graduate on time and enroll in college with higher GPAs and ACT scores. Open enrollment to the organization's charter school provides all children in the neighborhood with access to a school ranked in the top five percent in the state for growth and achievement. 

Find out more about Martha O'Bryan Center's approach to educational success in their 2018 Commitments Award video and this Snapshots presentation by Kent Miller at the 2014 Alliance National Conference. 

Grounding Programs in Community and Equity 

Alliance member, Lincoln in Oakland, California, strengthens entire communities through strategies that reduce truancy and chronic absenteeism by addressing root causes: Challenges related to poverty, systemic inequities, and lack of culturally relevant interventions. Community members and parents are co-designers and partners in the initiative, providing ongoing leadership in the family resource center, which is an upstream solution and neighborhood anchor. Students also benefit from a race-positive curriculum and tools in navigating racism and discrimination both in the classroom and in their neighborhoods.  

In the first two years of the initiative, 100 percent of students improved their attendance and over 80 percent improved tardiness. Students in the Oakland Freedom School gained an average of 1.5 grade levels over the course of one summer. Watch this Snapshots presentation by Macheo Payne on why trauma and poverty interventions fall short, where he discusses Lincoln's innovative approach to equity.  

Applying Brain Science and Evidence to Educational Settings 

Many organizations in the Alliance network use their expertise in trauma-informed care and building resilience to partner with schools on improving school culture and climate. These efforts apply the latest research in neuroscience to create learning environments that support all children, leading to stronger outcomes across a wide variety of measures. 

  • Organizations like Alliance members The Children’s Guild, with its TranZed program, and Starr Commonwealth are national leaders in trauma-informed training, working with thousands of educators each year and providing transformational support to school districts. 
  • The work of 2017 Alliance Commitment Awards recipient Seneca Family of Agencies has led to the integration of brain science and trauma-informed practice in schools throughout California and Washington. Learn more about Seneca’s work by watching its Commitments Award video.
  • Alliance member SaintA, has implemented The Mandt System® crisis prevention and intervention model in its residential treatment centers as part of its commitment to trauma-informed practice. By working with FEI Behavioral Health, its training partner, and Mandt, Alliance member organizations, including SaintA, have seen success from fully integrating the program within their organizations. SaintA, have seen success from fully integrating the program within their organizations.

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