Engaging Students

What is a University-Assisted Community School?

University-Assisted Community Schools (UACS) engage, educate, and empower students, families, and community members. UACS focus on schools as core institutions for community engagement and democratic development, as well as link school day and after school curricula to solve locally identified, real-world, community problems. For neighborhood schools to function as genuine community centers, however, they need additional human resources and support. We emphasize “university-assisted” because universities, indeed higher educational institutions in general, can constitute the strategic sources of broadly based, comprehensive, sustained support for community schools. UACS engage universities as lead partners in providing academic, human, and material resources. This mutually beneficial partnership improves the quality of life and learning in local schools and communities while simultaneously advancing university research, teaching, learning, and service.

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A Network of Universities

Launched in 2015, we are a national network of higher education partners that support university-assisted community schools. The UACS National Network is organized by the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Coalition for Community Schools and Rutgers University-Camden. The network meets monthly online (generally on the third Monday) to build a professional learning community among higher education leaders that shares resources and best practices to advance university-assisted community schools policy and practice. For more information, contact Cory Bowman, Associate Director of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, bowman@upenn.edu.

About This Website

The UACS National Network created this website in June 2020 to share its work as part of the virtual Rise Up For Equity Summit on Community Schools and Family Engagement, organized by the Institute for Educational Leadership and the Coalition for Community Schools.¬† The higher education partners featured on the site participated in a Deep Dive Session on university-assisted community schools on June 15, 2020. The content developed for this site mirrors the Summit’s focus on equity and shares key details and information about UACS sites across the country. Originally planned as an in-person meeting in Los Angeles, the Summit’s local co-hosts included the UCLA Center for Community Schooling, which hosts this website and serves as a University-Assisted Community Schools Regional Training Center. For more information, contact Karen Hunter Quartz, Director of the UCLA Center for Community Schooling, quartz@ucla.edu.

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