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Union Community

Community Schools Initiative

Community School is both a place and a network of supportive partnerships between the school and the community.

Union’s Community Schools approach to education seeks to equalize the playing field for all students through a comprehensive, four-pronged approach, providing layered supports for children and families:  

  • Expanded Learning Time
  • Collaborative Learning Practices
  • Family and Engagement Practices, and
  • Integrated Student Services

Union Public Schools is committed to strengthening children, families, and communities. Eight Full-Service Community Schools at Union serve as hubs for programs that include expanded learning opportunities, family engagement, and a variety of social services.  These eight schools offer a robust menu of resources and programs to meet the needs of our students and families including Baby Book Club, After-School Programs, Family Events, Holiday Assistance, School-Based Counseling, etc. 

From preschool through graduation, Community Schools support student growth and achievement while also creating strong ties among families, students, schools, and communities.  Doing so will help ensure 100% of our students graduate college and career ready.

Grpahiic that demonstrates 4 pillars of Community Schools

History

In the early 2000s, Union began to see an increase in students who needed more support than a traditional school district could provide. The district responded to the changing needs of the student population by addressing challenges such food insecurity, lack of access to health care, and inequitable distribution of community resources through the implementation of the research-based Community Schools model.  

In 2005, Union began laying the foundation for the creation of multiple community schools in an effort to bring in community partners for greater equity at schools with higher levels of poverty.  In partnership with University of Oklahoma, a school-based health clinic was established at Clark Elementary, and later at Rosa Parks Elementary. YMCA became a district partner to provide students with enrichment and tutoring during after-school programs.  Family & Children Services also became a valuable partner to help address the mental health needs of students.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Health Service Commission (MHSC) and other community leaders in Tulsa were looking at ways to support students and families, and made educational improvement as one of its priorities.  After much research and a visit to the National Community Schools Conference in 2006, MHSC and Community Service Council created the Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative (TACSI).  TACSI, supported by Community Service Council, fundraised, organized, and supported the Community Schools philosophy at Union Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools.  Community School Coordinators were placed in selected schools, as identified by the district with highest percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch, to coordinate programming and partnerships.

In 2011, Roy Clark Elementary was one of three national winners of the Community Schools for Excellence Award by the Coalition for Community Schools. They were honored with a $1,000 prize for being exemplars in their communities, demonstrating strong results by creating optimal conditions for student academic success through strong community partnerships.

In 2013, Community Schools became part of the district’s strategic plan, and approved by the school board as one of the district’s four key areas of focus.  Today, there are eight Full-Service Community Schools at Union:  Boevers Elementary, Clark Elementary, Grove Elementary, Jarman Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, McAuliffe Elementary, Ochoa Elementary, and Rosa Parks Elementary.  

Union offered health clinics at Rosa Parks and Roy Clark Elementary Schools until they were closed by OU Physicians in May 2019.  However, a new school-based health clinic was established at Rosa Parks through Community Health Connection, a full-service family practice clinic offering a broad array of services, including dental, prenatal, women's health, pediatrics, family medicine and behavioral health services and a full-service pharmacy.  

Union’s commitment to the Community Schools philosophy, in partnership with funders and community partners, helps create an environment where children have access to high-quality experiences.  These experiences improve student success and promote a healthy lifestyle and the opportunity to build relationships with caring peers and adults, who become a part of the student’s support system.  

Core components of a community school

  • Positive early childhood care and development 

  • Health / health education
  • Mental health / social services 
  • Family / community engagement 
  • Youth development / out-of-school time 
  • Neighborhood development 
  • Lifelong learning

For further information visit: www.communityschools.org

Funding

The Community Schools initiative is supported by a variety of generous community partners, foundations, and grants.

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Community Schools At A Glance

McAuliffe students running
Dad reads to daughter
Dad helps son with glue at Rosa Parks Elementary
Rosa Parks boy flexes his arms
Mom and daughter by sign: %22Great Minds Think Alike'
Volunteers work on fencing at the Rosa Parks Global Gardens site.
Jefferson PreK kids pose for picture with staff outside
Rosa Parks moms read books to toddlers outside
Grove students walk around teacher, who is holding an open umbrella
Roy Clark students work on art project with teacher
Ellen Ochoa students enjoy a dance performance in the gym
Rosa Parks student looks at snow through a magnifying glass
Jarman teacher and students read books while sitting in the hallway
Grove girls make faces while handling earthworms
Grove military dad holds daughter after surprising her with his return home.
Early Childhood students dressed in matching garb at Global Gardens
Rosa Parks families walk to parked cars in the rain
2 Ellen Ochoa boys read books in front of van
Ellen Ochoa teacher escorts young students to bookmobile parked out front of the school
Ellen Ochoa students use bookmobile slide in the back of the van
Jefferson Community Schools coordinator and PTA members toss ice cream
Rosa Parks boy jumps rope
Union student raises hand in front of nurse during a hearing screening
Union AFROTC and Boevers students salute flag as it is raised in front of the school
3 riy Clark kids in hamburger hats pose with Child Nutrition students
Dad and 3-year-old student walk outside Early Childhood Center
Young boy dressed as police officer dances
2 High School seniors in graduation garb stand with a Boevers 5th graders
3 High School seniors in graduation garb hold a young Boevers student
McAuliffe principal congratulates a 5th grade graduate girl during a ceremony outside.
Grove girl leaps into the air during a gym exercise
Rosa Parks Community School coordinator reads to a girl
Several students in silhouette jump in the air outside at a jog-a-thon
Boys in cowboy hats at Roy Clark Elementary
Rosa Parks Principal Heather Federline runs with students in a jog-a-thon
Roy Clark tips his cowboy hat while standing on a table in a packed classroom
Grove Community Schools coordinator dressed in tutu gives the thumbs up with students
Grove students enjoy a show at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center
Ellen Ochoa 5th grade graduate and her teacher at a graduation ceremony
Union students huddle a photo by a school bus in downtown Tulsa