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Citation:Cahill, M. (1996). Schools and community partnerships: Reforming schools, revitalizing communities. Chicago, IL: Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform.

This report identifies different approaches to school-community collaboration. The author suggests there is a need to clarify the goals and underlying assumptions of various types of collaborations. This includes building an understanding of the multiple ways communities and schools can relate, including the potential roles each can play and the objectives of the collaboration. Community can be defined using geographical, philosophical, political, sociological, or economic terms. The way community is defined affects the type of collaboration undertaken. The different types of school-community collaborations can be characterized by their primary emphases, such as provision of services to meet youth needs, schools and community as educational partners, schools and community as partners in youth development, school-community collaborations for community and economic development, and community redefinition or transformation of schools. The author offers a caution that in any of these types of collaborations, teaching and learning must be a central focus. While school reform has the potential to impact community development, it is critical to keep the primary focus on educational success. This paper highlights the diversity of these types of connections and discusses the underlying assumptions behind different approaches. It also presents brief case studies from various school-community partnerships across the nation, giving the practitioner a picture of the diversity of school-community connections and the results they can produce.

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