America SCORES Chicago has been authorized to serve as a Lead Agency Partner for Chicago's Community Schools Initiative. A Lead Agency Partner works with a school to use the resources of the agency (in SCORES' case, this is our staff, our partnerships, and our soccer/creative expression/service-learning curriculum), the resources of the school, and the resources of the community to provide comprehensive, wrap-around services for students, their families, and the entire surrounding neighborhood. With this authorization, SCORES becomes one of only 25 agencies city wide certified by CPS to serve in this capacity.
The Coalition for Community Schools describes a Community School as:
...both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone – all day, every day, evenings and weekends. Using public schools as hubs, community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of supports and opportunities to children, youth, families and communities.
SCORES' role as Community Schools Lead Agency grew organically out of its mission to provide comprehensive youth development and to build networks within our neighborhoods. Three years ago, Chalmers Specialty Elementary School, a long time partner with SCORES, requested that we serve as its Lead Agency Partner. Because of the strong word-of-mouth reputation garnered from this relationship, SCORES was asked -and accepted the request- to serve as Lead Agency Partner at three additional schools this spring: Nathaniel Pope Elementary, Gregory Elementary, and Johnson Elementary.
The Community Schools Initiative provides SCORES a sustainable model for expansion and the opportunity to create an even deeper and wider-ranging impact in the schools, students, and communities we serve.