(Re)Imagining The School As A Neighborhood Institution: A Vision Of A School That Is For The Community
Taylor, Joshua R.
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The purpose of this paper is to revisit the historical role of the school in order to reimagine the relationship between schools and historically disinvested urban communities. Can the local school serve as an anchor institution for historically disinvested urban communities? Through the use of existing literature, case study analysis, survey data review, and a scenario development exercise this essay will arrive at a vision of the local school, properly imagined as a network, serving as an anchor institution for historically disinvested urban communities. There are five major conclusions to be drawn from this study. First, the high school – as currently structured in low-income communities in America – fails to act as an anchor for disinvested urban communities. Second, if conceived as a network, instead of disconnected silos, the local high school has the potential to act as an anchor institution for disinvested urban communities. Third, greater planning, organization and collaboration within low-income neighborhoods are necessary in order to realize the enormous potential the school has to offer the community. Fourth, in order to adequately serve disinvested communities, the high school must be (1) equitable, (2) accessible, and (3) providing sensible services that meet the needs of the community. Finally, the evidence of this vision would be that the high school would serve as a point of convergence between parents, youth, primary schools, post-secondary institutions, neighborhoods, and the city for the advancement of previously disinvested communities. These conclusions are important for educators, education administrators, community organizers, city planners, and urban education policymakers to consider because they re-imagine the school in the context of low-income communities.