Building a Community

Nearly two dozen teachers, counselors, and school health professionals from seven districts took a road trip to learn how Windsor has implemented a community school model to foster student success.

“We’re developing some of these concepts in our building and this is an opportunity to see them in practice and go to a place where this is actually happening,” said Lauren Morley, 512 Principal at Lisbon Central Schools. 

Jason Andrews standing in the front of a library with people seated at tables in front of him 

The definition of a community school is a strategy, fueled by a vision, for organizing the resources of the school and community around student success. Windsor CSD Superintendent, Dr. Jason Andrews, spoke to the group about how his district has implemented that strategy.

“How do we provide comprehensive services to students and their families? As you look at all of the work we’re doing, we’re trying to provide services to students through leveraging partnerships,” said Dr. Andrews.

He referenced relationships with Binghamton University, which has provided mentorship opportunities and other experiences for Windsor students, as well as the Family and Children’s Society, which has helped provide mental health supports to the District. 

In addition, the District’s relationship with Visions Federal Credit Union has helped bring banking services to both Windsor Central High School and the Windsor community as a whole, while Visions has also sponsored the District’s summer and career pathway programs. 

Three people seated at a table 

“There are always people who say, ‘How do you do that?’ It will be good to go back and be able to say, ‘Here’s a model,’” said Messina School District Director of Guidance Bob Jordan. “The environment feels inviting to students. The climate here seems very positive.”

Six of the seven districts at the meeting are from St. Lawrence County in the state’s rural North Country. The Rockland 21 C Collaborative for Children and Youth facilitated the meeting, hoping districts can develop the vision and mission needed to put community schools practices into place.

“When we see the challenges to student learning, we don’t see math or proficiency. We see poverty, mental health, factors that affect the whole child. We want to remove those barriers,” said Becky Christner, Executive Director of Rockland 21 C.  

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