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Closing The Achievement Gap - Banner


Start Where You Are: Identify Needs, Strengths, and Assets

“I believe that, just as parents who come to this country sacrifice everything for the education of their children, the public in this time of difficulty will also sacrifice for education because education
is the one thing that will secure our future.”

—Jack O'Connell, California Superintendent of Public Instruction


In many communities, partnerships between schools and community organizations and agencies have been established and thriving for many years. Perhaps the work of such partnerships has achieved measurable progress toward closing the achievement gap, and the partnerships continue to grow as new partners are anxious to participate. In other communities, partnerships may have been established, but certain groups of students may still be struggling. It is likely that some partners have withdrawn, and overall enthusiasm for the partnerships has diminished. In many communities, school-community partnerships have never existed, and the achievement gap continues to widen. These varying conditions require schools, their surrounding communities, and local businesses to take an honest look at their current situation, determine where they want to be, and start charting the course that will take them there.

Resources & Tools

California GEAR-UP School Self-Assessment Rubric
This section of the California GEAR-UP Web site provides information on the School Self-Assessment Rubric (SSAR). It allows a school to identify its place on six scales that measure different aspects related to developing a college-going culture and then assess its development over time.

Center for Community School Partnerships, UC Davis, Community School Partnerships Toolkit
Section 3. "Understanding Your Community"

Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA. 2007. A Resource Aid Packet On Addressing Barriers to Learning: A Set of Surveys to Map What A School Has and What It Needs. Los Angeles, CA. (PDF)
"Survey of Learning Supports System Status" (pp. 10–14)
"Student and Family Assistance Programs and Services" (pp. 39–44)

The Community Toolbox: Bringing Solutions to Light
Part A. Models for Promoting Community Health and Development: Gateways to the Tools (Chapters 1–2) 
Part B. Community Assessment, Agenda Setting, and Choice of Broad Strategies (Chapters 3–5) 
Part C. Promoting Interest and Participation in Initiatives (Chapters 6–7)