Community Schools

Community Schools

What are Community Schools?

A successful school is not simply a place where teachers teach and students learn. Schools thrive when students, families, staff, and the community work together to educate, uplift, and support young people and each other. A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school, families, 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. Find out how Peaceful Schools can help your school or district build and sustain vibrant community schools!


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our Community Schools staff has been supporting students and families in the Syracuse City School District with access to resources and helping connect them to distance learning opportunities from their home schools. We have compiled a list of resources for families in the Syracuse, NY, area:

We will continue to update this page with additional resources. If you have resource information to share, let us know so we can add it to the list!

What services do we provide?

Peaceful Schools partners with schools and districts to develop and implement their unique community schools vision.

Our dedicated staff manages programs and partnerships within the school to meet its goals for their students. Our programs target a wide range of needs of the students and their families including but not limited to:

  • addressing social-emotional needs of students and their families,
  • access to nutrition services and resources,
  • encouraging family engagement in the school community,
  • increasing access to early-childhood and adult education opportunities,
  • conducting community needs assessments,
  • and coordinating enrichment opportunities.

In partnership with school staff, we:

  • host job fairs and resource fairs,
  • plan enrichment activities for students and their families,
  • coordinate school-based intervention teams,
  • identify new community partners to support school initiatives,
  • greet families in the Parent Room and connect them with community resources,
  • and so much more.

Our community schools team can support your students, families, and communities on their path to success.

Peaceful Schools serves as the community schools Lead Agency in partnership with the Syracuse City School District in Syracuse, New York. Community School Coordinators and support staff are deployed in seven schools to implement a unified vision for community schools across the district.

With an initial goal of increasing parent and family engagement, our team has established Parent Rooms in all seven schools, prepared parents for over 70 employment interviews at community job fairs we hosted during our first year of implementation, provided outreach and translation services to immigrant and refugee families to better engage them in their children’s school, and increased family participation in the district’s annual Culture and Climate Survey.

Supporting the after school programs in our middle schools, our team coordinates community involvement in weekly enrichment opportunities for students and families, including painting with a police officer, competing in Lego-design engineering challenges, and learning from our local cooperative extension office how to prepare nutritious snacks on a limited budget.

Aligning with school-based intervention teams, we have increased attendance, boosted family engagement, and enhanced the development of social-emotional skills for our students. This work helps keep students at the center of our comprehensive approach to school improvement for community success.

“This was the best resource fair I have been to! So many connections made with the families that attended, but also for us vendors.” – Case Worker, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County

Thank you for supporting me, my daughter wouldn’t have done this without your support.” – Mother, Westside Academy at Blodgett, Syracuse City School District

Helping Students Peacefully Engage with Emotions - Building a classroom community that focuses on healthy social and emotional development for children of all ages starts with the commitment of a classroom teacher who understands that children are not simply “little adults.” Children at every level of development need support, encouragement, and opportunities to practice managing their emotions. Carin Reeve, Director of School Improvement, shares tips on ASCDExpress for creating a “PeacePlace,” one strategy that supports emotional regulation in a classroom. A dedicated, non-punitive area in a classroom, a “PeacePlace” allows students to step away when they feel angry, stressed, or sad, and incorporates strategies for reflection. It’s ...Read More
What is Missing From Our Social Emotional Learning Plan? Systems Thinking! - Educators spend a substantial amount of time trying to solve problems, and even more time wondering why our solutions did not yield the expected results. When it comes to implementing social and emotional learning, if we expect to have an impact, we must apply systems thinking to our plan. Carin Reeve, Director of School Improvement, wrote recently in Vanguard Magazine about the importance of a systems thinking approach to supporting the social and emotional health of our students.     What is Missing From Our Social Emotional Learning Plan? Systems Thinking! In the past two decades, schools have become increasingly aware ...Read More