On May 2, MCCOY joined partners with The Indiana Community Schools Network to visit the Historic Whitely Neighborhood in Muncie, IN. We learned about the Schools as the Centers of Community initiative surrounding Longfellow Elementary School, a program bringing together Ball State University and various community organizations to surround students and families with community resources. A total 45 individuals from throughout Indiana participated in the one-day convening that included a visit to the historic Shaffer Church and its Whitely neighborhood museum (pictured above).
“I was struck by the way the community of Whitely took ownership over the education of their children—they recognized the role that families and neighbors have beyond the school building,” Kate Roelecke, Director of Strategy and Operations for the Marion County Commission on Youth, said. “This spilled into the school building, resulting in a culture of partnerships and shared vision for the children and families of Whitely. It was really powerful to hear directly from so many community members why they chose to be involved in the work.”
The community school model has been a focus of MCCOY’s work in recent years, and seeing it in action was an exciting opportunity. From this visit, we gained ideas and continued inspiration for our work in the Closing the Gap initiative, building community supports for students and families centered around the place where young people spend so much of their time: school.
“I was genuinely inspired,” Kate Roelecke added. “From the very beginning of the day, I got a sense of the community pride and love they had for their children and families. I thought it was a living, breathing example of the phrase we toss around a lot: ‘It takes a village.’ They embrace the collective and community approach to ensuring that their children are learning and developing, while also ensuring that the history and culture of Whitely is celebrated and honored.”
Thanks so much to the community leaders who shared their successes with us! MCCOY is excited to bring community schools into our own communities and to continue building partnerships that bring essential resources and programs to children and families.
Photos by Ryan Hurley, Institute for Educational Leadership/Coalition for Community Schools.