Why ‘Community Schools’ Are Taking Root In Florida
Evans High School in Orange County used to be known as a dropout factory. But since 2007, it’s gone from a two-time F-rated school to a B-rated school – in one of Orlando’s most troubled neighborhoods. Now, the “community school” concept is spreading to other Florida cities.
Evans is in a neighborhood called Pine Hills, where homes and businesses have bars at the windows. One student, found carrying a Taser, said it was due to her dangerous route home. The neighborhood has exceptionally high rates of juvenile crime and referrals to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
“We have long said at the Department of Children and Families that if we’re ever going to get our arms around neglect and abuse, it has to be a community-wide effort.”
DCF Secretary Mike Carroll. He says Evans has succeeded by becoming what’s called a “community school” — addressing the barriers to student success in a high-risk neighborhood.
“Everything from getting a child to school when they need to be there to making sure they’re fed when they arrive at school to making sure it’s safe going back and forth to school. If there are issues at home that may impact the child’s ability to learn when they get to school, that there’s assistance to do that…”