Schools do not exist in a vacuum. Schools are a part of their communities. They are closely connected to what happens in families and in neighborhoods, they are influenced by social, political, and economic factors, and they shape future community members, employees and leaders. Whereas traditional schools tend to be one-size-fits-all, modern schools are intentionally and thoughtfully designed to reflect their communities’ history, culture and institutions. While modern schools share common design features that relate to quality and equity (as described throughout this section), no two look exactly alike. Why not? Because no two communities are exactly alike. Community conditions – demographics, language, culture, ethnicity, socio-economics, geography, population trends, economic trends, and others – influence how school communities interpret and implement school design. Simply put, when schools are responsive to their communities they do a better job serving their communities.
Questions to Consider
- What work has your school or district done to engage your community and define your community context? How have you engaged parents? Higher education? Employers? Political leaders? What further engagement is necessary?
- What is happening in your school’s or district’s community? What demographic, social, political, and economic trends are underway?
- What changes have happened in the last twenty years? How has your school or district evolved alongside these changes?
- What changes might happen in the next twenty years? How can your school or district anticipate these trends?
- What will students who graduate from your school or district need to know and be able to do to thrive in the future? How does (or how can) your school or district support students to develop this knowledge and skill?