“University-assisted community schools constitute the best practical means for democratically transforming universities, schools, and communities in order to develop participatory democracy.”
Ira Harkavy, PhD
Netter Center for Community Partnerships,
University of Pennsylvania
A University-Assisted Community School (UACS) is a community school in which universities serve as the lead partner in providing broadly based, sustained support. Academic partnerships connect the university’s and school’s curricula through a common focus on helping to solve local community-identified problems. This approach is designed to simultaneously improve community wellbeing and advances research, teaching, and learning (K-16+).
UACS, as well as community schools in general, are comprehensive neighborhood centers built on partnerships that educate, engage, activate and serve students, their families, and other members of the community. For neighborhood schools to function as community schools, they need additional human resources and support. Universities are particularly well-suited to be a lead partner in the creation, growth, and ongoing development of community schools, including providing academic, human, and material resources.
As the newest regional training center for university-assisted community schools, the Southeast Regional Coalition for University-Assisted Community Schools aims to catalyze the further expansion of this innovative model throughout the Southeastern United States. We are dedicated to empowering universities and their partner schools with the necessary tools and support to establish community schools within their respective localities, thus continuing the transformative impact of this educational model.
For the history of the UACS movement, see the timeline below.