Effective community school leaders build strong, reciprocal, and sustainable partnerships to support student growth, as well as to strengthen families and communities. Developing authentic alliances among teachers, parents, and community stakeholders creates a climate of trust and positive relationships that strengthens democratic schools. Community schools are an effective way to support families and students, as well as to mobilize the support needed to engage the community in developing effective partnerships. Yet in particular, it is community school leaders who cross traditional role boundaries and build cross-cultural fluency while balancing managerial concerns, navigating politics, dealing with external accountability pressures, and fostering shared accountability. They are the people who make community schools successful, and in turn, their leadership promotes positive growth in areas not traditionally perceived as falling in the domains of education. When school leaders engage in community-organizing strategies to enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods, as well as to empower parents to take active roles in the education of their children, they inspire positive holistic changes within their schools and communities. Successful leaders make this look easy, yet the interplay of a leader’s knowledge base, skill set, and disposition is complex. A developmental model based on knowledge, skills, and dispositions that cultivate reciprocal sustainable partnerships is presented within the context of national leadership and community school standards.
Carlos Azcoitia, Karen Glinert Carlson, and Ted Purinton
M. Francyne Huckaby
The article explores the connections and contradictions between community organizing and curriculum. Huckaby distinguishes coordinated habits that move a. populace in a particular direction from community organizing that is intentional collective work that is corrective in nature as it aims to advance freedom, rectify injustices, and amend inequalities. Community organizing also functions to expose and reveal the oppressive structures and processed bolstered by hidden curricula that implicitly inform individual actions and practices enacted by people en masse. Community organizing builds movements that are collective in nature, taking into consideration the wisdom and experiences of the community without imposing a prescribed solution or agenda to the issues. This piece specifically attends to grassroots community organizing around neoliberal impositions on education. To disrupt, resist, and refuse neoliberal policies, laws, and structures that further marginalize individuals, grassroots efforts must go beyond networking. Huckaby turns Haraway’s cyborg theory to understand the necessity of weaving, rather than simply networking, to create and sustain solidarity that binds different kinds of things, moving in different directions together. Weaving makes for transformation through connection, affinity, coalition, and political kinship. This process, a process toward not only transformation but also toward freedom offers reciprocal, yet unguaranteed benefits for individuals and the world. As individuals work in groups to better understand their needs, the world, too, has an opportunity to learn. While community organizing as curriculum may not solve all the problems of the world, it acts as a robust vehicle for collective steps toward various types of freedom as individuals demand rights for themselves and others. This text offers examples and forms of community and grassroots organizing including testimonies, teachers’ strike, #hashtags, and teach-ins conceptualized via participatory democracy, critical pedagogy, Kaupapa Maori research, cyborg weaving, freedom from, and freedom for. Community organizing as curriculum and for curriculum critique and reform has a corrective purpose that reveals injustices and seeks to unravel inequalities, while weaving relations that create and sustain solidarity and conjoined liberation.