(Aug. 1, 2016) Catherine Read talks with Kevin J. Hickerson, President of the Fairfax Education Association, on his first day in the role. He will serve a three year term as president, after teaching English/Special Education at Chantilly High School for 13 years. Mr. Hickerson has identified the development of community schools as one of his primary goals in his tenure as FEA President.
There are over 5,000 community schools in US and it is based on solid research and an evidence based model. Community Schools are NOT charter schools. They are public schools that provide coordinated services to students and their families that impact the ability of children to thrive in a classroom setting. Restorative Justice is also one of the important pillars to this educational model. The new “Every Student Succeeds Act” ESSA provides $2.4 billion annually for community schools across the country (http://GetESSARight.org), yet Virginia does not have one single Community School.
The slides used in this broadcast came from a panel at NetRoots Nation 2016 in St. Louis, MO, “The Real Progressive Solution: How the Community School Model Supports Students and Revitalizes Entire Neighborhoods.” Jitu Brown, Jane Quinn of the Children’s Aid Society, Eric Brown, and Kyle Serrette of the NEA, provided substantive and compelling information about the success of community schools around the country. http://nea.org/communityschools
Community Schools have been a turning point for schools in decline, particularly in places like Kentucky, where they have over 800 community schools. Kentucky schools ranked 48th in the nation in 1998 and is now ranked 27th. The statistics from specific schools around the country show how failing schools can be turned around by changing the model. http://communityschools.org
Kevin Hickerson intends to pursue the implementation of the community school model here in the Fairfax County Public School System, specifically to address the needs that are evident in the county’s 40 Title I schools. The focus on education needs to take a “whole child” approach that includes addressing the connection between what happens outside the classroom to what is happening inside the classroom.