The Roles of Schools and Their Communities
In This Chapter...
Community Relationships 128
Narrative: Leveraging Local Leadership During a Global Crisis 130
Schools and Healthy Children 135
Narrative: Communities Respond in Uncharted Territory 137
Student Well-being in a Virtual Environment 142
Narrative: Leading for Wellness When All is Not Well:
Lessons from COVID-19 143
Leading for Tomorrow 147
The COVID-19 pandemic brought forward a strong message that communities needed to respond to the well-being and health needs of students, teachers, and their families as "one." The relationships between community agencies, including the local government and the business sector with schools, are typically defined by their history within the community and leaders' efforts to create and sustain these relationships. With the COVID-19 pandemic, systematic revelations emerged about the broad work of schools that permeated almost every aspect of their communities. Ensuring the safety of its students and teachers became a part of a larger picture that illustrates how changes in the routines of schools impacted their communities.
The multiple roles of schools and their importance to the fabric of a community became more apparent as schools shut their doors. The first response within hours was to ensure students would not go hungry by putting into action complex plans to provide breakfast and lunch for students using creative delivery methods. In the following days, schools responded to the growing need to access services typically coordinated through schools. This chapter explores new relationships necessary for schools and their communities collectively to support the growth and development of the children in their communities.
As a result of the pandemic, schools cannot reopen in isolation. Important for educational leaders, regardless of political history, is to work alongside all community organizations, in tandem, to safely reopen the schoolhouse doors. Communities must come together as one. The new reality with COVID-19 is rethinking the collective work between school districts with local government, business, and community agencies so that each can function together in response to disruptions related to health or other community-wide issues such as pandemics, racial incidents, etc.