In this report, Research for Action presents findings and associated recommendations from the first-year evaluation of Philadelphia’s Community Schools initiative. RFA assessed the initiative during the 2017-2018 school year at two levels. First, we examined whether system-wide conditions and supports for the initiative were in place. Second, we assessed how the initiative was playing out on the ground by closely examining implementation and early outcomes at the school level. RFA evaluated the initiative against a suite of best practices developed in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Education (MOE) and grounded in rigorous research on community schools. We based our analysis on a wide range of data, including surveys, interviews, focus groups, and document review.
Our findings suggest that the strength of system-level implementation could be improved with stronger leadership from the Mayor’s Office of Education and more extensive cross-sector collaboration. Our school-level findings are more positive, documenting progress in multiple areas due to the work of school administrators, school staff, MOE community school coordinators, and