FAST is Important Piece of Community School Strategy at Racine County School


United Way of Racine County and the Racine Unified School District have partnered to bring the first Community School to Racine County. When construction is complete and the new Knapp Community Elementary School opens on Sept. 1, Racine County will join more than 5,000 communities across the nation with a Community School.

Community Schools are a research-based, holistic model of schools as centers of our communities. Schools increase opportunities for children to succeed by adding the kinds of resources known to make a difference: increased opportunities for parental involvement in children’s education; extra learning opportunities through educational enrichment; consistent access to adult guidance and support; and ready access to health, dental and mental health services.

Nothing is more important to Racine County’s long-term economic prosperity than the development of a workforce with the necessary skills and knowledge required to perform the job. That is why United Way is focusing its work on building an educated workforce. The Community School is an integral part of United Way’s education strategy. Together, United Way and the Racine Unified School District will help the workforce of tomorrow by ensuring students graduate high school with the knowledge, skills and motivation to succeed in college, vocational training or career.

The health and stability of the parents and neighborhood directly impact the health and growth of the child. United Way will also help the workforce of today by assisting individuals and families to achieve self-sufficiency, supporting future advancement, and increasing the number of Racine County residents who participate in quality physical and mental health practices. United Way is employing strategies in education, financial stability, health, and basic needs to ensure programs and investments are more focused, more measurable, more accountable, and more aligned with the needs of the community.

The environment of success does not start and end at the doors to their school, their home or their after school program — it is a collaborative. United Way’s unique ability to collaborate with existing organizations in our community and convene them in partnership with the school will help programs become more aligned with the school’s plan and sustained over time.

Knapp Elementary School community members were key in determining what services and programs are offered at the new Knapp Community School. Over the course of the past year, Knapp Elementary School staff, parents, students and neighbors participated in Community Conversations and completed community surveys to give voice to what they needed and wanted from their Community School. The resources that will be available at the school are a direct reflection of the feedback received from the Knapp Elementary School community.

What is a community school?

Community Schools is a strategy, not a program. It is a strategy that organizes the resources of the school and the community around student success.

Community Schools are both a place and a set of integrated partnerships between the school and other community resources. Community Schools have an integrated focus on academics, health and social services, community engagement and development, and are open to everyone — before school, after-school, weekends and summers.

What resources will be offered at Knapp?

There is a dedicated community resource room in the new Knapp Elementary School building which will house community resource materials, offer access to technology and serve as a delivery space for community programs.

Knapp Elementary School already has many programs available for students. This fall, the new Knapp Community School will have even more programs for students, their families and the community, including:

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin School-based Mental Health Clinic

Focus on Community Families and Schools Together (FAST) program

YMCA Young Achievers program

UW-Extension Family Nutrition programs

Girl Scouts Urban Initiatives program

United Way’s Schools of Hope tutoring program

Advancing Family Assets family success coaching program

Fourth and fifth Grade Cheerleading Team

Fifth Grade Basketball league

The United Way Community Schools Manager will be assigned to the school to support these programs and coordinate community events and programs in conjunction with other community organizations in the Knapp Elementary School neighborhood.

United Way of Racine County will offer mini-grants for enrichment programs that will be provided in the school after school hours. The application will be released on Aug. 1, with funding starting on Oct. 1.

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